If you are a sports or wrestling fan, there is a pretty good chance that you have at least seen advertisements for something called the UFC. With exciting match clips floating around the internet, it can be easy to have your interest piqued.
Before you start immersing yourself in the world of MMA, there are a few things that you need to know about. Consider this your beginner’s guide to the UFC.
The UFC is One of Several Promotions
In much the same way that wrestling fans can think of the WWE as being the only recognizable form of wrestling, the same can be said for the UFC and MMA. The latter has even become popular enough to garner UFC betting predictions at major sportsbooks across the globe.
That said, the UFC is just one of many organizations. It is the most popular, without question – and has since merged with the aforementioned WWE to create a billion-dollar wrestling and MMA group – but there are others out there that have strong fanbases. Bellator and Strikeforce are the other major promotions in the United States. The Pride Fighting Championships, or just Pride, emanate from Japan. All around the globe, MMA is popular even outside of the UFC.
The UFC Wasn’t the First Game in Town
Another simple thing to know before watching UFC is that the UFC wasn’t the first game in town. While it has garnered the most attention over the last 30 years, the lineage of mixed martial arts matches goes back far before that. For instance, Vale Tudo (anything goes) fights had been happening since the early 1920s. Even in the United States, the first televised mixed rules match came about in 1963.
There is a lot of history in the world of MMA. Getting more familiar with that history, especially the early years of the UFC, can be a great place to start. The UFC has a noteworthy history as well in that it nearly died in the 1990s because of regulations from state boxing commissions before rising to prominence thanks to The Ultimate Fighter.
Learn the Rules
This isn’t the no-holds-barred UFC of the 1990s. There are actually a ton of rules, all of which apply to the various weight classes that the UFC has. While it rose to prominence in the 1990s on the back of the “no rules” tag, it has since come to incorporate a whole slew of rules.
Fighters aren’t allowed to pull hair, poke eyes, or strike to the groin, for starters. It might be helpful to read up on some of the most basic rules before tuning in for your first UFC match. It will make things a lot less confusing and give context as to what the fighters can and cannot do.
Wrestling is an Important Aspect of MMA
Though the two will oftentimes be compared to one another as “real vs. fake,” wrestling actually plays a big part in the overall structure of MMA. It’s not WWE wrestling in the sense of elbow drops and Stone Cold Stunners, but there are clear similarities between the two.
Amateur wrestling, or grappling, is often a foundation used by MMA fighters. It gives them the ability to take their opponents to the mat or to prevent them from being taken down themselves. As a base technique, wrestling also makes it easier to transition into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other striking techniques. There is a reason why some of the best UFC fighters have had some kind of collegiate wrestling background before getting started in the MMA world.