Mixed martial arts.
MMA stands for “Mixed Martial Arts.” It’s a full-contact combat sport that combines techniques from a variety of different martial arts and combat sports, including boxing, wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and many others. MMA allows both striking and grappling, both while standing and on the ground.
Originating from the ancient Olympic combat sport of Pankration, the modern concept of MMA gained popularity in the late 20th century. The UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), established in 1993, played a pivotal role in popularizing MMA globally. The early days of the UFC were characterized by matches between specialists from various disciplines, pitting, for example, a wrestler against a karate practitioner. This format sought to answer the age-old question of which martial art was the most effective.
Over time, however, successful fighters began incorporating multiple disciplines into their training, leading to the evolution of the well-rounded MMA fighters we see today, skilled in striking, wrestling, and submissions.
Safety regulations and rule standardizations have also evolved. The early MMA events had minimal rules, but as the sport grew in popularity, it became regulated to protect the fighters and ensure fair competition. Today, MMA is one of the fastest-growing sports globally, with promotions like the UFC, Bellator, and ONE Championship hosting events attended by thousands in-person and watched by millions worldwide. The sport’s rise has led to the emergence of MMA gyms around the world, where enthusiasts train both for self-defense and fitness and as aspiring professional fighters.