Skip to main content

MMA Lineage History

mma lineageDuring the early 20th century, various mixed-style contests and challenges took place throughout the Pacific rim, Japan, Taiwan and in the countries of the Four Asian Tigers. In 1980 CV Productions, Inc. created the first regulated MMA league in the United States, named Tough Guy Contest, later renamed Battle of the Superfighters. CV (Caliguri and Viola) sanctioned ten tournaments in Pennsylvania. However, in 1983 the Pennsylvania State Senate passed a bill prohibiting the sport with the passage of the Tough Guy Law.

2,000+ years ago – Leitai
– Pankration
Late 19th century – Hybrid martial arts
– Catch wrestling
Late 1880s – Early NHB and Mixed Style contests
1899 – Barton-Wright and Bartitsu
Early 1900s – Merikan contests
1920s – Early vale tudo and Gracie Challenge
1951 – Masahiko Kimura vs. Hélio Gracie
1950s–1960s – Hong Kong rooftop street fights
1960s–1970s – Bruce Lee and Jeet Kune Do
1976 – Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki
1970s – Antonio Inoki and Ishu Kakutōgi Sen
1979 – First Mixed Martial Arts Company in America CV Productions Inc.
1980 – First MMA League in America Tough Guys
1983 – First Bill to Outlaw MMA Tough Guy Law
1985 – Shooto forms
1989 – First professional Shooto event
1991 – First Desafio (BJJ vs. Luta Livre) event
1993 – Pancrase forms
1993 – UFC forms
Mid/Late 1990s – International Vale Tudo
1997–2007 – PRIDE FC and UFC era
1999 – International Sport Combat Federation founded as first sanctioning body of MMA
2000 – New Jersey SACB develops Unified Rules
2001 – Zuffa buys UFC
2005 – The Ultimate Fighter debuts
2005 – US Army begins sanctioning MMA
2006 – UFC dominance and international growth
2006 – Zuffa buys WFA and WEC
2006 – UFC 66 generates over a million PPV buys
2007 – Zuffa buys PRIDE FC
2008 – EliteXC: Primetime gains 6.5 million peak viewers on CBS
2009 – Strikeforce holds 1st major card with female main event
2011 – WEC merged with UFC
2011 – Zuffa buys Strikeforce
2011 – UFC on Fox gains 8.8 million peak viewers on Fox
2012 – International Mixed Martial Arts Federation was founded with support from UFC
2016 – WMG/WME-IMG buys UFC for US$4 billion
2017 – WMG/WME-IMG changed its holding name to Endeavor
2021 – WMG/WME-IMG listed its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under symbol EDR