By Miguel Prada
MMA is the fastest growing sport on the planet today even though its beginnings were ruinous and very complicated. In the year 900 B.C. With something called Pankration, everything was allowed here, from submission holds and boxing blows to bites and low blows. In 648 B.C. it was included in the olympic games but here it is already a bit of regulation, you couldn’t put your fingers in your opponent’s eyes, nose nor mouth. The match ended when the opponent was evidently unable to continue or raised the index finger of either of his hands.
Step by step, MMA began to be created, which consists on the combination of styles and as time goes by, MMA is gaining popularity and importance in the sports world.
In 1914 Mitsuuo Maeda, of Japanese origin, moved to Brazil and was naturalized as Octavio Maeda. In Brazil he had the financial support of the Gracie family. Gasta’o Gracie helped Maeda and in gratitude he taught Jiu-Jitsu and judo to his eldest son Carlos Gracie. Carlos taught these martial arts to his younger brothers and thanks to one of his younger brothers, Brazilian-Jiu Jitsu was created.
Years passed with thousands of modifications and until 1993 in the US, where Rorion Gracie from the giant Gracie family (son of Hélio Gracie, one of Carlos Gracie’s younger brothers) organized the first UFC in all of history, which would win Rorion Gracie’s brother, the well known Royce Gracie (In this event Royce would fight Ken Shamrock). In this tournament there were still no regulations, that is, there was no weight classification, there were 5 rounds of 5 minutes and even low blows were still allowed. In this same year the television critic Howard Rosenberg put the term MMA in vogue.
In 1997 a company called Pride FC was created in Japan. This Company caused even greater interest around the world (important to note that PRIDE no longer exists). Around these years, MMA began to be regulated a little bit more and it avoided low blows, unnecessary bites and incredible weight differences in matches.
Finally, it was until 2013-2015 that the issue of doping began to be regulated since from 1997 onwards, some fighters with incredible physiques could be observed, had advantage over many other fighters, cases such as Belfort, Alistar Overeem, Brock Lesnar, etc. That is why companies like the UFC began to regulate this with the arrival of entities such as USADA.
Nowadays, MMA is causing a stir around the world. The money that is handled in this sporting event is incredibly large. Connor McGregor, perhaps the most famous fighter in MMA, today, makes more money than much more famous and admired athletes such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or LeBron James, according to Forbes magazine, and this is caused by millions of fans who gather at home or queue to buy tickets to attend any event of this, now called, sport, and support their favorite fighter.