Published at Tuesday, 17 December 2019. Female. By Abby Marshall.
Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki took place in Japan in 1976. The classic match-up between professional boxer and professional wrestler turned sour as each fighter refused to engage in the others style, and after a 15-round stalemate it was declared a draw. Muhammad Ali sustained a substantial amount of damage to his legs, as Antonio Inoki slide-kicked him continuously for the duration of the bout, causing him to be hospitalized for the next three days. The fight played an important role in the history of mixed martial arts. In Japan, the match inspired Inokis students Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki to found Pancrase in 1993, which in turn inspired the foundation of Pride Fighting Championships in 1997. Pride was acquired by its rival Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2007.
In March 1997, the Iowa Athletic Commission officially sanctioned Battlecade Extreme Fighting under a modified form of its existing rules for Shootfighting. These rules created the three 5 minute round, one-minute break format, and mandated shootfighting gloves, as well as weight classes, for the first time. Illegal blows were listed as groin strikes, head butting, biting, eye gouging, hair pulling, striking an opponent with an elbow while the opponent is on the mat, kidney strikes, and striking the back of the head with closed fist. Holding onto the ring or cage for any reason was defined as a foul. While there are minor differences between these and the final Unified Rules, notably regarding elbow strikes, the Iowa rules allowed mixed martial arts promoters to conduct essentially modern events legally, anywhere in the state. On March 28, 1997, Extreme Fighting 4 was held under these rules, making it the first show conducted under a version of the modern rules.
Royce Gracie of Brazil helped bring MMA to the forefront in the 1990s. The 6-foot 1-inch (1.85-metre), 180-pound (82-kg) Gracie, who won UFC 1 in 1993, was particularly deft at using his jujitsu skills while lying on his back to defend against attacks or to launch a submission hold aimed at his opponent’s joints. Most other early UFC fighters were one-dimensional, typified by the bearded brawler David (“Tank”) Abbott, but as the sport grew, athletes began to study striking, wrestling, and jujitsu—many drawn by the success of Gracie against bigger opponents. In 2003 Gracie became the first fighter inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
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