Mixed martial arts (MMA) has become the fastest growing sport on the planet in the last couple of years and the best in MMA compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
The UFC, the biggest MMA promotion in the world, hosts big events, featuring the best multi-discipline combat sportsmen on the planet. In the last few years, the UFC has also become the world’s biggest pay-per-view provider, and their fights are aired live the world over.
So, what’s the Ultimate Fighting Championship all about? What are the rules of the game and how are the results determined? Here’s a quick guide:
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC has been responsible for increasing the sport’s popularity around the world. UFC fights are broadcast in more than 150 countries, reaching an estimated 1.1 billion television screens. The company puts on approximately 40 events per year and has more than 500 athletes under contract.
The UFC was the brainchild of Rorion Gracie, an expert in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and ad man Arthur Davie. They formed the organization in 1993 and in November that year, the company organised its first major event—UFC 1.
The UFC fights are staged under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts and are sanctioned and governed by the State Athletic Commissions in the US. As a result, they have a strict set of guidelines and athletes have to undertake doping tests ahead of major events.
The UFC fights take place in the ‘Octagon’—an eight-sided cage with a sprung canvas floor similar to a boxing ring. The fights consist of 3 to 5 five-minute rounds each depending on the level.
The UFC fights take place between fighters from the same weight class. A fighter may choose to compete in different weight categories, but he/she will have to make the weight during weigh-in.
The men’s weight divisions are:
Flyweight up to 125 lbs (52.2 kg)
Bantamweight up to 135 lb (61.2 kg)
Featherweight up to 145 lb (65.8 kg)
Lightweight up to 155 lb (70.3 kg)
Welterweight up to 170 lb (77.1 kg)
Middleweight up to 185 lb (83.9 kg)
Light Heavyweight up to 205 lb (93.0 kg)
Heavyweight up to 265 lb (120.2 kg)
The UFC fights are scored by three judges who are present at cage side, each with a different viewpoint of the contest. The deciding factors are MMA techniques such as effective striking, effective grappling, control of the fighting area, effective aggressiveness and defense. They use the 10-Point System for every round—the winner of the round gets 10 points, the loser gets 9 or less or it can be a tie.
A UFC fight can also end in a number of other ways namely submission, technical knockout, knockout, judges’ decision, forfeit and no contest.