Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has been recognized as one of the most rapidly growing sports in the entire world. True to its name, MMA incorporates the various fighting styles that distinguish long-standing fighting forms from all around the world, including the arts of conventional boxing and kick-boxing.
Generally, every MMA match is about five minutes in length in total. There are typically about three rounds in each contest between the fighters, though in a championship match, the standard 3-round format is raised to five rounds.
In accordance to UFC regulations, the weight classes of MMA are as follows:
- Flyweight: 125 lbs and below
- Bantamweight: 125 to 135 lbs
- Featherweight: 136 to 145 lbs
- Lightweight: 146 to 155 lbs
- Welterweight: 156 to 170 lbs
- Middleweight: 171 lbs to 185 lbs
- Light Heavyweight: 186 to 205 lbs
- Heavyweight: 206 to 265 lbs
The roots of MMA reach back to long before the inventions of modern warfare. Every Eastern and Western culture that thrived and evolved into the civilizations that we know today had its own form of martial arts, and most of them have been incorporated into the MMA in the current time. Martial sports were used for both entertainment during times of peace and foe the conditioning of soldiers during times of war.
Though martial arts are commonly associated with Asia, every developed country in the world has at least some marginal history of traditional or recreational fighting. The hieroglyphics engraved into ancient Egyptian Great Pyramids has commonly displayed inscriptions that portray Egyptians training in stances that resemble the fighting disciplines that modern MMA fighters practice today. There have even been pieces of evidence collected that indicated barehanded fighting being practiced by Mesopotamian and Sumerian soldiers between 3,0000 and 2,3000 B.C.
Distinguishing MMA from the UFC
Many people have a habit of using MMA interchangeably with UFC, but this is technically inaccurate. Mixed martial arts is the name of the sport itself, but the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) is used to refer to the name of the organization that organizes the matches. MMA is to UFA as basketball is the the NBA. Throughout the history of MMA, the UFC has been the primary driving force behind the popularity of the sport as a whole.
MMA, boxing, and what lies in-between
There’s also been a decent amount of discussion surrounding the fine lines between MMA and traditional boxing. MMA gloves are notably lighter (5 ox compared to 8-10 ox), while boxing gloves tend to have slightly more padding, which makes it harder create the same amount of concussive power.
Still, even with the differences between MMA and convention boxing, the latter still has a significant presence in the former. Many disciplined MMA fighters have trained in conventional boxing as well, which can help them out in matches against competitors who don’t have the same boxing foundation.