Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, has grown tremendously in popularity since it was first introduced.  MMA is considered a sport, and not necessarily a “martial art”, even though the sport is comprised of components of various martial arts.  In recent years, MMA has become a world-wide phenomenon, drawing crowds and the attention of millions of sports spectators across the world.  So how did all of this happen?

While the concept of “which fighting style is best“, and subsequent interstylistic bouts to determine a champion go back for centuries, mixed martial arts really didn’t come onto the public stage until the late 1800s and early 1900s when Judo and it’s brother-art, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, began touring the world showcasing their unique styles.  Contention between these two similar fighting styles escalated to high levels as Helio Gracie, the “Father of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu” began challenging and defeating many Japanese martial artists, including many high level Judoka, or Judo fighters.  One very famous fight took place in 1951 between Masahiko Kimura and Helio Gracie, where, depending on the source, Helio was defeated by either “verbally” submitting, or that his arm had been severely broken by Kimura with his signature arm lock, the Kimura.

Early MMA

In addition to the growing popularity of Jiu-Jitsu, Brazil had also been successful in promoting Vale Tudo fights, which were also precursors to no-holds-barred fighting competitions.  Vale Tudo fights had minimal rules and allowed techniques from most any martial art.  At the same time, another martial arts icon, Bruce Lee had been popularizing his fighting style of Jeet Kune Do, which favors “formless” fighting that also combined styles from various arts.  Lastly, a fight between boxing world champion Muhammad Ali and wrestler Antonio Inoki in 1976 may have been one of the final precursors to MMA and the start of the UFC.

Mixed martial arts have evolved since the beginning of man as a matter of survival and necessity.   As styles branched out and became effective and popular, it would only be a matter of time before a no-holds-barred martial arts fight, challenging one another,  would be on the horizon.  MMA was officially made public to the world by The Ultimate Fighting Championships in 1993 via TV PPV.  Although the initial ratings of the event were unimpressive, the sport fascinated many, and has eventually taken over as the second-highest revenue-earning fighting sport in the world, behind boxing. With the sport developing, it eventually expanded into a successful business enterprise.


As the sport became more popular, more fighters put their foot in the ring (or “octagon” to be specific).  Fighters evolved finding and using techniques that were more successful than others and they began to receive training from other MMA fighters who had knowledge to pass on.  This gave them an edge over competitors as they learned what worked and what did not work to win a match.


Many fighters began training in different fighting styles in order to make themselves more diverse and well-rounded.  Mixed martial arts techniques come from every style of art there is, although there are a few standouts.  Commonly recognized techniques come from boxing, taekwondo & karate, wrestling (both Greco Roman and Freestyle wrestling and grappling), Muay Thai kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Judo.

MMA training can be grueling and exhausting. Matches can end in a quick knock-out, or can last up to 25 minutes for a judges decision in a championship match.  Part of what makes MMA so exciting is that, every once and a while, each style wins.  Sometimes the striker knocks out the grappler.  Sometimes the grappler takes down and submits the striker.  Not knowing which style or fighter will prevail is all part of the excitement. Techniques come from across the board and it can be exhilarating to watch a fighter transition from one style to another.

Global Impact

Ever since MMA began to attract the interest of media companies and fight enthusiasts, its most influential fighters have been those who have risen to the top of their sport. In many ways, they are the ones who have received the most attention.

There are many reasons why some of the most famous mixed martial arts fighters are celebrities – and they are also some of the best at what they do. Personalities like Conor McGreggor, Rhonda Rousey, Brock Lesner, BJ Penn, and Anderson Sylva are some of the most well known from the sport. MMA is made up of all types fighters who all have something to prove, both male and female. They want to show the world that they are the best in the world.

Many MMA fighters fight in hopes of improving the lives of themselves and their families.  Putting food on the table as an MMA fighter can be challenging.  Everyone needs to eat.  But the chance to travel and train with some of the best fighters in the world is like a dream come true for them. All they have to do is hit the gym five times a week and expect to be asked to travel and fight – what could be better for a fighter?

Although one of the most popular fighting sports in the world, there are still millions of people who have never seen an MMA fight. But those who have know the excitement and exhilaration.   Not only do the fighters work hard, but they are trying to make the most out of every day. It’s all about being a star and becoming an inspiration to those who watch and follow them.

These martial arts fighters have earned the respect of the people watching them. They inspire the people, who want to get into shape with the dream that they can fight on the same level as professional fighters. They are willing to give it their all. If you were going to join a gym or start a training class, the most influential fighters in MMA history would be the ones who have become the most popular.

The Future of MMA

The future of MMA is now in the hands of the athletes who are willing to take the fight to the other side. They are showing that if you want to be the best, you will have to do whatever it takes to be the best. No matter where you are in your life, there are places where you can find the greatest fighters in the world.

In many ways, this popular sport has taken over the whole world. Now anyone who can afford it can live and train like a professional fighter. If you are ready to get involved, the future of MMA is now in your hands.  The goal of a MMA fighter is to be the best in the world, but in many cases, most MMA fighters settle for being the best they can be.  Still not bad.

If you’re thinking about MMA, Judo is a big part of the sport.  Judo teaches powerful throws, inescapable pins, as well as all the groundfighting skills, chokes, joint-locks, and submissions you see in Jiu-Jitsu.  Between the two Judo has a slight advantage due to its devastating throws.

The future of MMA is here and it’s up to you to be one of the best in the world. As an athlete, if your goal is to become the best, you should start training at a place where the best train.  Most who train at Tri-City Judo have a record of success on and off the mat.  While only one aspect of MMA, to be the best, you have to learn from the best.  Follow your dreams and work hard.