Let’s Get Ready To Rumble

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)Ronda_Rousey_expendables

A year ago, I was watching The Expendables 3 and feeling, honestly, a little bored, when a woman with a red dress entered the scene. She had long, blonde hair, and was wearing a pair of glasses. Aside from the fact that she was built a little bigger – and, should I say, more buff – than the average female Hollywood star, she looked quite ordinary. Sylvester Stallone and the other guy (they were in the scene with her) introduced the interesting lady as Luna.

What really caught my attention was what happened less than a minute later. A few people started fighting nearby, so Luna excused herself from the two gentlemen she was with, and headed towards the hubbub. Cracking her knuckles as she walked, and with a playful smirk on her face, she soon reached the troublemakers, grabbed one by the hair, and started throwing punches here and there.

Needless to say, I was wowed.

Of all the female action stars I’ve ever seen, in all of the movies I’ve ever watched, that lady was purely a badass.

Upon reaching home, I started doing a little reading on the mysterious and thrilling character. She was Ronda Rousey, and American Mixed Martial Artist. And that was how I came to know the sport.

MMA_Institute_Logo_WhiteIf you Google the term ‘mixed martial arts’, it is accurately defined as ‘an extreme combat sport in which contestants are permitted to use the fighting techniques of wrestling and boxing but also those of martial arts such as kickboxing, judo and karate’. In short, you can fight in whichever (legal) way you like in order to win. No gloves, no helmets, no weapons – just your bare hands, your guts, and your will to win.

Mixed Martial Arts – or simply MMA for short – originated in ancient Greece. It was even featured in the Olympics back then, though under a different name. At that time, this sport was referred to as pankration, from the Greek words pan and kratos, which meant ‘all powers’. Competitors in pankration engage in hand-to-hand combat, and they enter the ring with only two rules in mind: no biting or eye gouging was allowed. The sport rose in popularity, and champions of the sport emerge as heroes and even became subjects of legends.

jiu jitsuThanks to Alexander the Great, pankration soon spread to India. See, Alexander the Great had a tendency to enlist athletes as his soldiers. He believed that the athletes could be useful for him, due to their stamina and combat skills. A Buddhist monk, who was also in India at the time, picked up bits and pieces of pankration and brought it back with him to China. As word began to spread about the sport, people around the globe started creating their own styles and versions of pankration, thus leading to the birth of several martial arts techniques – each with its own characteristic – such as judo, karate, kung fu, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

As martial increased in popularity, the concept of mixed-style competitions did as well. This was due to one expert in a martial arts style challenging an expert in another martial arts style, just to see which style was better. These competitions occurred for several decades around the world, until it reached the United States, where it became immensely popular.

Those taking part in these competitions soon realized that, in order to come out as a champion, they could not rely on only one type of fighting technique. So, they began learning other fighting styles to get an edge in the competition. From that point on, the competitive sport that is Mixed Martial Arts was born.

The rules of MMA may differ from one fighting organization to another. However, there are some basics that remain unchanged.mma cage vip fan experience

First and foremost, you are required to fight in your own weight class. If you weigh 100 lbs., you will not be facing a giant of 200 lbs.

In general, the weight classifications for men are as follows:

 

Class

Range of weight

Flyweight

Up to 125 lbs.

Bantamweight

Over 125 lbs. to 135 lbs.

Featherweight

Over 135 lbs. to 145 lbs.

Lightweight

Over 145 lbs. to 155 lbs.

Welterweight

Over 155 lbs. to 170 lbs.

Middleweight

Over 170 lbs. to 185 lbs.

Light heavyweight

Over 185 lbs. to 205 lbs.

Heavyweight

Over 205 lbs. to 265 lbs.

Super heavyweight

No weight limit

 

These are the weight classifications for the women:

Ronda Rousey Vip Fan experience

Class Range of weight
Strawweight 115 lbs.
Flyweight 125 lbs.
Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Featherweight 145 lbs.

