Ultimate Fighting Championship

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The UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) has a rich history that is only rivaled by the popularity that the sport enjoys today. It has essentially changed the way that people view the world of martial arts by combining that world with the traditional world of boxing in order to create something completely new. The greatest thing about this particular organization is that it has seen its fair share of ups and downs, both in regard to the way the sport is regulated and the very survival of the sport itself. For all the challenges that it has seen, it has come out stronger and more popular and as a result, it has made many of the professional athletes who compete in the sport household names.

Overview

The UFC was founded in the early 1990s. Its first event was held in November of 1993. The Ultimate Fighting Championship headquarters is located in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is the largest company of its type in the world and as such, it also holds events worldwide. Today it is able to attract the top athletes in a wide variety of sports in order to create some of the most popular matches in history. The company was originally founded by Bob Meyrowitz, Rorion Gracie, Art Davie and Campbell McLaren. The company was originally designed to showcase a variety of martial arts techniques of various disciplines and to combine those disciplines with traditional boxing. The original idea was to showcase top athletes across various disciplines of the sport, but the modern day company has essentially combined many of these disciplines into one unique fighting style that has allowed the UFC to enjoy an identity all its own.

Operational Strategy

The UFC is designed to function around eight separate weight classes, ranging from flyweight to heavyweight in the male division. The upper weight limit for someone fighting in the flyweight category is 125 pounds. A bantamweight fighter can weigh no more than 135 pounds while the featherweight fighter must not weigh more than 145 pounds. A male that is fighting in the lightweight category must keep his weight to 155 pounds or less. However, someone competing in the welterweight division can weigh as much as 170 pounds while a middleweight fighter can weigh as much as 185 pounds. The two categories that allow for the most weight are the light heavyweight which tops out at 205 pounds and the heavyweight category which allows fighters to weigh as much as 265 pounds.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship also has two weight classes for female fighters. These are the strawweight category at 115 pounds and the bantamweight category at 135 pounds.

Fighting Styles

There are many different fighting styles that are accepted in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The main fighting styles that are used are Judo, Karate, Muay Thai, Sambo, and Jiu-Jitsu combined with wrestling and boxing. At times, there are also other types of fighting styles that are used but less frequently. The overwhelming majority of competitors that are currently participating in matches for the UFC combine multiple disciplines in order to create a unique fighting style that is essentially all their own. This is also what has allowed the Ultimate Fighting Championship to create its own identity separate from anything else in the martial arts world as well as the traditional wrestling and boxing worlds. It has become a true exhibition of mixed martial arts.

Early Challenges

Most of the early challenges that were experienced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship centered around being able to market the sanctioning body effectively in order to attract top athletes and to have an opportunity to showcase those athletes at top venues around the country. For a period of time, the Ultimate Fighting Championship experienced more than what would normally be considered growing pains. It was so severe that there was a possibility that the UFC would not be able to continue sanctioning matches between athletes. This was largely due to a combination of a number of factors, mainly an inability to attract top fighters in its very early stages combined with an inability to get the top billing that it wanted to get at venues around the country in order to promote the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Fortunately, people that were intricate to the development of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, who had a great deal of knowledge in marketing, stepped in and attracted the attention of top athletes all over the world. The next course of action was to create an opportunity for the UFC to showcase its athletes at many of the top venues. Although it was a slow process in the beginning, it ultimately led to the sustained success that the Ultimate Fighting Championship currently enjoys today. It is basically still under the same business model now that it was under when this transformation took place.

Expansion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship

In the 1990s, the UFC was operating mainly in the United States, and at times, it even struggled to survive. However, determination and good marketing techniques have allowed it to flourish and as it has grown out of its infancy, it currently enjoys a massive expansion into other countries. For instance, matches are currently held worldwide and as such allow any individual from virtually any country to have the opportunity to be a champion in the UFC. In addition, its fan base has expanded exponentially. Matches that were once carried virtually entirely on pay per view in the United States can now be seen in more than 150 countries around the world. While matches are still carried on pay per view, they are also frequently carried on regular cable television throughout the United States and in other countries. The greatest degree of popularity has been seen in Canada, Europe, Australia and even in the Middle East. In addition, both fans and competitors in the United States have made the UFC as popular as many other sports organizations such as professional football or baseball.

