Perhaps two of the most defining elements of the professional and amateur sport are the permission to strike a downed opponent (ground game) and use of a fenced enclosure to protect the athlete and the integrity of the match.
Frequently billed as the Worlds fastest growing sport, MMA combines wrestling and striking martial arts into one complete discipline, including techniques from Thai-boxing, judo, Brazilian jiu jitsu and boxing. Although contemporary MMA is only as old as the world’s first website and phenomenally proliferated with the growth of the internet, its roots can be traced as far back as Pankration in the ancient Olympic Games.
Contemporary MMA became best known globally through an American TV contest, The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which launched in 1993. The show pitted together elite martial artists from various, distinct disciplines in order to determine which style would prove most dominant. In 2001, Zuffa LLC took over the UFC and worked with state regulatory bodies to develop and implement the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, evolving MMA into a legitimate sport of its own.
While techniques from six contemporary Olympic Sports are present in MMA (boxing, freestyle wrestling, Greco Roman wrestling, Tae Kwan Do, judo and karate), MMA students today learn from combination of martial arts that proved most successful in the earlier mixed rules matches. In 2014, IMMAF introduced the first international Unified Amateur MMA Rules.
One of the controversial elements of MMA is the permission to strike on the ground. However, research published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2006) and since, has shown MMA to be much safer than boxing
An immediate forerunner of MMA was Vale Tudo mixed rules matches, born out of Brazilian jiu jitsu (a wrestling discipline focused on defence on the ground), as practitioners sought to test their techniques against those of other combat sports
The Submission finishes that MMA has adopted originate in BJJ, where they can be obtained by a grounded practitioner while their back
Strikes on the ground in MMA are restricted in type and in application with respect to safety and less force can be generated here than when standing. Furthermore, unlike in professional MMA or Thai boxing, elbow strikes are not permitted in Amateur MMA.
The referee can stop the match at any time if either competitor is not effectively defending themselves
FIELD OF PLAY
• The MMA Ring is unique in combat sports as it eliminates advantages to competitors well versed in the art of cutting off the ring as a kick boxer may do, or the need to reset matches due to stepping out of the FOP. It allows the match to play out with as little interference as possible.
• The enclosed MMA Ring creates a neutral arena to best showcase the skills of MMA’s athletes.
• The MMA Ring originated under US state athletic commissions to provide maximum safety to athletes
• The MMA Ring consists of a canvas, safety padding and fences as specified in IMMAF – WMMAA Amateur MMA Rules and the Professional Unified Rules of MMA.
• Robust plastic coated fences eliminate the chance of athletes tumbling out of the ring as they can from a traditional boxing ring – particularly when applying wrestling take-downs.
• There are many examples of athletes competing in MMA in boxing rings who have fallen from the ring and sustained injuries