MMA Frequently Asked Questions

What is mixed martial arts?

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a regulated hand to hand combat sport played between two athletes trained in the various forms of martial arts. Formally known as "hybrid martial arts", MMA is a blending of several unarmed fighting techniques such as grappling, kicking, and striking, borrowed from Muay Thai, Karate, Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Kung Fu, boxing, wrestling, stick fighting, kickboxing, Sambo, Vale Tudo, and others.

How old is MMA and where did it come from?

Hybrid martial arts is traced to the sport of Pankration played at the ancient Olympics, using the various elements of unarmed combat. Such martial arts contests took place throughout Europe, Japan, and the Pacific coastal area in the early twentieth century. While the art and sport of hand to hand combat goes way back, particularly in Japan, the modern western version of MMA is fairly new. Originating from the combat sport of Vale Tudo developed in Brazil in the 1920s, the sport was brought to the US in 1993 with the creation of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a competition to determine the most effective martial art for unarmed combat "situations". The blending of styles gave rise to a new sport known as mixed martial arts.

Who started modern MMA and why?

To improve on their existing fighting styles, UFC competitors began to incorporate different techniques from the various fighting disciplines. The sport came to be known as mixed martial arts. It contained few rules, but soon became regulated by athletic commissions to make it a safer sport.

What is an MMA fighter?

An MMA athlete is someone trained in the various forms of martial arts and employs his or her best techniques from those disciplines.

Can anyone do MMA?

Yes, health and fitness permitting. Training facilities offer classes for children and adults from age four and up.

How can I benefit from MMA as a sport?

MMA is believed to help individuals maintain both mental and physical fitness, and improve one's self-confidence and real-life fighting skills. MMA is a discipline believed to be great for all walks of life, and in many areas of life. Whether a person just wants to improve their physical fitness, or learn life-protecting skills, or take on the spirit of a warrior, MMA can offer something for everyone.

What am I not allowed to do in mixed martial arts competition?

According to the Unified Rules of MMA the following is not allowed and would constitute a foul: head-butting, eye-gouging, biting, spitting, hair-pulling, fish-hooking, groin attacks, striking down using the point of the elbow, striking the spine or back of the head, kicking the kidney with the heel, throat striking, clawing, pinching, twisting the flesh, grabbing the clavicle, kicking/kneeing/stomping on the head of a ground opponent, holding the fence, holding an opponent's shorts or gloves, using abusive language in the fighting area, spiking an opponent, interfering an opponent by the corner, and more.

Where can I find the rules for MMA?

The official Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts are available for view at the Ultimate Fighting Championship website at:

How can I get information about MMA training in my area?

There are a few ways. You can contact your local recreation center or martial arts facility. Or you can search online for a MMA training facility; there are a few great websites with resources and directories for finding facilities near you.

What are the weight classes for MMA?

What is the best fighting style?

There are many styles that incorporate the primary fighting positions and skills used in MMA. Finding the best one for you is a matter of taste and preference. While there is no one best fighting style to suit all, there are three prominent styles that incorporate the different fighting positions: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, and kickboxing.

Where can I get MMA training videos and DVDs?

Many MMA websites today have great training resources, tips, clips, and more. Do a search, or check with your local martial arts studios or instructors.

Why is MMA so popular today?

There are a few reasons. One of them is exposure by the UFC and on film. MMA has really hit the mainstream sports media in recent years, generating a lot of intrigue. Another reason is variety. Since many styles go into the making of MMA, the sport allows athletes to showcase many of their skills. And to some extent, MMA reinforces practical skills in self-defense.

Who are some of the world's best MMA fighters?

A few big names in MMA include legendary pioneers Royce Gracie, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, and Chuck Liddell, among others. According to an August, 2012 article published in Bleacher Report, today's top fighters, listed by division, include Megumi Fujii of the Women's Open Weight Division, Fedor Emelianenko of the Heavyweight Division, Chuck Liddell (Light Heavyweight), Anderson Silva (Middleweight), George-St-Pierre (Welterweight) B.J. Penn (Lightweight), Jose Aldo (Featherweight), and Dominick Cruz (Bantamweight). Check out the article for a complete list of top fighters in each division.

Where did the Octagon come from?

This 750-square-foot, eight-sided ring that is 32 feet across and six feet high was designed for a couple of reasons: safety, and equity. The deep cage protects fighters from falling out of the ring or getting thrown out. The wide-angled sides prevents fighters from getting stuck in a corner. The shape of the cage was designed to give no preference to one style over the other. For instance, wrestling is done inside a circle. Boxing is done in a square ring. The octagon prevents any one martial arts practice from having an advantage over another.


McElroy, Jordy. (2012, August). The 10 Best MMA Fighters of All Time, by Division. Retrieved on Sept. 3, 2012, from

What is MMA? Retrieved on Sept. 3, 2012, from

Welcome to the Octagon. Retrieved on Sept. 3, 2012, from

Rules and Regulations; Unified Rules and other MMA Regulations; Retrieved on Sept. 3, 2012, from

The UFC, Retrieved on Sept. 3, 2012, from

The Sport, Retrieved on Sept. 3, 2012, from

Mixed Martial Arts Frequently Asked Questions, Retrieved on Sept. 3, 2012, from

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