Mixed martial arts

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Posted by kaori 05/04/2009 @ 00:11

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Mixed martial arts

Mixed martial arts competition requires training in striking, wrestling, and submission fighting.

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full contact combat sport that allows a wide variety of fighting techniques, 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 term may also be used, less correctly, to describe hybrid martial arts styles.

Modern mixed martial arts competition emerged in American popular culture in 1993 with the founding of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Initially based on finding the most effective martial arts for real unarmed combat situations, competitors of various arts were pitted against one another with minimal rules for safety. In the following decade, MMA 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 one of the developers of these rules, Jeff Blatnick, a former Greco-Roman wrestler and Olympic gold medalist. Following these changes, the sport has seen increased popularity with pay per view reach rivaling boxing and professional wrestling.

While different forms of unorganized, no-rules, unarmed combat predate history, civilization, and even the human species itself (even apes fight hand-to-hand), the earliest documented, organized, minimal-rules fighting event was the ancient Greek pankration, which was introduced into the Olympic Games in 648 B.C. Greek pankration later inspired the more violent Etruscan and Roman pancratium, an event showcased at the Roman Colosseum. Even as late as the Early Middle Ages, statues were put up in Rome and other cities to honour remarkable pankratiasts of Rome.

No-holds-barred events reportedly took place in the late 1800s when wrestlers representing a huge range of fighting styles, including various catch wrestling styles, Greco-Roman wrestling and many others met in tournaments and music-hall challenge matches throughout Europe. In the USA the first major encounter between a boxer and a wrestler in modern times took place in 1887 when John L. Sullivan, then heavyweight world boxing champion, entered the ring with his trainer, Greco-Roman wrestling champion William Muldoon, and was slammed to the mat in two minutes. The next publicized encounter occurred in the late 1890s when future heavyweight boxing champion Bob Fitzsimmons took on European Greco-Roman wrestling champion Ernest Roeber. Reportedly, Roeber suffered a fractured cheekbone in this bout, but was able to get Fitzsimmons down on the mat, where he applied an armlock and made the boxer submit. In Europe, around the 19th century, the Italian Giovanni Raicevich, skilled in Greco-Roman wrestling defeated Akitaro Ono, a Japanese heavyweight fighter skilled in Jujutsu, Judo, and Sumo, throwing him on the mat by one-arm shoulder throw. In 1936, heavyweight boxing contender Kingfish Levinsky and veteran professional wrestler Ray Steele competed in a mixed match, which Steele won in 35 seconds. Another early example of mixed martial arts combat was the martial art of Bartitsu, founded in London in 1899, which was the first martial art known to have combined Asian and European fighting styles, and which saw MMA-style contests throughout England, pitting European and Japanese champions against representatives of various European wrestling styles.

Mixed style contests such as boxing vs. jujutsu were popular entertainment throughout Europe, Japan and the Pacific Rim during the early 1900s. In Japan these contests were known as merikan, from the Japanese slang for "American ". Merikan contests were fought under a variety of rules including points decision, best of three throws or knockdowns, and victory via knockout or submission.

Professional wrestling died out after World War I and was reborn in two streams: "shoot", in which the fighters actually competed, and "show," which evolved into modern professional wrestling.

The history of modern MMA competition can be traced to mixed style contests throughout Europe, Japan and the Pacific Rim during the early 1900s; the Gracie family's vale tudo martial arts tournaments in Brazil starting in the 1920s; and early mixed martial arts matches (known as Kakutougi in Japan) hosted by Antonio Inoki in Japan in the 1970s. The sport gained international exposure and widespread publicity in the United States in 1993, when Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter Royce Gracie handily won the first Ultimate Fighting Championship tournament, subduing three challengers in just five minutes, sparking a revolution in the martial arts. Meanwhile in Japan the continued interest in the sport resulted in the creation of the Pride Fighting Championships in 1997.

The movement that led to the creation of the UFC, and Pride was rooted in two interconnected subcultures. First were the vale tudo events in Brazil, followed by the Japanese shoot wrestling shows. Vale tudo began in the 1920s with the "Gracie challenge" issued by Carlos Gracie and Hélio Gracie and upheld later on by descendants of the Gracie family. In Japan in the 1970s, a series of mixed martial arts matches were hosted by Antonio Inoki, a former star of New Japan Pro Wrestling; this inspired the shoot-style movement in Japanese professional wrestling, which eventually led to the formation of the first mixed martial arts organizations, such as Shooto, which was formed in 1985.

In November 2005 recognition of its effectiveness as a test came as the United States Army began to sanction mixed martial arts with the first annual Army Combatives Championships held by the US Army Combatives School.

The sport reached a new peak of popularity in North America in the December 2006 rematch between then UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell and former champion Tito Ortiz, rivaling the PPV sales of some of the biggest boxing events of all time, and helping the UFC's 2006 PPV gross surpass that of any promotion in PPV history. In 2007, Zuffa LLC, the owners of the UFC MMA promotion, bought Japanese rival MMA brand Pride FC, merging the contracted fighters under one promotion and drawing comparisons to the consolidation that occurred in other sports, such as the AFL-NFL Merger in American football.

As a result of an increased number of competitors, organized training camps, information sharing, and modern kinesiology, the understanding of the combat-effectiveness of various strategies has been greatly improved. UFC commentator Joe Rogan has claimed that martial arts have evolved more in the ten years following 1993 than in the preceding 700 years.

The early years of the sport saw a wide variety of traditional styles - everything from sumo to kickboxing - but the continual evolution of the sport saw many styles prove ineffective, while others proved successful on their own.

In the early 1990s, three styles stood out for their effectiveness in competition: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, amateur wrestling and submission wrestling. This may be attributable in part to the grappling emphasis of the aforementioned styles, which were, perhaps due to the scarcity of mixed martial arts competitions prior to the early 90s, unknown to most practitioners of striking-based arts. Fighters who combined amateur wrestling with striking techniques found success in the standing portion of a fight, whilst Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu stylists had a distinct advantage on the ground: those unfamiliar with submission grappling proved to be unprepared to deal with its submission techniques. Shoot wrestling practitioners offered a balance of amateur wrestling ability and catch wrestling-based submissions, resulting in a well-rounded skillset. The shoot wrestlers were especially successful in Japan. As competitions became more and more common, those with a base in striking became more competitive as they acquainted themselves with takedowns and submission holds, leading to notable upsets against the then dominant grapplers. Subsequently, those from the varying grappling styles added striking techniques to their arsenal. This overall development of increased cross-training resulted in the fighters becoming increasingly multi-dimensional and well-rounded in their skills. The changes were demonstrated when the original UFC champion Royce Gracie who had defeated many opponents using Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fought the then UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes at UFC 60 and was defeated by a TKO from 'ground-and-pound'.

The rules for modern mixed martial arts competitions have changed significantly since the early days of vale tudo, Japanese shoot wrestling, and UFC 1, and even more from the historic style of pankration. As the knowledge about fighting techniques spread among fighters and spectators, it became clear that the original minimalist rule systems needed to be amended. The main motivations for these rule changes were protection of the health of the fighters, the desire to shed the image of "barbaric, no rules, fighting-to-the-death" matches, and being recognised as a sport.

The new rules included the introduction of weight classes; as knowledge about submissions spread, differences in weight had become a significant factor. There are 9 different weight classes. These 9 weight classes include flyweight (up to 125 lbs./ 57 kg), bantamweight (126-135 lbs/ 61 kg), featherweight (136-145 lbs/ 66 kg), lightweight (146-155 lbs/ 70 kg), welterweight (156-170 lbs/ 77 kg), middleweight (171-185 lbs/ 84 kg), light heavyweight (186-205 lbs/ 93 kg), heavyweight (206-265 lbs/ 120 kg), and some organizations even go on to have a super heavyweight which is anything heavier then 265.

Small, open-fingered, gloves were introduced to protect fists in punches, reduce the occurrence of cuts (and stoppages due to cuts) and encourage fighters to use their hands for striking to allow more captivating matches. Time limits were established to avoid long fights with little action where competitors conserved their strength. Matches without time limits also complicated the airing of live events. The time limits in most professional fights are three 5 minute rounds, and championship fights are normally five 5 minute rounds. Similar motivations produced the "stand up" rule, where the referee can stand fighters up if it is perceived that both are resting on the ground or not advancing toward a dominant position.

Gloves were first mandatory in Japan's Shooto promotion and were later adopted by the UFC as it developed into a regulated sport. Most professional fights have the fighters wear 4 oz gloves with little protection, where as amateurs are required to wear a little heavier 6 oz glove for somewhat little more protection for the hands and wrist. In the U.S., state athletic and boxing commissions have played a crucial role in the introduction of additional rules because they oversee MMA in a similar way to boxing. Smaller shows may use more restrictive rules because they have less experienced fighters. In Japan and Europe, there is no regulating authority over competitions, so these organizations have greater freedom in rule development and event structure.

Many states have a "no elbow policy" for amateurs to help protect the young fighters from serious injury by cuts or concussions. The use of a "12-6" elbow has been deemed illegal as well. There are some organizations that restrict the use of kneeing a downed opponent, which is dictated by one person having a hand, arm, or knee on the ground. Also, it is illegal to headbutt your opponent, headbutts were prohibited because it was a technique that required little effort and could quickly turn the match into a bloody mess.

Victory in a match is normally gained either by the judges' decision after an allotted amount of time has elapsed, a stoppage by the referee (for example if a competitor can not defend himself intelligently) or the fight doctor (due to an injury), a submission, by a competitor's cornerman throwing in the towel, or by knockout.

Knockout (KO): as soon as a fighter becomes unconscious due to strikes, his opponent is declared the winner. As MMA rules allow ground fighting, the fight is stopped to prevent further injury to an unconscious fighter.

Doctor Stoppage: the referee will call for a time out if a fighter's ability to continue is in question as a result of apparent injuries, such as a large cut. The ring doctor will inspect the fighter and stop the match if the fighter is deemed unable to continue safely, rendering the opponent the winner. However, if the match is stopped as a result of an injury from illegal actions by the opponent, either a disqualification or no contest will be issued instead.

Corner stoppage: a fighter's corner men may announce defeat on the fighter's behalf by throwing in the towel during the match in progress or between rounds.

Decision: if the match goes the distance, then the outcome of the bout is determined by three judges. The judging criteria are organization-specific. Forfeit: a fighter or his representative may forfeit a match prior to the beginning of the match, thereby losing the match.

Disqualification: a "warning" will be given when a fighter commits a foul or illegal action or does not follow the referee's instruction. Three warnings will result in a disqualification. Moreover, if a fighter is injured and unable to continue due to a deliberate illegal technique from his opponent, the opponent will be disqualified.

No Contest: in the event that both fighters commit a violation of the rules, or a fighter is unable to continue due to an injury from an accidental illegal technique, the match will be declared a "No Contest".

Mixed martial arts promotions typically require that male fighters wear shorts as the only permissible attire, thus precluding the use of gi or fighting kimono to inhibit submission holds.

The need for flexibility in the legs combined with durability prompted the creation of various fighting shorts brands, which then spawned a range of mixed martial arts clothing and casual wear available to the public.

The techniques utilized in mixed martial arts competition generally fall into two categories: striking techniques (such as kicks, knees and punches) and grappling techniques (such as clinch holds, pinning holds, submission holds, sweeps, takedowns and throws). The first ever and largest MMA Sanctioning body in the world today is the International Sport Combat Federation (ISCF). Although sanctioning bodies such as the ISCF have rules and regulations for MMA, rules may vary between promotions. While the legality of some techniques (such as elbow strikes, headbutts and spinal locks) may vary, there is a near universal ban on techniques such as biting, strikes to the groin, eye-gouging, fish-hooking and small joint manipulation.

Today, mixed martial artists must cross-train in a variety of styles to counter their opponent's strengths and remain effective in all the phases of combat. For instance, a stand-up fighter will have little opportunity to use their skills against a submission artist who has also trained in take downs. Many traditional disciplines remain popular as ways for a fighter to improve aspects of their game.

Some styles have been adapted from their traditional form, such as boxing stances which lack effective counters to leg kicks and the muay thai stance which is poor for defending against takedowns due to the static nature, or Judo techniques which must be adapted for No Gi competition. It is common for a fighter to train with multiple coaches of different styles or an organized fight team to improve various aspects of their game at once. Cardiovascular conditioning, speed drills, strength training and flexibility are also important aspects of a fighter's training. Some schools advertise their styles as simply "mixed martial arts", which has become a genre in itself; but the training will still often be split in to different sections.

While mixed martial arts was initially practiced almost exclusively by competitive fighters, this is no longer the case. As the sport has become more mainstream and more widely taught, it has become accessible to wider range of practitioners of all ages. Proponents of this sort of training argue that it is safe for anyone, of any age, with varying levels of competitiveness.

The following terms describe hybrid styles a fighter may use, over the course of a fight, to achieve victory. While some fighters have tallied notable victories by striking, ground-and-pound as well as submission throughout their careers, most fighters will rely on a smaller number of techniques while adopting a style that plays to their strengths.

Sprawl-and-brawl is a stand-up fighting tactic that consists of effective stand-up striking, while avoiding ground fighting, typically by using sprawls to defend against takedowns.

A sprawl-and-brawler is usually a boxer, kickboxer, Thai boxer or full contact karate fighter who has trained in wrestling to avoid takedowns to keep the fight standing. Often, these fighters will study submission wrestling to avoid being forced into submission, should they find themselves on the ground. This style can be deceptively different from traditional kickboxing styles, since sprawl-and-brawlers must adapt their techniques to incorporate takedown and ground fighting defense.

Clinch fighting and dirty boxing are tactics consisting of using a clinch hold to prevent the opponent from moving away into more distant striking range, while also attempting takedowns and striking the opponent using knees, stomps, elbows, and punches. The clinch is often utilized by wrestlers that have added in components of the striking game (typically boxing), and Muay Thai fighters.

Wrestlers may use clinch fighting as a way to neutralize the superior striking skills of a stand-up fighter or to prevent takedowns by a superior ground fighter. The clinch of a Muay Thai fighter is often used to improve the accuracy of knees and elbows by physically controlling the position of the opponent.

Ground-and-pound is a ground fighting tactic consisting of taking an opponent to the ground using a takedown or throw, obtaining a top, or dominant position, and then striking the opponent, primarily with fists and elbows. Ground-and-pound is also used as a precursor to attempting submission holds.

This style is used by wrestlers or other fighters well-versed in submission defense and skilled at takedowns. They take the fight to the ground, maintain a grappling position, and strike until their opponent submits or is knocked out. Although not a traditional style of striking (it was first demonstrated as an effective technique by UFC and Pride grand prix champion, Mark Coleman), the effectiveness and reliability of ground-and-pound has made it a popular tactic. Today, strikes on the ground are an essential part of a fighter's training.

Apart from being a general martial arts term, submission grappling is also a reference to the ground fighting tactic consisting of taking an opponent to the ground using a takedown or throw and then applying a submission hold, forcing the opponent to submit. While grapplers will often work to attain dominant position, some may be more comfortable fighting from other positions. If a grappler finds themselves unable to force a takedown, they may resort to pulling guard, whereby they physically pull their opponent into a dominant position on the ground.

Submissions are an essential part of many disciplines, most notably catch wrestling, judo, Sambo, pankration, Army Combatives, MCMAP and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. They were popularised in early UFC by Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie.

Lay-and-pray is a pejorative term for a strategy whereby a fighter can control their opponent on the ground, but is unable to mount an effective offense. They simply seek to negate the offense of their opponent, "praying" for a decision victory. In some promotions, penalties may be imposed for lay-and-pray techniques if the referee determines that a fighter is stalling.

