The Game

In recent years, MMA has grown in popularity to the point where it rivals boxing in terms of viewer ratings. Back in the nineties, MMA started as somewhat of a freak show, where martial artists of different styles competed against each other to see who’s style was the best. It soon became clear that Brazilian jiu-jitsu, at the time represented by Royce Gracie, was the most effective style in the cage.

Since then, the sport has evolved considerably and combatants have developed a more well-rounded skill set. To succeed in modern MMA, you need to train in grappling, ground fighting and a range of striking techniques, such as boxing, karate, kickboxing, and taekwondo. Grappling dummies, like the ones described in this article, are often used by MMA fighters for training purposes.

The famous actor and martial artist Bruce Lee is often credited as the father of modern MMA. In the sixties and seventies, Lee studied and combined many different fighting styles into a system of martial arts known as jeet kune do. Lee’s classic films, such as Enter The Dragon, Game of Death, The Big Boss and The Way of the Dragon, showcase his impressive skills and inspired a whole new generation of martial artists. Lee advocated a fluid, formless approach to fighting, where all superfluous movements were eliminated. The opening scene in entering The Dragon shows Lee fighting an opponent wearing MMA style gloves and using various strikes, throws, and submissions – decades before MMA even existed.

Fans of boxing and MMA often argue about which sport is better, and how fighters from different disciplines would fare against each other. In truth, because the two sports are so different, it is difficult to make a direct comparison. Most fighters who have attempted to cross over from boxing into MMA, or vice versa, have not been particularly successful – despite excelling in their original sport.

In 2010, boxer James Toney, who was one of the best pounds for pound fighters in his sport, fought former MMA champion Randy Couture under MMA rules. Toney was taken to the ground and submitted inside a round. In 2017, MMA star Conor McGregor crossed over into boxing to fight ring legend Floyd Mayweather, under Marquess of Queensbury rules. After carrying McGregor for several rounds, Mayweather knocked his overmatched foe out in round ten.

Notwithstanding, the future looks bright for both sports, because there are plenty of talented fighters out there who can give fans the exciting match ups they want to see- be it in the cage or in the squared circle.