Mixed Martial Arts: A History

Mixed Martial Arts might seem like a sport that appeared out of nowhere during the last few decades, but MMA is actually a hybrid of the ancient Greco-Roman sport pankration, which was a combination of grappling and striking and part of the most ancient Olympic games.

Instances of fights similar to modern mixed martial arts continue to appear in historical records throughout Europe, particularly during the 1800s, where there are many recorded instances of no-holds-barred fights that incorporated many different styles of wresting, as well as boxing skills. Perhaps the first American MMA-style fight was a match between heavyweight boxing champion John L. Sullivan and his trainer, William Muldoon, who was a champion Greco-Roman wrestler. This 1887 battle ended with Muldoon throwing Sullivan to the mat in just two minutes.

As the sport progressed, there are records throughout the Pacific Rim, Asia and Europe of mixed-style fights. In Brazil, the Gracie family was hugely influential in the beginnings of vale tudo fighting, which included their own signature form of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. These vale tudo or “everything allowed” fights included Jiu Jitsu as well as many other styles of fighting.

Although many assume he was mainly a Kung Fu fighter, Bruce Lee is often hailed as the father of modern mixed martial arts. He created his own philosophy of Jeet Kune Do, which combined Kung Fu with many other fighting styles. He believed that a fighter should be able to use many styles of fighting, including kicking, punching, and grappling. This well-rounded fighting style has evolved into the style of mixed martial arts that we see today.

MMA gained a mainstream following in the early 1990s with the creation of Ultimate Fighting Championship or UFC. UFC has become the largest MMA promotion company in the world, with many of the world’s top fighters on its roster. The group rose to prominence after the first UFC championship, when legendary fighter Royce Gracie defeated three other fighters in just five minutes. From there, interest in the sport grew exponentially, as well as concerns about the general lack of regulations within the sport. In 2000, the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts were created, which are used throughout the United States.

There are several other MMA organizations, aside from UFC. The most well-known is perhaps Strikeforce, which got its start as a kickboxing organization. Strikeforce began hosting MMA events and is notable for holding the record for the highest attended MMA fight in history, a record that stood for five years. A powerful counterpart to UFC, Strikeforce was purchased by the owners of UFC in 2011. Although some have concerns that the owners will merge the two, they have said that UFC and Strikeforce will be separate at least through 2012.

What You Need To Know About Weight Cutting


From the time of a weigh-in to the moment the fight begins, you will often see many fighters go through a tremendous physical transformation. Within a 24 to 30-hour period, they can lose and gain as much as 10 pounds or more, which can be a huge advantage during the fight. While weight cutting is a typical part of many fighters’ game plans, it can be dangerous. Thoughtful, careful weight cutting can reduce the impact this process has on a fighter’s body.

The dangers of weight cutting include damage to the organ systems of the body, particularly the kidneys. In addition, severe weight cutting can increase the risk of injury.

“If you cut too much weight, you can tax the organs,” explains Jeff Clark, an MMA coach and manager at The Arena in San Diego, California. “The other main problem is that you can lose too much fluid around the brain. This can cause some trauma and make you more susceptible to knock outs.”

In general, it is smart to start thinking about weight cutting about four to six weeks prior to the fight. Your goal is to get as close to the weight limit as possible, to give yourself more space to bulk up after the weigh-in. This means that a fighter typically should be about 7 to 12 pounds higher than fight weight a week prior to the weigh-in date. The best way to get to this point is with a combination of heavy training and eating a healthy and balanced diet that is low in fat.

When you do reach that crucial 7-day mark, the more extreme side of weight cuts begins. One way many fighters begin is by drinking only distilled water. This throws off your body’s PH balance and allows you to quickly remove water from your system. The night before the weigh-in, cut all water and head to the sauna as this will help you quickly strip off the water weight.

After weigh-in, you will have maybe 30 hours at the most to put weight back on rapidly. The safest way to do this is to eat healthy foods, especially fruit and complex carbohydrates. As far as hydration goes, drink small and steady amounts of water, coconut water and electrolyte drinks such as Pedialyte.

3 Main MMA Fighting Styles: Striking, Jiu Jitsu, and Wrestling

3 Main MMA Styles

The value of being an MMA fighter is the diverse tool box of moves, styles, and ideologies you have at your disposal to dominate and defeat your opponent. When you watch a master fighter at his craft, he will blend different styles together seamlessly into one continuous and powerful movement, making it look effortless and unexpectedly graceful. Yet understanding the three main MMA fighting styles are the building blocks that every fighter needs to grasp completely in order to reach this level of artistry. Read on to learn more about striking, jiu jitsu, and wrestling to elevate your game and continue to reach for mastery of this incredible sport.


When it comes to striking, you really should watch Lyoto Machida versus Rashad Evans at UFC 98 to witness this style at its best. Machida’s precision and combinations reached a level of achievement that appeared so perfect as to be closer to something you would see in a video game, not in real life. Striking combines two goals during a fight: to wear your opponent down and to knock them out.

The good news is that striking is fairly easy to integrate into your current technique because the stance and posture required are the ones that you come out of your corner with: head low, hands up, and feet shoulder width apart. The variety of jabs available to the striker, from the cross to the always dramatic uppercut, give you a wide range of choices to keep your opponent guessing and help you surprise him when he isn’t looking with a carefully placed fake. Striking is a must for all serious MMA fighters, and something we teach heavily in our Mixed Martial Arts San Diego classes.

Jiu Jitsu

Since the first Gracie stepped into the ring and whipped out their unparalleled jiu jitsu technique, this fighting style has been a staple of all successful mixed martial artist’s playbook.

