Mixed martial arts, or MMA, has succeeded over the past decade in taking the sports world by storm. Whether because of the fast-paced, dynamic action, the raw physical abilities of the competitors, or the engaging personalities throughout, one thing is for sure: MMA is no fad and its growth, through organizations like the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), has no end in sight.
However, not everyone has jumped on the bandwagon. Perhaps you’ve seen the sport on TV and were curious but really know very little about it beyond the obvious: two guys are in a cage punching each other in the face. There really is so much more to it than that, so if you’re interested in learning more about MMA and about how you can go about exploring the sport then read on.
1. Learn Exactly What Mixed Martial Arts Is
Though the precursor to modern-day mixed martial arts competition lies in Brazil’s no-rules vale tudo (“anything goes”), it has since evolved into a more structured and regulated combat sport. Though it shares much in common with its cousin boxing, MMA has much that differentiates it. As most know, boxing is a full contact sport, complete with rounds, referees, and judges, that involves punching as the sole weapon of the fighters. MMA takes that basic foundation and builds upon it, allowing opponents not only to punch, but also to incorporate kicks, knees, and elbows into their striking arsenal. In addition, MMA also incorporates a grappling element, allowing fighters to utilize wrestling and submission fighting to defeat their opponents.
2. Watch MMA Events
There are a number of MMA organizations in existence, ranging from those that are strictly local to those that are worldwide, including the UFC and Strikeforce in the United States, and DREAM and Sengoku in Japan. The largest, by far, is the UFC, considered by many to be the premiere MMA promotion in the world. Founded in 1993, the UFC has evolved significantly over the years from its roots as a “no-rules” (in fact, there were two), no-weight-classes brawling spectacle into a legitimate sports organization that now attracts millions of viewers on TV and Pay-Per-View. Several MMA events are held each month, some of which are held exclusively on Pay-Per-View, while others are broadcast for free on network television.
3. Get Involved With An Online MMA Community
A large part of MMA fandom lies in socializing with other MMA fans. During the sport’s “dark ages” in the late-1990s, when it was coming under fire from politicians and interest groups for being too violent and Pay-Per-View networks were refusing to carry the events, the Internet was often the only way to get information about recent events. Therefore, MMA communities like Sherdog and the Underground flourished, and continue to do so today as news sources and forum servers for the sport. These communities are great places to discuss the sport with fellow fans and to keep up-to-date with the latest developments.