Mixed martial arts, abbreviated as MMA, is a full contact combat sport that allows a wide variety of fighting techniques and skills, from a mixture of martial arts traditions and non-traditions, to be used in competitions. The rules allow the use of striking and grappling techniques, both while standing and on the ground. Such competitions allow martial artists of different backgrounds to compete.
The roots of mixed martial arts can be traced back to various mixed style contests that took place throughout Europe, Japan and the Pacific Rim during the early 1900s. Modern MMA competition emerged in 1993 with the founding of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, although professional MMA events had been held in Japan by Shooto starting back in 1989. Originally organized with the intention of finding the most effective martial arts for real unarmed combat situations, competitors were pitted against one another with minimal rules for safety. Later promoters adopted many additional rules aimed at increasing safety for competitors and to promote mainstream acceptance of the sport.
The name mixed martial arts was coined by Rick Blume, president and CEO of Battlecade, in 1995. Following these changes, the sport has seen increased popularity with pay per view reach rivaling boxing and professional wrestling.