MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is a combat sport that combines elements of different martial arts disciplines. It is contested on a ring within a fenced enclosure and fights consist of three (no title defense) or five rounds with a one-minute rest period in between each round. The competitors are allowed to use techniques that fall into two broad categories: striking and grappling. The winner is determined by either a technical knockout, submission, or disqualification for breaking competition rules. 
MMA fighters are typically trained in a combination of several styles, but notably include boxing, wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo, karate, and taekwondo. Striking techniques such as kicks, knee strikes, and punches are used in MMA, as well as grappling skills such as clinch holds, pinning holds, sweeps, and throws. Historically, MMA has been dominated by men, but in recent years, more women have entered the sport and achieved notable success. Some of the most famous MMA fighters include Georges Saint-Pierre, Anderson Silva, Fedor Emelianenko, Demetrius Johnson, and Chuck Liddell.
The modern MMA was developed in the early 1990s when practitioners began to combine and experiment with fighting styles. It was originally promoted by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the United States, but has since spread worldwide. It is now one of the world’s most popular sports with pay-per-view reach exceeding both boxing and professional wrestling.
While MMA has its roots in ancient Chinese fighting systems and the Greek art of pankration, it was further perfected by the UFC, which introduced a standardized set of rules to promote safety and ensure fairness in competition. The sport has seen tremendous growth in the past decade, as it continues to evolve and expand its popularity.
MMA fights are conducted in a regulated environment by a panel of judges who watch the contestants compete from ringside seats. Each fighter is assigned a referee who is responsible for ensuring the safety of both competitors and maintaining the integrity of the fight. The referee can also make the decision to end a fight by a knockout, submission, or disqualification.
The punishment for breaking MMA competition rules varies depending on how dangerous the foul is and its impact on the opponent, but common violations include grabbing the cage, kicking or striking the head of a downed opponent, and biting. While these are extreme violations, there are many smaller infractions that can lead to a fighter being disqualified.
In the early days of MMA, most fighters were highly trained in one discipline but crossed-trained to improve their chances of winning a fight. Over time, less effective martial arts disappeared as fighters grouped together around disciplines that demonstrated results. Eventually, strikers learned to grapple and grapplers began to strike, which launched the modern technique of ground and pound. Today, the majority of MMA fighters train heavily in more than one martial art to complement their skill sets and prepare themselves for the unpredictable nature of a fight. This multidisciplinary approach allows MMA to be one of the most exciting and challenging combat sports on the planet.