Beginner's Guide to MMA: What is 'MMA'?

Welcome to our weekly blog where we give a beginner's guide to MMA. 

Blog #1 - What is 'MMA'?

MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts and you would be right in taking those words in the literal sense when thinking about the sport because, in short, it is a mixture of all the different martial arts combined together to create this beautiful and often misunderstood sport.

Cage Fighting, Ultimate Fighting, Human Cockfighting, No Holds Barred etc. were all terms for the sport in the early days of its development. But as the years went by MMA quickly changed from spectacle to an actual commisioned sport with a worldwide following that is still growing today.

So what are the prominent martial arts used in MMA?

Boxing - striking with the fists, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - submission holds and grappling, Wrestling - takedowns and grappling, Kickboxing - striking with the legs and fists, and Muay Thai - striking with the legs, elbows, and fists, are among the most popular martial arts competitors tend to be trained in. However, there are plenty who have a background in Judo, Karate, Taekwondo, and Sambo, to name but a few.

The wide variety of martial arts used really give weight to the name Mixed Martial Arts.


Despite common misconception the sport has a lot of rules in place. Too many for me to list off. Essentially anything that you would consider dirty such as hair pulling, eye gouging, low blows, biting, headbutts etc. are not allowed. There are also a number of rules in place to protect a fighter such as no kneeing or kicking to an opponent's head while he/she is down.

Weight Classes:

Another misconception is that anyone can fight anyone despite size and weight. This was true in the early days of the sport but not anymore. Fighters are organised into divisions where they compete against opponents who are of a similar size. The most common weight classes in MMA are 115lbs (52.2kg), 125lbs (56.7kg), 135lbs (61.2kg), 145lbs (65.8kg), 155lbs (70.3kg), 170bs (77.1kg), 185lbs (83.9kg), 205lbs (93kg) and 265lbs (120.2kg).

Train UFC, bro!

A misinterpretation made by the general public is that the sport is called 'UFC'. The UFC, or Ultimate Fighting Championship, is the world's largest MMA promotion and is responsible for bringing the sport mainstream. People would see the name UFC before even hearing 'MMA' and therefore would assume that is the name of the sport. 

The UFC is a league (or a 'promotion' in MMA terms) that has its own group of fighters who compete against one another. An example often used to explain this is the English Premier League who have their group of soccer teams who play against each other.

Check back next week where I explain ways to win in MMA.

And remember EuroFC 01 takes place on October 1st from the Metro Areena in Espoo, Finland. Tickets available from