MMA News

The History of MMA



Special to Chicago’s MMA

Mixed martial arts has become one of the most popular forms of opponent-based fighting in recent years, and has grown into an industry with millions of followers. What sets the sport apart from other kinds of fighting, such as boxing, is its “rules-free” approach to a professional match. While there are actually a number of enforceable rules in MMA, it’s far more flexible, allowing fighters to incorporate their own techniques during a bout in the ring, which is a large departure from the sports that force the competitors to fight within a strict set of fighting styles.

In actual, fact, MMA dates back thousands of years to the Ancient Greeks.

The Origins of MMA

Historians have traced the origins of MMA back to an ancient Greek style of hand-to-hand combat called pankration, which is a combination of the Greek words kratos and pan, meaning “all powers.” The sport was extremely popular in the Olympic games, and many of the competitors were known as heroes. There were two main rules that were enforced in pankration: no biting, and no eye gouging.

The teachings of pankration eventually made its way to India thanks mainly to the conquests of Alexander the Great. Alexander firmly believed that athletes made the best soldiers because of their stamina, strength, and knowledge of combat. A Buddhist monk that was travelling through India took an interest in pankration, and decided to take it back with him to his home country of China. It spread quickly, and gave rise to China’s most well-known fighting styles, including kung fu, karate, and judo.

It also spread to South America, specifically the country of Brazil, where it developed into the well-known style of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that is still extremely popular today.

Beginnings as a Competition

Martial arts competitions began to spring up around the world, and it was a fairly popular sport for a number of decades. Eventually, it made its way to the United States, and its popularity exploded. Not only did they begin a professional MMA league within the country, but it started an industry of televised fights, as well as sports betting, that has skyrocketed it into the same tier as boxing.

This has also seen an evolution of modern mixed fighting. Thanks to the nature of the sport, fighters began to realize that they could integrate any kind of style into their routine to give them an edge against their component. Styles such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu entered the scene, and athletes realized they would need to start training in that style in order to successfully defend against its take-downs. This started the tradition of a single athlete mastering a number of different fighting styles, instead of focusing solely on one.

About Staff

Chicago's MMA - The definitive place for Chicago MMA news, video, interviews, results and more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *