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Mixed martial arts, or MMA for short, is an intense combat sport that combines key features of both boxing and wrestling. In MMA, the fighters are allowed to strike, grapple, and use a wide variety of techniques in an attempt to bring their opponent to the ground.


The practice of mixed martial arts have been around for centuries but it did not receive its name until television critic Howard Rosenberg coined the term in 1993. The name stuck and within a short period of time everyone knew all about MMA and its combat fighters.

History of MMA

Throughout the entirety of the 20th century MMA-style fighting grew in popularity around the world. Regular contests were held in Taiwan, Japan, and other parts of Asia. In Brazil, something similar was happening; the fighting style known as Vale Tudo had essentially no rules and featured two fighters doing whatever it took to take the other down.


MMA was much more popular in Asia and South America before it really took off in the United States. In the late 1960’s Americans began to appreciate the sport through Bruce Lee films and fighting style. Muhammad Ali also began to gain popularity, especially during the televised fight with Japan’s Antonio Inoki in 1976.

MMA and Ancient Cultures

MMA actually originated before the 20th century. There have been documented stories about something called pankration in ancient Greek culture. Pankration was a fighting style that occurred between two fighters using a mixture of boxing and wrestling techniques against each other.


These fights were extremely intense but even during this time there were rules against biting and eye gouging. Although fairly similar in terms of fighting practiced pankration had some major differences from modern-day MMA. First of all, there were no rounds and the fighters just stopped as soon as one became unresponsive or showed submission by lifting his index finger.


Accounts of combat fighting sports have popped up from all over the world throughout history. In China there have been stories of a combat sport called Leitai that combined boxing, wrestling, and Chinese martial arts. Egypt, India, and Japan all have similar stories, and France even has a few accounts of a fighting-style called Savate.

Modern-Day MMA Fighting

The modern day sport is much different from ancient MMA styles fighting practices. There have been improvements made to safety standards and regulations in order to protect the fighters as much as possible. Research has shown that MMA is safer than boxing and some sports enthusiasts even argue that it is less dangerous than football or hockey.


In addition to safety improvements another perk of the modern day sport is that you can now watch MMA streams anywhere in the world. MMA fans living in the time of Muhammad Ali weren’t so lucky; they had to watch live televised events in low definition. You can now watch your favorite fighters like Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, and Tony Ferguson anywhere, anytime.