Mixed martial arts (M.M.A.) are are exactly what they sound like: a mixture of many different arts of war put together to form a forever evolving style.
Although one on one combat has been around a very long time, the sport has only recently been introduced to the United States. At first the sport was looked on as brutal and uncivilized and could be exercised only in places such as Native American reservations.
The sport got little to no recognition at first, but then in 1993 an organization called “The Ultimate Fighting Championships” was established by Art Davie, Rorion Gracie and Bob Meyerwitz in order not only to make money, but to introduce this already internationally known sport to the United States on a wider scale. It also answered the question: what is the best fighting discipline?
The original fighters brought to the United States were very one dimensional. They had wrestlers, kickboxers, karate, sambo, judo, jiu jitsu and kung fu practitioners just to name a few. The tournament opened up an unexpected pandora’s box in the world of M.M.A. that would forever change its face in the United States.
A man by the name of Royce Gracie, who at the time was only about 185 lbs., defeated everyone who came across his path. His art was Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and when this Brazilian was defeating fighters who dwarfed him, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (B.J.J.) was thought to be the most “all around” discipline.
As the years passed, fighters were given the opportunity to study B.J.J. and learn from their mistakes. Fighters slowly realized what areas they were lacking in, and made up for it in their training. One dimensional fighting was becoming obsolete, and everyone was starting to realize that they needed to know more than just grappling or striking. Competitors needed to know them both.
Thus M.M.A was introduced to the United States.
The biggest and highest caliber organization today in the M.M.A world is the Pride Fighting Championships. Sadly, on January 13, 2003, Pride FC’s president, Naoto Morishita, was found hung in his hotel room. Some speculate ties with the Yakuza (Japanese mafia), and since the incident, Fuji television has terminated its contract with Pride.
Morishita’s death puts this huge organization at risk of becoming extinct. So far Pride has been put on the “endangered species” list but has announced nothing officially.
World class fighters like Mirko “Crocop” Filipovic, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Anderson “Spider” Silva have moved their way from Pride into the U.F.C. and are so far undefeated.
Meanwhile, the Pride heavyweight champion, Fedor “The Russian Experiment” Emelianenko and others are criticizing those who are leaving the Pride organization.
We’ll have to wait to see whether the M.M.A. will survive this blow.