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The Rise of MMA & The UFC
By Clark Swihart

The UFC, or Ultimate Fighting Championships, was off to a rocky start in 2001. The first pay per view special went overtime and the viewers did not get to see the end. Additionally, the early era, when rules were much less strict, was seen as spectacle instead of sport. This has completely turned around. The UFC was able to enforce standards, recast from no holds barred to MMA, or Mixed Martial Arts, and now threatens to KO boxing.

UFC is sanctioned in twenty states, and the current leadership intends to regularize it across the nation. The lucrative deal with Spike TV is certainly helping, and UFC fights and television shows are very popular. They are currently averaging 2.2 million viewers in the third season of the show “The Ultimate Fighter,” which has been picked up for at least two more years. Additionally, “UFC Unleashed” and “UFC Fight Night” are showing on Spike with first run and repeat fights. In the last quarter of 2006, UFC had four pay per view events averaging 482,000 viewers. UFC is now shown in 36 countries around the world. UFC is running shows in Canada and the UK, and intends to open a UK office to expand into the European market. The increased visibility provided by the television shows has allowed the UFC to market stars, creating a media draw in their own right.

While as late as 2004 the owners, Zuffa LLC, still had $34 million in losses. However, in 2006 the UFC generated $222,766,000 in revenue on pay per view, passing WWE and boxing with the largest events nearing 800,000 viewers. There is even an agreement with THQ for worldwide rights to develop UFC based video games.

While some still see the sport as if it were still no holds barred, the most dangerous moves have been rendered illegal, and the competitors require great training and skill to succeed. With elements from various martial arts, wresting and boxing, the sport really is mixed martial arts. Failure to provide a firm grounding in all three areas will result in defeat. While the typical UFC fighter will have a preferred style, it is utterly normal to constantly evaluate strengths against weakness, and to go with whatever style seems likely to play to an opponents weakness. Matches can feature a great deal of movement as fighters dance around the ring trading blows, or can be very still, as both fighters grapple and seek submission holds.

The current rules were established by the New Jersey Athletic Control Board, and have been adopted as the “Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts” by several other states.

On 27 March 2007 Dana White, president of the UFC, announced the purchase of Pride Fighting Championships, the main competitor for the UFC. The organizations will remain separate as organizations, they will cooperate and co-promote supercards with champions and top contenders from both organizations in the same event. It is being dubbed “The SuperBowl of MMA!”

Clark Swihart is the President and Founder of CAS Enterprises, LLC. Please visit the following websites for more information... MartialArtsPride.com - Mixed Martial Arts Equipment, UFC Gloves, MMA Gear, Punching Bags, Ultimate Fighting Championships Videos, & More! TheAwristocrat.com - Custom Silicone Rubber Bracelets, Leather Slap Wristbands, Promotional Products, and Church & School Fundraising


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