Something I wrote last night, let the flaming commence Mixed Martial Arts: A Natural Selection Circa 648 B.C. a new martial art competition is invented and placed into the Greek Olympic games, the creators call this new event pankration, a word meaning “all powers”. Pancrase competitions placed wrestlers with early boxers in an un-timed bout until submission or unconsciousness reached the opposition. Although these early matches had very limited rules, gauging of the eyes and/or biting was ruled illegal. On occasion these matches could last hours upon end sometimes concluding with the death of both fighters. This new competition sparked interest into the eyes of the Greeks and soon pankration became the most popular sport in the games leading to the evolution of mixed martial arts (MMA). The USA hosted its first widely viewed MMA event in 1887 between boxing champ John Sullivan and Greco-Roman wrestling champion, William Muldoon. The wrestler emerged victorious after exploiting the boxers weak ground game. Other events during this time, such as Fitzsimmons vs. Roeber and Raicevich vs. Ono, helped to pave the road for professional MMA in the USA, but what about overseas? In the 1850’s trade between the USA and Japan had increased which meant more Americans on Japanese soil. The US Navy soldiers would often collide with the Japanese law enforcement thus pitting American boxing with Japanese Jujutsu. Boxers and jujutsuka would clash and fight in the streets for the next fifty years. The early 1900’s brought a solution to the ongoing street fights, merikan (American Fighting). The sport became extremely popular during this time and soon organized events were springing up all over the country. Merikan would continue to evolve for the ten years until the Gracie family emerged, further evolving the sport of mixed martial arts. While living in Brazil during the early 1900’s Japanese merikan fighter and judoka, Mitsuyo Maeda befriended Gastão Gracie while moving Japanese immigrants into Brazil. During this time Gracie and Maeda became friends and to thank Gastão for his friendship, Mitsuyo offered to teach jujitsu and judo to Gracie’s three children, Carlos, Carlson, and the legendary Helio Gracie. Using their knowledge of Judo and Jujutsu, the three brothers modified the art and invented “Gracie Jiu-Jitsu”. The Gracie’s often partook in Brazilian vale tudo (Anything goes) matches, usually dominating larger opponents by using their modified version of jiu-jitsu. Between 1952 and 1966, Helio fathered two children who would once again force an evolution of the sport. In 1952 Rorion Gracie, son of Helio, was born and 14 years later, another legend of the sport, Royce Gracie was conceived. In 1991 Rorion moved overseas in an attempt to introduce Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to the United States. While on American soil Rorion and Art Davie, an advertising executive, met to discuss a no holds barred fight affiliation. The two men came to an agreement and the Ultimate Fighting Championship had begun. On November 12, 1993 UFC 1:The Beginning took place pitting 8 men in a tournament style fight with the winner leaving the octagon with a $50,000 check. The men fighting were from many different backgrounds, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, sumo, wrestling, boxing, etc, coining the phrase, “mixed martial arts”. The tournament ended with the Gracie prodigy, Royce coming out victorious. Jiu-Jitsu proved to be the strength of the competition and when competitors saw the advantages the art had, they began to train in submission fighting. Many current fighter to this day remember seeing Jiu-Jitsu for the first time and realizing its future importance in the sport. From 648 BC until present, martial arts have evolved and many fighters are learning a plethora of skill combinations needed to compete professionally. Some use Muay-Tai and Jiu-Jitsu and some are boxer/wrestler types. Either way, the sport has evolved to a point where knowing just one art will generally not lead to success in the ring. The sport is still evolving and many professional fighters are bringing new styles into the ring. Lyoto “The Dragon” Machita confuses his opponents with Karate and Sumo while Fedor Emelianenko uses his mastery of Sambo to submit and throw opponents. In a sport that is constantly evolving, new things must be mastered in order to overcome opponents and survive “Seek not to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought”.