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Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a combat sport in which a wide variety of fighting
techniques are used, including striking and grappling.
Modern mixed martial arts tournaments as a popular phenomenon emerged in 1993 with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, based on the concept of pitting different fighting styles against each other in competition with minimal rules in place, in an attempt to determine which system would be more effective in a real, unregulated combat situation. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, mixed martial arts events implemented additional rules for the safety of the athletes and to promote acceptance of the sport, while maintaining as much of the original no-holds-barred concept as possible. Since these changes, the sport has grown rapidly, to the point of setting pay-per-view records.
The history of the modern MMA event can be traced to the Gracie family's vale tudo martial arts tournaments in Brazil starting in the 1920s, and early mixed martial arts matches hosted by Antonio Inoki in Japan in the 1970s. The fighting concept of combining various combat disciplines gained popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the emergence of Bruce Lee and his theories of mixing various martial art styles. The sport gained international exposure and widespread publicity in the United States in 1993, when Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter Royce Gracie dominated the Ultimate Fighting Championship, sparking a revolution in the martial arts, while in Japan the continued interest in the sport resulted in the creation of the PRIDE Fighting Championships in 1997.