New to the world of mixed martial arts? The UFC is the number one promotion in USA and worldwide for the sport of MMA.
UFC stands for Ultimate Fighting Championship which is the biggest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion in the world.
Want to lear a bit more about the UFC? Keep scrolling.
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UFC vs MMA mixup
The acronyms are often used interchangeably but there are certain differences between UFC and MMA.
It’s likely because fans of MMA are undoubtedly fans of the UFC, being the largest mixed martial arts promotion.
Mixed martial arts (MMA) itself is a combat sport that runs under a specified ruleset called the Unified Rules of MMA.
The UFC is one MMA sport promotion among many others all over the world. UFC originated in the USA and is where most of its fight nights are held.
But there are many other MMA promotions in existence, like:
- ONE Championship
- Eagle FC
- Invicta Fighting Championship
- Cage Warriors
Origins of the UFC brand
The UFC name was invented by its original creators of the Semaphore Entertainment Group (SEG) in the early 1990s.
It was targeted at an audience that loved popular videogames like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter to bring martial arts to a mainstream view that was never seen before.
Founders of the UFC
The UFC was originally started by businessman Art Davie and a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Grandmaster, Rorion Gracie.
Other co-founders also joined during the UFC’s formative years, including Bob Meyrowitz, entrepreneur Campbell McLaren, media mogul David Isaacs, and screenwriter John Milius.
Art Davie was one-half of the original brainchild behind the UFC as a co-producer of the original televised tournaments.
Rorion Gracie is one of the few people in the world to hold a 9th-degree red belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, specifically the Gracie system.
He’s one of the original co-creators of the UFC alongside Art Davie.
He found inspiration in fighting exhibitions called the “Gracie Challenge” inside his family BJJ system and dreamed of creating an ultimate fighting challenge between unique disciplines.
Campbell McLaren is an American entrepreneur and is considered one of the ten most influential people in the history of the UFC for his efforts in marketing the very early shows of the UFC.
David Isaacs was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Semaphore Entertainment Group (SEG), the original media company behind creating the UFC.
David played an essential part in keeping the UFC alive during some of its most challenging years in the 90s.
John Milius was an instrumental force in getting the UFC off the ground, using his media connections to bring more eyes and attention to the brand to attract investment.
The octagonal shape of the UFC cage was John’s bright idea, creating the “octagon” that we now commonly refer to instead of the standard ring.
Bob Meyrowitz was the original owner of the UFC until he sold it to Zuffa LLC in 2001.
Zuffa LLC was owned by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta and, when they bought the UFC for $2 million in January 2001, they installed Dana White as the president.
Fighting styles of the UFC
The kind of fighting in the UFC is called mixed martial arts, or MMA for short.
Mixed martial arts can mean utilizing the skills of almost any type of weaponless combat martial art in the world, as long as it doesn’t go against any of the unified rules.
In MMA, and the UFC, you can’t strike the back of the head, groin, spine or eyes. There are other rules for grappling and details, like not grabbing the gloves or shorts of your opponent.
These unified rules also affect how the UFC is scored to decide who wins a fight.
These are the martial arts most commonly utilized in the UFC:
- Muay Thai
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
- Sambo or Pankration
Many martial artists that compete in the UFC will often specialize in one or more of these martial arts.
Typically a fighter needs to have good proficiency in a striking martial art (punches and kicks) and a grappling martial art (like wrestling on the ground).
A UFC fight can take place on the feet or on the ground and will often switch between the two positions as each fighter takes or loses the advantage.
This makes UFC fighting closely related to actual street fighting, but with specific rules introduced to protect the long-term wellbeing and safety of its fighters.
Similarities to boxing
Boxing and the UFC share the similarity of both being a combat sport, only boxing has existed for a much longer time.
A boxing matchup only utilizes boxing techniques, which essentially means punching your opponent only with your hands and involves some clinch.
The UFC is using mixed martial arts rules which is far more diverse in what fighting techniques you can use, though it does include a lot of boxing (punching with fists) and the clinch.
What to read next
So now you’re clear about what the UFC stands for, my next articles can help you learn more about how the UFC started and how to get into watching this sport: