MMA is among the most popular sports worldwide, and while the average MMA fan may know a lot about their favorite players, matches, and facts about MMA history, no one knows everything about MMA.
A lot of facts about MMA are related to the games. But, wouldn’t it be nice to know how MMA came to be, which fighters are MMA legends, and some of the most significant matches in MMA history? Read on to discover interesting MMA facts you probably didn’t know.
MMA Is An Ancient Sport
The Greeks invented Pankration, the sport from which MMA fighting techniques were developed, 2000 years ago. The Greeks invented Pankration as a war technique and played it during the Olympics.
The game was a combination of boxing and wrestling. The only combat rules to Pankration were “no biting” and “no eye-gouging,” while everything else was allowed. Pankration matches were intense, and sometimes a game ended with one of the opponents dead.
MMA Has Safety Rules
Unlike Pankration, MMA has more comprehensive safety rules. MMA rules prohibit strikes at the back of the head, kicking a fallen opponent on the head, hair pulling, and groin strikes. These rules protect players from serious injuries, thus guaranteeing safety.
MMA players are highly trained in the art of defense, and doctors monitor them closely to ensure they are in top shape. Therefore, although the incidence of injuries in MMA fights is high, the players rarely sustain serious injuries.
Kenneth Allen Once Made 25 Consecutive Losses
Knowing when to retire is essential when it comes to sports. Once in a while, a player in the UFA refuses to accept when it’s time to go. When this happens, the results can be embarrassing. Kenneth Allen once had a record of 25 consecutive losses, having fought his last match in 2015. Despite his embarrassing record, Allen still fights when given a chance.
Women Also Compete in Professional Fights
Men have dominated the MMA scene since the first UFC fight in 1993. But in 2013, the UFC made room for female fighters as women’s MMA gained popularity. Before UFC adopted women’s MMA, champions like Ronda Rousey already had a huge fan base, and this helped prove to UFC CEO Dana White that women’s MMA had potential.
The first women’s MMA fight in UFC took place on February 23, 2013, and the UFC women’s championships have continued thriving since then.
Quickest MMA Fights
MMA fighters train for months for their matches, and sometimes, the fight can be relentless. However, some fights are brief. In 2008, fighter Cale Grady won a match against Ryan Chavarria in 20 seconds. But the most impressive win was a 2015 fight between Conor Mc Gregor and Jose Aldo, where 13 seconds in, Mc Gregor knocked out Aldo.
Travis Fulton Has Competed in More Than 300 Fights
Travis Fulton was an MMA legend with a career that spanned over 20 years. Fulton held the record for the most fights and wins before his untimely death in 2021. This MMA legend began his MMA career in 1996. At the time, he was 19 years old, and by 2016, Fulton had fought his 315th match. The fighter won 252 matches in his career, but most of his wins were against little-known fighters.
The Heaviest MMA Fighter
At 6 foot 8 and weighing over 600 pounds, Emmanuel Yarbrough is the heaviest fighter in MMA history. Although he died in 2015 from a heart attack, his reputation as the heaviest MMA fighter remains. Despite his size, Yarbough lost his first UFC fight to Keith Hackney, who was a much smaller man.
Yarbough weighed 616 pounds at his debut, while Hackney only weighed 200 pounds. Their weight difference remains the largest size difference known to the UFC up to date. Yarbough lost his match with Hackney because he could barely move and took one too many hits. He had better luck on his second fight, where he leveraged his size by smothering his much smaller opponent, Tatsuo Nakano.
The First MMA Fight On TV
MMA made its debut on television on June 25, 2002. For MMA fans, the television debut of the fight between Robbie Lawler and Steve Breger on Fox Sports Net was a monumental moment in MMA history. Broadcasting the MMA fight allowed UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta to show the public what MMA was about since marketers had previously described it as a violent and bloody sport.
Longest MMA Winning Streak
Renan Barao is the absolute champion when it comes to MMA winning streaks. After losing in his debut, Barao came back determined to win and managed a 32-fight winning streak. Unlike champions like Luis Rafael Laurentino and Julio Cesar Neves Jr, who build their winning streaks fighting in regional organizations, Barao racked up most of his wins in UFC championships.
UFC matches attract a great following, both on mainstream media and physically on MMA events. MMA fans are willing to attend matches at the venue, and those who cannot attend almost always watch matches through pay-per-view services. According to statistics,22% of 18-34-year-olds and 27% of people aged 35-44 years are avid MMA fans.
UFC 272, which took place on March 5 this year, in the T-mobile arena in Paradise, Nevada, had an attendance of 19,425, and the gate took in $6,760,000
They may look harsh while in the arena, but UFC fighters are selfless and love lending a hand where they can. The UFC contributes to various charities serving the military and veterans, and its fighters donate to causes they are passionate about.
For instance, PRIDE Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi initiated the Fight Back Fund to offer relief for the Japan earthquake and tsunami victims. More recently, Dustin Poirier offered to donate $20,000 to any charity fellow fighter Charles Oliveira chose after Oliveira bested him at the UFC 269 pay-per-view.
The First Fight Night Bonus Earner
UFC CEO Dana White first introduced Post-fight bonuses at UFC 70 in 2007. During this event, Gabriel Gonzaga won KO of the night, while Michael Bisping and Elvis Sionocic won the home fight of the night. However, before these two wins, Terry Etim had won submission of the night honors against Matt Grice. Therefore, he became the first post-fight bonus earner.
The First Untelevised MMA Fight
The first public MMA match that showed fighters using different combat styles took place in Shangai 113 years ago. The 1909 fight took place between Hercules O’Brien, who was a British boxer, and Chinese Wushu fighter Yuan Jia.
Doping is a serious sports crime in all sports, including MMA. Players who test positive for performance-enhancing drugs may get suspensions or lose their careers. In 2011, Thiago Silva was caught using a fake urine sample for his drug test. After further probing, Silva admitted that he had been using steroids to speed his recovery from a back injury from a fight with Stanislav Nedkov.
Nate Marquardt, a middleweight fighter, failed a drug test after months of using testosterone replacement therapy. Dana White fired Marquardt on the spot after his failed drug test to give an example to other fighters.
Sean shark, who also failed a drug test, was fined $2,500 and suspended for one year from the CSAC. Sean, however, denied the charges, and after much advocation, the CSAC reduced his suspension. All these and many other MMA fighters that got caught with doping issues were never able to recover from the incident, and their reputations and careers were destroyed irreparably.
Winning Multiple Belts
When the UFC introduced weight championships, contenders had a chance to go for more titles. Fighters who wanted to compete in multiple championships had to lose or gain weight severally to compete in different categories. Despite their efforts, only a few fighters ever won more than one belt.
Randy Couture was the first MMA fighter to win two belts, the light heavyweight and heavyweight titles. Other fighters like BJ Penn, Daniel Cormier, Conner MC Greegor, and Amanda Nunes also won champion titles in two different divisions.
The MMA world offers drama, controversy, and the thrill of a good fight, and the fans love it. Gorge yourself on more crazy, random, interesting facts about MMA, and maybe try out an MMA class.