How did the UFC and MMA come to be a mainstream sport?

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Answered by: Michael60053, An Expert in the MMA Category
For many years, the UFC, or Ultimate Fighting Championship was a company struggling with hardship just to stay afloat. In the early to mid 1990s, people viewed this sport as "human cock-fighting" and believed all its employees, especially the fighters, were individuals with little intellect at all.

People would hear the word "fight" and dismiss MMA before they knew anything about it. The company was losing money and if it wasn't for the perseverance of the Fertitta brothers and Dana White, we probably wouldn't be talking about this topic today. The UFC came out with a show called "The Ultimate Fighter." It was single elimination with the final two men fighting for a contract in the UFC. Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin were the remaining two, and had a massive impact on the growth of the sport. Their fight was three rounds of nonstop action. It was an absolute "war," as fight fans would say. Not to mention it was on network television and seen by many.

This historic, action packed fight, piqued the interest of many people and brought people back to watch more. Today, the show is still being televised and is still going strong after 14 seasons. This show, along with the fight, were the catalysts to making the UFC and MMA widely-known.

Currently, many people who understand the sport realize that it takes a lot more than two fists to be an experienced fighter. A true mixed martial artists must be disciplined in all areas of combat - Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Striking, and Muay Thai to name a few. In the early years of the sport you could get by on being a virtuoso at a single aspect of the game. Now, everyone is well-versed in all aspects of MMA. Many smaller organizations have come to fruition because of the effort UFC and MMA gyms all over the world.

The owners of the company would not back down and kept pushing for legality until they succeeded. It has opened up a new horizon for parents and kids every where. Children are being enrolled in mixed martial arts classes all over the world to learn how to protect themselves. The gyms don't encourage fighting, but rather how to intelligently defend yourself if someone attacks you. There are many holds and techniques one could use to restrain a person instead of inflicting damage.

Individuals are learning self respect and gaining confidence in themselves, which in turn, leads them on a path for a more positive life. MMA fans and practitioners are extremely lucky that there were a few men who believed in the sport and didn't give up on it during the hard times. Thankfully, the sport has evolved into the mainstream, and will continue to grow with its new network deal with FOX.

The impact that the UFC has had on the growth of martial arts is indescribable. It's easier to say that mixed martial arts would not be classified as a sport if the UFC hadn't persevered through the many hardships during its first few years of business.

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