Mixed martial arts, sometimes referred to as cage fighting, no holds barred, and ultimate fighting, is a full-contact combat sport based on striking, grappling and ground fighting, incorporating techniques from various combat sports and martial arts from around the world. The first documented use of the term mixed martial arts was in a review of UFC 1 by television critic Howard Rosenberg in 1993. The question of who actually coined the term is subject to debate.
During the early 20th century, various interstylistic contests took place throughout Japan and in the countries of the Four Asian Tigers. In Brazil, there was the sport of Vale Tudo, in which fighters from various styles fought with little to no rules. The Gracie family was known to promote Vale Tudo matches as a way to promote their own Brazilian jiu-jitsu style. In the West, the concept of combining elements of multiple martial arts was popularized by Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do during the late 1960s to early 1970s. A precursor to modern MMA was the 1976 Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki bout, fought between boxer Muhammad Ali and wrestler Antonio Inoki in Japan, where it later inspired the foundation of Pancrase in 1993 and Pride Fighting Championships in 1997.
In 1980, CV Productions, Inc. created the first regulated MMA league in the United States, called Tough Guy Contest, which was later renamed Battle of the Superfighters. The company sanctioned ten tournaments in Pennsylvania. However, in 1983 the Pennsylvania State Senate passed a bill prohibiting the sport. In 1993, the Gracie family brought Brazilian jiu-jitsu, developed in Brazil from the 1920s, to the United States by founding the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) MMA promotion company in 1993. The company held an event with almost no rules, mostly due to the influence of Art Davie and Rorion Gracie attempting to replicate Vale Tudo fights that existed in Brazil and would later implement a different set of rules (example: eliminating kicking a grounded opponent), which differed from other leagues which were more in favour of realistic fights.
Originally promoted as a competition to find the most effective martial arts for real unarmed combat, competitors from different fighting styles were pitted against one another in contests with relatively few rules. Later, individual fighters incorporated multiple martial arts into their style. MMA promoters were pressured to adopt additional rules to increase competitors’ safety, to comply with sport regulations and to broaden mainstream acceptance of the sport. Following these changes, the sport has seen increased popularity with a pay-per-view business that rivals boxing and professional wrestling.
Boxing is a combat sport in which two people, usually wearing protective gloves and other protective equipment such as hand wraps and mouthguards, throw punches at each other for a predetermined amount of time in a boxing ring.
Amateur boxing is both an Olympic and Commonwealth Games sport and is a standard fixture in most international games—it also has its own World Championships. Boxing is overseen by a referee over a series of one-to-three-minute intervals called rounds.
A winner can be resolved before the completion of the rounds when a referee deems an opponent incapable of continuing, disqualification of an opponent, or resignation of an opponent. When the fight reaches the end of its final round with both opponents still standing, the judges’ scorecards determine the victor. In the event that both fighters gain equal scores from the judges, professional bouts are considered a draw. In Olympic boxing, because a winner must be declared, judges award the contest to one fighter on technical criteria.
While humans have fought in hand-to-hand combat since the dawn of human history, the earliest evidence of fist-fighting sporting contests date back to the ancient Near East in the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC. The earliest evidence of boxing rules date back to Ancient Greece, where boxing was established as an Olympic game in 688 BC. Boxing evolved from 16th- and 18th-century prizefights, largely in Great Britain, to the forerunner of modern boxing in the mid-19th century with the 1867 introduction of the Marquess of Queensberry Rules.