Published at Tuesday, 17 December 2019. Female. By Abby Marshall.
In the UFC, women’s MMA is currently restricted to just two weight classes: strawweight, for fighters weighing up to 115 pounds (52 kg), and bantamweight, for fighters weighing up to 135 pounds (61 kilograms). Other MMA organizations, however, have sanctioned women’s bouts in several additional weight classes, including featherweight, with an upper weight limit of 145 pounds (66 kg) and atomweight, for fighters weighing up to 105 pounds (48 kg).
MMA first came to the attention of many in North America after the Gracie family decided to showcase its trademark Brazilian jujitsu in the United States in the 1990s. Hélios son Royce Gracie represented the family in a 1993 tournament in Denver, Colorado, that came to be called UFC 1. The name referred to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), an organization that became the leading promoter of MMA events. The earliest aim of the UFC events was to pit fighters of different styles against each other—such as wrestler against boxer and kickboxer against judoka. Initially, the only rules decreed no biting and no eye gouging. Bouts ended when one of the fighters submitted or one corner threw in the towel. Royce Gracie emerged as the champion of UFC 1, which was held in a caged ring at Denvers McNichols Arena. As the UFCs first cable television pay-per-view event, the tournament attracted 86,000 viewers. That number increased to 300,000 by the third event.
During the early 20th century, various interstylistic contests took place throughout Japan and in the countries of the Four Asian Tigers. In Brazil, there was the sport of Vale Tudo, in which fighters from various styles fought with little to no rules. The Gracie family was known to promote Vale Tudo matches as a way to promote their own Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu style. An early high-profile mixed martial arts bout was Masahiko Kimura vs. Hélio Gracie in 1951, fought between judoka Masahiko Kimura and Brazilian jiu jitsu founder Hélio Gracie in Brazil. In the West, the concept of combining elements of multiple martial arts was popularized by Bruce Lees Jeet Kune Do during the late 1960s to early 1970s. A precursor to modern MMA was the 1976 Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki bout, fought between boxer Muhammad Ali and wrestler Antonio Inoki in Japan, where it later inspired the foundation of Pancrase in 1993 and Pride Fighting Championships in 1997.
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