The sport of Mixed martial arts as we know it today has been around for about 3 decades. Many consider MMA the ultimate proving ground for martial artists. The origin of MMA has rather interesting origins that many people have either forgotten, never knew or choose to ignore.
Brief history of MMA: MMA can trace it’s origins to 3 different countries(Japan, Brazil and Russia). The first sport that resembled present day MMA was Russian Sambo, a hybrid martial art developed in the early days of the Soviet Union that took techniques from Jujutsu, Judo, boxing and various wrestling styles. Sambo was both meant to be used by soldiers on the battlefield and as a sport. The sport resembles modern day MMA in both rules and practice.
The Brazilians also started their own line of martial arts competitions in the early 20th century after Japanese immigrants introduced Traditional Japanese Jujutsu and Judo to Brazil. The Brazilians took everything they learned from the Japanese and developed “Brazilian Jiu Jitsu”. Which eventually lead to the development of a sport called Vale Tudo which was basically no holds barred MMA. Individuals from various martial arts backgrounds would gather at Vale Tudo events and duke it out.
Eventually in the 1980s, the Japanese established the first MMA promotion known as “Shooto”. Then in the 1990s two more official MMA promotions were established in Japan, they were Pride and pancrase. Pancrase thrived, While pride went defunct shortly after it was found to be lead by the yakuza. Nowadays the biggest MMA promotion in Japan is Rizin which was founded in 2015. Now here are reasons why I prefer Rizin over UFC.
1.)Rizin still allows open weight fights: The main reason why I dislike UFC so much is that it puts way too much emphasis on weight classes. If a fighter misses weight, you can guarantee that fighter will get heavily criticized, just look at how much hate Mackenzie Dern received after her fight against Amanda Cooper. Rizin is different, while it does have weight classes. Rizin doesn’t put as much emphasis on weight as it occasionally hosts open weight bouts. Fun fact: Early UFC didn’t have any weight classes, it wasn’t till the mid 2000s when weight classes were introduced.
2.)A large portion of the UFC fan base is toxic: I’ve watched several UFC shows, browsed UFC fan dominated forums and read several comments on MMA and martial arts videos. All I can say is “wow” and I don’t mean that in a good way. Many of them are outright obnoxious, rude, ignorant and condescending. Of course not all of them are like that but there are many who are just immature. While on average the Rizin fanbase is more disciplined and respectful.
3.)Rizin has less regulations than UFC: In UFC there is no kneeing downed opponents, no elbowing, no soccer kicking, no stomping etc. Rizin allows these actions under certain circumstances. Stomps are allowed if the fighter is bare foot, elbows are allowed to the body, knees are allowed to the body of a downed opponent etc. While, Groin strikes, eye pokes and spikes are still illegal and rightfully so, many other actions aren’t illegal in Rizin.
4.)UFC doesn’t allow Inter-promotion fights: UFC doesn’t allow it’s fighters to participate in other MMA promotions, nor does it allow MMA fighters from other promotions to fight in UFC. Rizin allows it’s fighters to compete in other promotions and allows fighters from other promotions to fight in Rizin. And considering how Rizin is affiliated with Bellator(another great MMA promotion), Rizin frequently receives fighters from them.
Closing thoughts: I know it’s not entirely UFC’s fault for it’s fall from grace. Nonetheless I still prefer watching Rizin and other lesser known MMA promotions over UFC.