As the sport of MMA, or mixed martial arts, continues to grow in popularity more and more people are becoming interested in all facets of this exciting and explosive sport. Despite being a relatively new sport, MMA is simply the evolution of different forms of combat that have evolved over the course of many centuries.
These 5 fascinating facts about MMA are sure to surprise both dedicated and casual fans.
1. Many fans of MMA actually consider Bruce Lee to be the true founder of the sport. Bruce Lee was a true pioneer who rejected many of the principles of traditional martial arts. He felt that the elaborate style, and rigid forms and movements that most martial artists practiced were unsuitable for real world combat situations. Because of this he rejected these ideas and began the process of combining Wing Chun with other martial arts to form Jeet Kune Do, quite possibly the world’s first form of mixed martial art.
2. The rules of modern MMA have evolved quickly. When most MMA promotions began rules were fairly minimal, and weight classes didn’t exist. Because of this MMA matches were often more circus attraction than true sport. You would have 250 lb. men squaring off against men half their size. Today the rules of most MMA promotions have evolved to protect the fighters as much as possible. Kicks to the groin, and kicks or knees to the head of a downed opponent are now prohibited by most promotions. MMA now enjoys a remarkable record of safety despite the violent nature of the sport.
3. In the beginning most MMA matches consisted of fighters who were masters of one style of fighting. The goals of many fighters as not only to win, but also to show that their fighting style was the best one. Today fighters are much more well rounded. Any fighter who doesn’t develop a wide range of skills is at a distinct disadvantage to the modern MMA athlete.
4. Royce Gracie made Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu something that everyone in the martial arts community would take notice of. Winning, and dominating against much larger men at the first two UFC tournaments. His skill in grappling would serve as an example to future mixed martial artists. Using grappling, leverage, and joint manipulation, Royce Gracie was able to overcome the strength and striking of his opponents. Today Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a discipline that most mixed martial artists spend a lot of time training in.
5. Former boxing great James Toney once thought that his skills as a boxer would allow him to dominate in an MMA match. As a former multiple time world champion, Mr. Toney’s skills as a boxer were never in question. He would enter the ring against MMA legend Randy Couture, and would promptly be defeated in the first round. Using his superior skills in grappling, Randy Couture was able to drag James Toney to the mat and effectively neutralize any semblance of offense that he would attempt to mount. By the end of the fight Randy Couture’s dominance was almost beyond belief. He had not been struck once, and had spent most of the round pummeling James Toney before choking him into submission.
Anthony Scott is a baseball fan, and current fencing coach in Phoenix, Arizona. Anthony has graduated the National Coaching Certification Program in 2005, and he has been actively writing piece of news in sports industry for the past five years. In his spare time, Anthony likes providing free fencing lessons to neighbors and close friends, with a focus on foil and saber.