There are, of course, more than one way to win the competition.

A fighter may win by:

  • Submission. This occurs when you manage to force your opponent to concede defeat. This is also known as ‘tapping out’.
  • Knockout (KO). When you successfully strike your opponent till he/she loses consciousness, you have achieved a knockout.
  • Technical submission. When your opponent is caught in a submission hold, and is unable to concede defeat on his/her own, and the referee has to step in to stop the fight.
  • Technical knockout (TKO). Also known as ‘referee stoppage’, this occurs when the referee has to step in because your opponent seems unlikely able to defend his/herself, or is getting a dangerous amount of damage from your strikes.
  • Judge’s decision. If the fight lasts all rounds, the three judges must decide who will come out the winner.
  • If you make more than 3 fouls, or if you foul your opponent to the point that he/she is unable to continue the fight, you are immediately disqualified.
  • No contest. This happens when you or your opponent is accidentally injured early in the fight and cannot continue any longer, and the judges are unable to decide the winner due to the insufficient number of rounds.

Although fights can be more fun to watch as they get more aggressive, some movements or actions are considered fouls. Fighters can find themselves penalized if they do any one of the following:

  • Groin attacks
  • Head butts
  • Eye gouging
  • Biting
  • Spitting at the opponent
  • Hair-pulling
  • Fish-hooking
  • Downward-pointing elbow strikes
  • Small-joint manipulation
  • Strikes directly to the spine
  • Strikes directly to the back of the head
  • Strikes to the throat
  • Heel kicks to the kidney
  • Clawing, pinching, or twisting the flesh
  • Kicking the head when the opponent is on the ground
  • Kneeing the head when the opponent is on the ground
  • Stomping when the opponent is on the ground
  • Swearing or abusive language
  • Attacking an opponent in between rounds
  • Intentionally throwing the opponent out of the fighting area
  • Flagrant disregard of the referee’s instructions
  • Spiking an opponent’s head or neck

For over a decade, MMA has been growing traction as a sport. Of course, the sport would be nothing if there weren’t any exceptional fighters to root for.

As I’ve mentioned in the beginning, Ronda Rousey is pretty renowned. Her acting chops aside, she presently holds the title of the first and current UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion and the last Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion. In addition to that, she was the first US woman to win an Olympic medal in Judo during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

Cristiane Justino is another force to be reckoned with. This Brazilian fighter is previously Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Champion, and the current Invicta FC World Featherweight Champion. Before being discovered for her fighting skills, Cristiane was formerly a national-level team handball player in Brazil.

Another badass female fighter worth mentioning is Cat Zingano, who was the first woman to win a UFC fight by technical knockout. Zingano first fell in love with combat sports when she joined wrestling at 12 years old. As she grew older, she discovered Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a fighting technique she continues to use in her MMA fights.

Georges St-Pierre is often cited as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time. He has won the Welterweight Champion of the UFC two times, and the Interim Welterweight Champion of the UFC once. His fighting style is a mixture of kyokushin, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling, boxing, and Muay Thai. He recently announced that he is taking some time off from fighting, though he is not counting out the possibility for return.

anderson silva mmaAnother person who is frequently called one of the greatest MMA fighters is Anderson da Silva. He was the former UFC Middleweight Champion, but he still holds the title of the longest defense streak in UFC history. His striking ability is considered one of the best in MMA.

Russian-born Fedor Emelianenko has won MMA Pride Fighting Championships, FIAS World Combat Sambo Championship, and a bronze medal in the Russian Judo Federation National Championship. Out of a total of 39 fights in his career, he has only managed to lose 4 – 3 by knockout, and 1 by submission.

With the rise in popularity of MMA, there is no doubt that in the years to come, more and more fighters would emerge. Small and local MMA gyms are even starting to open, promising to train amateurs the basics of combat. And it is not unclear why people love MMA – the adrenaline rush we get from watching our favorite fighters duke it out in the cage is just priceless.mma fighting