Ever since the first UFC event took place all the way back in 1993 (That’s 26 years ago in case you didn’t feel old yet today) the world of mixed martial arts has gone on a roller coaster ride that has seen some abysmal lows and exhilarating highs, but through all of that the sport has remained constant and it continues to evolve.
In this list I’m going to dive into not only how MMA has managed to survive all this time, but how it has made this cold world we live into a better place overall, so join me as I pilot this jumbo jet of subjectivity all the way to the ignorance filled hearts of of 90’s politicians and boxing loyalists.
3: Individual Martial Arts Exposure
Now, you may be wondering why I’m talking about singular martial arts in an article dedicated to the greatness of mixed martial arts, well let me explain before you jump down my throat.
Obviously mixed martial arts is comprised of individual martial arts, but most of the martial arts that are now common knowledge and are found all over places they’ve never been before were introduced to us by MMA, and yes I’m going to do it. I’m going to mention Royce Gracie and his epic triumph. Remember when a little scrawny Brazilian fellow walked into a locked cage wearing what looked like pajamas and then proceeded to destroy men twice his size with ease? Yeah that was 99.9% of the world’s introduction to what may be one of the most common martial arts in today’s world, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). Other martial arts gained prominence through the same channel, Muay Thai, Sambo, and Judo just to name a few. In many ways arguments can be made that these individual martial arts have never had as much exposure as they do now, and any world that has a spotlight on a multiplicity of martial arts is a better world than one that does not.
If you’re not familiar with the story of how the first UFC event came about it’s an interesting one to say the least, but I’ll spare you the novel I would have to write to do it justice. I’ll settle to just tell you that one man had a vision that he could create a competition that could showcase all the martial arts and determine which one was the most superior based on one on one combat, and needless to say after 26 years, well over 300 events, and a price tag of over 4 billion (yes that number had a B) that he has succeeded at creating something that showcases what he intended, but as any good business does it evolved.
With now over 200 MMA promotions worldwide, (I’m sure there are more, but that’s all I could find, well that and all I could stand to count), over a dozen mma video games, and countless MMA apparel companies, the sport has grown into a worldwide phenomenon in a single generation. It has shown us the heights that one person with a simple dream can reach with pure dedication and passion, and a world in which people are inspired and have the belief that their dreams can and will come true is a much better world to me than one that does not.
Now martial arts have been around for a long time, and people have always used them in some form to stay healthy. Now since the MMA boom the world has seen in the past two and a half decades MMA and fitness have gone hand in hand, now I’m well aware that some of that is just the MMA/martial arts gyms marketing to certain audiences that either haven’t heard of MMA, or aren’t very familiar with it, but the point remains.
Nowadays, kids who get bullied have an outlet, and easier access to the tools needed to stand up for themselves and defend against that behavior, women have a chance to drive 5 minutes and learn techniques to repel men that are twice their size who may want to hurt, for the first time maybe in human history the playing field has been leveled and the small person is no longer just a sitting duck in a situation that requires a physical response, any world that encourages health and gives the weaker among us the tools to defend themselves is a better world to me than one that does not.
Entertainment, job creation, and diversity and international exposure.
Written by: Joshua Sloan