While competition in the sport is occasionally depicted as brutal by the media, there had never been a death or crippling injury in a sanctioned event in North America until the death of Sam Vasquez on November 30, 2007. Vasquez collapsed shortly after being knocked out by Vince Libardi in the third round of an October 20, 2007 fight at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Vasquez had two separate surgeries to remove blood clots from his brain, and shortly after the second operation suffered a major stroke and never regained consciousness. While questions have been asked about Vasquez's health before his final bout no firm indications of pre-existing problems have yet surfaced. Since he was age 35, he would have had to undergo extensive pre-fight medical screening in order to obtain a license to compete in Texas.

This was the third verified fatality in MMA. The first was the 1998 death of Douglas Dedge in an unsanctioned fight in Ukraine. There are unconfirmed reports that Dedge had a pre-existing medical condition. The second was the 2005 death of a 35-year old man only identified as Lee in South Korea. This took place in an unsanctioned event in a restaurant called Gimme Five.

The sport of Mixed Martial Arts has female athletes. However, there are few professional mixed martial arts organizations in the United States that invite women to compete. Although women are not as prominent as men in mixed martial arts, there has been a growing awareness of women in the sport due to popular female fighters and personalities such as Gina Carano. Carano quickly became the face of women's MMA after appearing in the now defunct EliteXC MMA promotion; this was furthered by her appearances in the remake of the hit (US version) TV show American Gladiators. Other popular female fighters include Cristiane Santos. Women fights are more prominent in Japan in promotions such as the all-female Valkyrie and now defunct Smackgirl.

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Mixed martial arts weight classes

Mixed martial arts weight classes are weight classes that pertain to the sport of mixed martial arts.

Organizations will often adopt their own rules for weight limits, causing ambiguity in the sport regarding how a weight class should be defined. For a variety of reasons (largely historical), weight classes of the same name can be of vastly different weights. For example, a boxing Middleweight weighs up to 160 pounds, a UFC Middleweight is 185, and a Pride middleweight was 205.

In 2000, the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts were codified by the New Jersey State Athletic Commission – working with the California State Athletic Commission, who had worked extensively on regulation, but its sanctioning of MMA was not implemented due to state governmental issues surrounding the budgeting process. California officially sanctioned MMA on December 28, 2005, using the ruleset it helped devise five years previously.

Since then, to create uniformity in the United States, many state athletic commissions have assimilated these rules for mixed martial arts into their existing unarmed combat competition rules and statutes. For a promotion to hold mixed martial arts events in a state-sanctioned venue, the promotion must abide by the state athletic commission's body of rules for weight limits.

Prior to state sanctioning, weight classes were not mandatory since the competitions were held without the approval of the athletic commissions. For instance, the Ultimate Fighting Championship introduced two weight classes at UFC 12: heavyweight, which grouped competitors above 200 lb (91 kg), and lightweight, which grouped competitors under 200 lb.

Weight divisions underwent many changes in the coming years, but the ability of promotions to autonomously decide their own weight classes eventually disappeared after athletic commissions began supervising mixed martial arts.

In July 2008 a change to the existing classes was proposed by the Association of Boxing Commissions to have a total of 14 classes, the proposals have been rejected by the biggest organization, the UFC and several state athletic commissions.

In the following states, MMA is legal but is not regulated by a local commission: Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

The most notable of these states is Hawaii, whose lack of codified restrictions on mixed martial arts allows promotions to set their weight limits as they see fit. Hawaii's Rumble on the Rock has a welterweight champion at the unique weight of 175 lb (79.5 kg).

Promotions that hold events on Indian reservations are under the jurisdiction of independent athletic commissions such as the Mashantucket Pequot Athletic Commission or the Grand River Athletics Commission. Many of these commissions are under the umbrella of the Native American Sports Council. These commissions are generally regarded as having less than rigorous standards.

