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A History of Mixed Martial Arts

As the name suggests, Mixed Martial Arts is a combination of martial arts and combat sports. The term was said to be coined in the 1990s, but it has long been a part of the history and culture of various countries under different names. The full-contact sport may be relatively new, but has been getting increasingly popular over the past few years. In fact, with the introduction of the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the United States in 1993, MMA has evolved to be one of the most prevalent spectator sports, giving stiff competition to both wrestling and boxing. UFC, which is among the largest companies promoting MMA around the world, is said to have been inspired by the Brazilian sport Vale Tudo that has been popular since the 20th century.

The beginning

Though UFC began as a rather unsafe competition, it regulations have evolved to ensure the safety
of the MMA fighters. What began as a competition to discover the most suitable form of martial arts
to be used during unarmed combat turned into an accepted sport with the implementation of higher safety standards. Initially, fighters used the moves limited to Vale Tudo, but later moved to execute techniques from several forms of martial arts. With changes in the concept, additional safety rules were adopted which popularized MMA as a mainstream sport. Presently, care is taken to ensure that MMA fighters do not get injured during the sport, which has turned it into a preferred self-defense art. If you are interested in learning MMA, visit to find schools in your area teaching the sport.

The origins of MMA date back to the height of Greek civilization, where a combat sport named Pankration was popular. It was based on striking and grappling techniques and was subsequently passed on to the Romans. The sport more or less had no rules at all, expect it would not allow eye gouging and biting. The participants, even if they lost, would be treated as heroes, which explains how important the sport was to the Greeks.

Evolution of MMA

During the 19th century, the U.S. witnessed several combat contests with different rules, which ultimately transformed into professional wrestling. However, it was in the late 1800s when the world saw what could truly be called a dedicated form of mixed martial art. Edward William Barton-Wright introduced the concept of Bartitsu, which combined the European and Asian styles of fighting. It included a mix of boxing, judo, jujutsu, stick fighting, and savate. Interestingly, the discovery was made almost 40 years before the birth of Bruce Lee, who was also referred by the President of UFC, Dana White, as the Father of MMA. Bruce Lee in the late 1960s popularized the concept of picking out the best from all forms of martial arts, which is the basic principle of MMA.

By 2006, the sport had achieved a new level of popularity and was being chosen by many as a form of self-defense. Getting MMA training from experienced instructors plays a vital role in learning the art. If you are looking for MMA instructors or schools teaching the martial form, a quick search on will provide an extensive list.