Controversy

Of course, no type of sports organization is able to grow from nothing more than an idea in someone's mind into a reality without going through some degree of controversy. The Ultimate Fighting Championship experienced its biggest controversy surrounding the rules that were governing matches and the actions of its competitors. Most of this controversy occurred in the late 1990s. When the UFC first started, there were relatively few regulations and competitors were essentially allowed to use almost any type of technique in order to be victorious. Some of the fights were extremely violent and unfortunately, the UFC gained a reputation for being one of the most violent sports sanctioning bodies that ever existed. Fights became centered more around their level of violence than anything else and the entire organization began to get a bad reputation. The people that were in charge of regulating the agency were aware of this and as such, began working with regulatory agencies in order to standardize fighting practices and thereby reduce the level of violence that was occurring. They started working on this in the 1990s and saw a major transformation in the sport that allowed it to grow into what it has become today. Today's matches are far more standardized with rules and regulations that are designed to protect the competitors without taking away from the level of competition. The Ultimate Fighting Championship now operates under the unified rules of mixed martial arts in an effort to keep each match as fair as possible and focus more on the true abilities of each competitor as opposed to the level of violence. This is largely responsible for the surge in popularity that the UFC currently enjoys.

Developing Today’s UFC Sport

Largely due to the fact that the Ultimate Fighting Championship did experience some issues as it was gaining its popularity, it has developed a unique way of showcasing its athletes that have proven to be very successful. The fact that athletes learned to combine different disciplines of the martial arts, early on and use them in conjunction with a combination of wrestling and boxing moves has made it something that is entirely unique, helping it stand apart from other similar sports. It is not merely about the use of martial arts and it is also not a sport which focuses on boxing or wrestling exclusively. Its ability to combine all of these factors into one thing has made it a sport that is loved by individuals who have an interest in all of the different sports that encompass the Ultimate Fighting Championship. This is part of what has made the UFC such a huge success and it equally benefits the sanctioning body and the athletes. In no other sport do athletes have the opportunity to perfect so many different disciplines and then showcase those disciplines to millions of fans worldwide. It is ironic that the very thing that started out as a combination of so many different disciplines is now something that is completely unique and contrary to itself.

Legendary competitors

Most people have heard of competitors such as Royce Gracie, Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. Individuals such as these have essentially become household names, even for those who do not closely follow the UFC. It is easy to understand why because each of these individuals have been inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame and will forever enjoy the fact that they were competitors at the top of their game while they were participating in the organization. Every organization has competitors that become something of legend, and the UFC is no different. Instead, it has been able to capitalize on the popularity of many of the people that worked hard to make the UFC what it is today. This has enabled both the organization and the individuals that participate in it to benefit from each other's mutual success.

Current Champions

Today's competitors have the opportunity to write their own chapter in history. Some of the people that are current champions in the UFC have the makings of legendary fighters in their own right and there is no reason not to assume that these individuals will one day hold their own place in the UFC Hall of Fame. Fighters such as the current heavyweight champion, Cain Velasquez, the light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, or the lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis, are outstanding competitors that are able to blend a wide variety of disciplines into something that is representative of the sanctioning body’s amazing ability to compete at the highest levels. There are also places for new champions to be born, as the current welterweight division is vacant and waiting for a new champion to fill its spot. In addition, few other sports provide women the opportunity to enjoy a similar level of success as the men, especially in a competition that is so physical. Current bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey can attest to that fact. Again, history is waiting to be made as there is no current strawweight champion. Who knows who the next champion will be?

Summary

Some sanctioning bodies see an enormous amount of success and others eventually simply fade away. The UFC has faced many of the major hurdles that cause some sanctioning bodies to disappear and it has survived and become stronger as a result of facing those challenges. Today, the UFC is stronger than ever and is waiting to allow the individuals that currently compete to have the opportunity to make history. The entire organization has already made plenty of history of its own and there is every reason to believe that it will continue to do so in the future. Much of its success is dependent upon its athletes and these individuals have every reason to do what they can in order to make the Ultimate Fighting Championship a success in its own right. It is a mutually beneficial situation and as such, a unique type of relationship has been developed between athletes that participate in matches and the sanctioning body which allows the matches to take place. The fact that it is a private organization and that it has its own marketing strategy only serves to increase the potential for its continued future success.


Sports | Martial Arts


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