With no state or government laws regarding weight class restrictions, Japanese organizations are free to schedule bouts with little regard for weight differential. However, due to the increasingly competitive nature of the sport, weight is often seen as an unfair advantage over a smaller competitor; therefore, weight limits have been set by the promotions themselves. These limits differ from organization to organization. Japan uses the metric system.

Dream's weight categories go by similar guidelines as the Unified Rules, differing only by a few pounds.

Pride arranged one weight category for every ten kilograms, starting at 73 kg (161 lb) and ending at 93 kg (205 lb).

K-1 Hero's established weight classes around the time of their first mixed martial arts tournament.

As of January 31, 2008 World Victory Road's Sengoku changed their Weight Classes to the ones listed here, which are very similar to those of shooto.

There is currently no Board of Control governing MMA in the UK and promotions can set weight classes as they see fit.

Cage Rage weighs fighters using the metric system. Weight classes are in line with the Unified Rules of MMA.

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Mixed martial arts rules

Gloves were first mandatory in Japan's Shooto league and were later adopted by the UFC as their brand of mixed martial arts developed from a brawl to a regulated sport.

Most rule sets for mixed martial arts competitions have evolved since the early days of vale tudo. As the knowledge about fighting techniques spread among fighters and spectators, it became clear that the original minimalist rule systems needed to be amended. As rules evolved and regulations added, different branches of mixed martial arts have emerged, with differences between the different rulesets dictating different strategies. Similarly, shoot wrestling organizations, such as Shooto, expanded their rulesets to integrate elements of vale tudo into their sport. However, for the most part, fighters accustomed to one ruleset can easily acclimate to a different ruleset, as the basics of fighting remain largely the same.

The most prevalent ruleset in the world being used currently is the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, a set of rules that has been adapted by several state athletic commissions in the United States and used most notably in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Unified Rules are the de facto rules for mixed martial arts in the United States, and have been adopted by other promotions and jurisdictions worldwide. Other notable sets include Shooto's, which were the first to mandate padded gloves, and PRIDE rules, after PRIDE Fighting Championships, which were also adopted by other promotions worldwide.

Weight classes emerged when knowledge about submission holds spread. When more fighters became well-versed in submission techniques and avoiding submissions, differences in weight became a substantial factor.

Headbutts were prohibited because it was a technique that required little effort and could quickly turn the match into a bloody mess. Headbutting was common among wrestlers because their skill in takedowns allowed them to quickly transfer bouts to the ground where they could assault opponents with headbutts while not being required to alter their position.

Small, open-finger gloves were introduced to protect fists in punches. Although some fighters may have well conditioned fists, others may not. The small bones in an unprotected and unconditioned fist are prone to break when it hits a torso or forehead with power. Gloves also reduce the occurrence of cuts (and stoppages due to cuts) and encourage fighters to use their hands for striking, both of which enable more captivating matches.

Time limits were established to avoid long fights on the ground with little perceivable action. No time limit matches also complicated the airing of live events. Similar motivations produced the "stand up" rule, where the referee can stand fighters up if it is perceived both are resting on the ground or are not advancing toward a dominant position.

The following describes some rules commonly found in MMA competition today.

In 2000, the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts were codified by the New Jersey State Athletic Commission. The rules were originally drawn up by the California State Athletic Commission, who had worked extensively on regulation, but its sanctioning of MMA was not implemented due to state governmental issues surrounding the budgeting process. California officially sanctioned MMA on December 28, 2005, using the ruleset it helped devise five years previously.

Since then, to create uniformity in the United States, many state athletic commissions have assimilated these rules for mixed martial arts into their existing unarmed combat competition rules and statutes. For a promotion to hold mixed martial arts events in a state-sanctioned venue, the promotion must abide by the state athletic commission's body of rules. The notable exception to this is Hawaii, where MMA is legal but there is no requirement to adhere to the Unified Rules. Promotions that hold events on Indian reservations are under the jurisdiction of the Indian tribe government, which may require sanctioning by their own commission.

