The Evolution of Fighting: MMA
It's hard to imagine the struggles of The Early UFC with it's current ride of success. Currently selling out arenas with
crowds over 17 thousand. MMA's humble beginnings are now over shadowed by it's current success world wide. With over 100 different
MMA organizers & promoters, where does MMA stand? Is MMA Fighting the proving ground for a complete fighter?
If you were a lucky enough to be a hybrid fighter before The Introduction of MMA Pay-Preview Television, you did not have
a venue to demonstrate your abilities. Europe had its Gladiator tournaments, with many restrictions on strikes (elbows, knees).
I'm sure you will find a long list of one martial art vs another in Asia, or even Brazil from decades, centuries ago. In North
America however, there was nothing Legal happening in MMA. There was Pit fighting; Underground, illegal MMA fighting, just
like out of of movie. You have concrete, a referee & no rules. I had the opportunity to participate in 5 matches. The
money is no different to what they pay a MMA fighter today in the lower end promotions i.e. TKO, Apex etc. I will say when
you got hurt, you got hurt. Believe me I got hurt. No nice soft ring canvases, or a cage with protective barriers. Just the
cold hard concrete.
Luckily for the future of MMA fighters, along came The UFC in 1993. Legal in some States, illegal and unrecognized
in others. It gave hope to some fighters to test their hybrid abilities, or just challenge the best fighters in each fighting
art. Gracie's Brazilian Ju-jitsu became a household name thanks to The UFC. Some of the weaker Martial Arts were exposed as
useless. Others like BJJ & Muay Thai would benefit greatly from this exposure, especially from the hybrid fighters. The
UFC was a success. Other Organizations would copy, and follow suite i.e. Extreme fighting, Pride. The tournament style in
the UFC's beginnings had mixed weight classes, making it impossible for smaller, lighter fighters to participate. The UFC
later evolved to have weight classes, and abandon the tournament format. Would Matt Hughes be successful against the current
Some martial arts were exposed as frauds, useless, self-indulgence. A backlash was felt across the martial arts community
in 94-95. Some instructors/owners spoke out against NHB Competitions, like the UFC, for egotistical reasons. Some clubs/gyms
refused to evolve, and became extinct like the dinosaurs. What we did see was a growth in BBJ & Muay Thai Gyms across
Ontario & Canada. I remember that there was only 3 Muay Thai Clubs in all of Ontario when I first started in 93. Now there
is over 30 clubs, and countless underground clubs. MMA fighting focused a bright spotlight on the greatest ring sport in the
world. It showed that Muay Thai's lethal arsenal was mandatory for any fighter's cache, if they were to be successful in MMA
With the current success of The UFC, Pride, K1, KOTC, Apex, TKO, UGC, it's safe to say that MMA Fighting is here to stay.
The clubs that evolved to teach hybrid fighting arts are the successful clubs. 1/3 of triumphant fighters use Muay Thai Techniques
in their fights. So it's safe to say that Muay Thai is here to stay. I will state that MMA Fighting is the ultimate proving
ground for any fighter, and to claim that one is a great fighter, he must prove himself in MMA competition.
Not complete. Please check back in the upcoming weeks for completion.