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MIXED MARTIAL ARTS

In the beginning, MMA or Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fights were little more than a bloody brawl in a cage, with the first match pitting a 415-pound sumo wrestler against a Dutch kickboxer who smashed his foot into the bigger man’s face leaving two teeth embedded in his own foot and a third flying into the crowd.

Today things are very different and there’s no doubt that MMA is big business. Although the sport only emerged in the 1990s, its growth has been phenomenal with more than a million viewers regularly paying to watch UFC bouts in the US alone. What separates MMA from other underground combat sports is the strict set of regulations and classification enforced by league officials. With the huge fan base garnered by UFC (with over 3.4 million followers on Twitter), MMA is making its mark and it’s easy to see why leading figures in the sport are confidently predicting that MMA will be an Olympic event within a decade.