Every round is 5 minutes in duration with a one minute rest period in-between rounds. Title matches can be sanctioned for five rounds but non-title matches must not exceed three rounds.

All competitors must fight in approved shorts, without shoes or any other sort of foot padding. Shirts, gis or long pants (including gi pants) are not allowed. Fighters must use approved light gloves (4-6 ounces) that allow fingers to grab.

The ten-point must system is in effect for all fights. Three judges score each round and the winner of each receives ten points, the loser nine points or less. If the round is even, both fighters receive ten points. In New Jersey, the fewest points a fighter can receive is 7, and in other states by custom no fighter receives less than 7.

The Unified Rules used to allow all elbow strikes except those hitting downwards with the point of the elbow.

Historically, PRIDE's rules have differed between main PRIDE events and Bushido events.. However, it was announced on November 29, 2006 that Bushido events would be discontinued. When holding events in the US, PRIDE abided by the Unified Rules.

The first round is ten minutes in duration and the second and third rounds are five minutes in duration. There is a two minute rest period between each round. Grand Prix matches are two rounds in length if more than one round is scheduled on one night.

PRIDE allows fighters latitude in their choice of attire but open finger gloves, a mouthguard and a protective cup are mandatory. It is within a fighter's discretion to tape parts of their body or to wear a gi top, gi pants, wrestling shoes, kneepads, elbow pads, shin guards and ankle supports, though each is checked by the referee before the fight.

If a fight is stopped on advice of the ring doctor after an accidental but illegal action, i.e. a clash of heads, and the contest is in its second or third round, the match will be decided by the judges using the same criteria.

In addition to the common fouls, PRIDE Fighting Championships considers elbow strikes to the head and face to be fouls.

In the event that a fighter is injured by illegal actions, then at the discretion of the referee and ring doctor, the round is resumed after enough time has been given for the fighter to recover. If the match cannot be continued due to the severity of the injury then the fighter who perpetrated the action will be disqualified.

PRIDE discontinued Bushido events in late-2006 and their rules were last used for lightweight and welterweight fights at PRIDE Shockwave 2006.. As the lightweight and welterweight divisions will now be on the main PRIDE shows, the rules for the lighter classes are also changing to reflect standard PRIDE rules.

MMA is often referred to as "cage fighting" in the US as it is associated with the UFC's octagonal caged fighting area. Most major MMA promotions in the US, Canada and Britain use the "cage" as a result of directly evolving from the first UFC events. There are variations on the cage such as replacing the metal fencing with a net, or using a different shape for the area other than an octagon, as the term "The Octagon" is trademarked by the UFC (though the 8-sided shape itself is not trademarked). In Japan, Brazil and some European countries such as Netherlands an area similar to a standard boxing ring is used, but with tighter ropes and sometimes a barrier underneath the lowest rope to keep grappling athletes from rolling out of the ring. The usage of the ring in these countries is derived from the history of Vale Tudo, Japanese pro-wrestling and other MMA related sports such as kickboxing.

The choice of cage or ring is more than aesthetic however, as it impacts the type of strategies that a fighter can implement. For example, a popular and effective strategy in a cage is to pin an opponent into the area where the fence meets the mat, and then pummel him with strikes. This is not possible in a roped ring. On the other hand, the roped ring can result in entangled limbs and fighters falling through the ropes, requiring the referee to sometimes stop the fight and reposition the fighters in the center. Some critics feel that the appearance of fighting in a cage contributes to a negative image of MMA in popular media.

In the U.S., state athletic and boxing commissions have played a crucial role in the introduction of safety rules because they oversee MMA in similar ways as they do for boxing. Small shows usually use more restrictive rules because they have less experienced fighters who are looking to acquire experience and exposure that could ultimately lead them to getting recruited into one of the larger, better paying promotions. In Japan and Europe, there is no regulating authority over MMA competitions, so these organizations have greater freedom in rules development and event structure. In general, a balanced set of rules with some organization-specific variances has been established and is widely used, and major rule changes are unlikely, allowing for fighters in one organization to transition to others easily.

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Source : Wikipedia