Focusing on grappling and ground fighting, jiu jitsu techniques provide fail-proof ways to dominate and submit your opponent. From a variety of full control mounts to chokeholds, the skilled jiu jitsu fighter has a dangerous skill set at his disposal to claim victory over the largest and most intimidating opponent.


Just about every big name in MMA has a solid wrestling background.


Because the unique combination of throws, takedowns, mounts, pins, and clinches makes it a veritable Cliff’s Notes on how to earn a victory, by skill or by brute force. Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Dan Henderson, Rashad Evans, and Brandon Vera use wrestling as a cornerstone of their ground game, just to name a few. And of course, the man who built his MMA career on his wrestling skills, Matt Hughes, provides great examples of how integral wrestling is to a successful game strategy.

Yet while all of these styles individually have their strengths and benefits to a fighter’s game, overall success and victory only comes from integrating all three together to create a strategy that is multifaceted and technically strong. Truly great mixed martial artists, like Anderson Silva, prove time and time that the only way to ensure a fool-proof victory strategy and a reputation as a feared opponent is to be well rounded in all of these incredible fighting styles. Identify which you need to polish, and then use it to up your game and take it to the next level.

The Arena Team Wins Again

The Arena’s fight team continued it’s winning streak on July 3rd. The Arena entered 3 fighters in the Native Fighting Championships and all 3 fighters dominated, each winning in the 1st round. Joe Duartes fought first and won in 90 seconds, followed by Mike Parker who won in 65 seconds, followed by Mike Burlison who KO’d his opponent in 10 seconds.


The Arena Team has been on a roll. Both Chris Cope and Cris “Cyborg” Santos won by TKO’s in 2nd round of their respective Strikeforce fights on June 26th. And before that, The Arena went 3 for 3 at the Native Fighting Championships on 5/29 with Saul Galindo winning by TKO in the 1st, Cosmoe Cala also winning by TKO in the 1st and Kyle Reid winning by TKO in the 2nd.


Additionally, Stephen Abas, Olympic Silver Medalist and Wrestling coach for The Arena won his MMA debut at Tachi Palace on May 5th. KJ Noons won recently as well, in both Dream on 3/22 as well as in Strikeforce on 6/16. And one of The Arena’s boxing coaches, Rich Power, extended his professional boxing record to 11-0 on March 27th.


The Arena hopes to keep its fighters winning as long as they can, as the gym continues to build its fight team and provide its fighters with outstanding coaching and training. Additionally, well-known MMA Manager Jeff Clark is helping guide the careers of many of The Arena’s team members as he gets fighters signed with numerous fight promotions including the UFC, Strikeforce, M1 Global, Dream and Bellator.

UFC Features San Diego MMA Gym The Arena in Countdown to UFC 107

San Diego MMA Gym, The Arena was featured in the fight media world once again, this time in the UFC Countdown show for UFC 107. The UFC typically films the Countdown show before its highly anticipated MMA fights. The UFC’s traditional preview show for December’s UFC 107 will debut the second week of December 2009.


UFC 107, featuring the Diego Sanchez vs. BJ Penn Lightweight title fight, will take place December 12th, 2009 at the FedEx forum in Memphis, Tennessee. The highly anticipated Sanchez/Penn fight will be the main event, with the card also featuring Frank Mir vs. Cheick Kongo, Jon Fitch vs. Mike Pierce, Kenny Florian vs. Clay Guida and 7 other bouts.


“Countdown to UFC 107” goes behind the scenes as Sanchez and Penn ready for a fight that will determine the UFC lightweight champion of the world. The 60-minute preview show has earned rave reviews as the UFC has continually created better shows with each filming, including high quality production values and close access to the fighters.


Sanchez was interviewed and filmed training at the Arena, under the watchful eye of head coach Saulo Ribeiro, the 6x Jiu Jitsu World Champion. The Arena is the Premier MMA gym in San Diego, and where Ribeiro calls home.


Besides its own MMA program, The Arena houses Ribeiro’s University of Jiu Jitsu, one of the most successful Jiu Jitsu programs in the world. The Arena is also home to other UFC and WEC fighters including Fabricio “Morango” Camoes and Rani Yahya, as well as many up and coming young MMA fighters.


The Arena – The San Diego MMA Gym. Training in Boxing, Jiu Jitsu, MMA, Muay Thai and Wrestling in San Diego

The Arena is THE MMA Gym in San Diego that trains professional fighters as well as students who want to train like fighters. The Arena offers training in Boxing, Jiu Jitsu, MMA, Muay Thai, and Wrestling in its San Diego MMA gym. For more information on The Arena, go to http://www.TheArenaGym.com

San Diego Boxing / MMA Star KJ Noons is Evolution of Combat Athlete

Many people who follow the rapidly exploding sport of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) have noticed how quickly the sport is evolving. The first major MMA promotion in the U.S. was UFC 1 held in Denver November 1993, when Brazilian fighter Royce Gracie came out in his Jiu Jitsu uniform to beat a boxer, wrestler, and kickboxer one after the other, easily winning the 8 man single elimination tournament. From those humble beginnings 16 years ago, today we have numerous fight promotions across the world, including the UFC, WEC, and Strikeforce in the U.S., with thousands of professional athletes striving to make it to the top.


As the sport has evolved, so has the caliber and skill set of the athletes. No longer does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) dominate the sport as it once did. Now, besides BJJ, the true combat athlete needs to be skilled in other disciplines such as Boxing, Muay Thai, and Wrestling. Perfect examples of these well-versed athletes are MMA World Champions BJ Penn, George St. Pierre, and Anderson Silva.


But even rarer than MMA Champions who are skilled in multiple martial arts is the athlete who is able to successfully compete in multiple fighting disciplines at a high professional level. One such athlete trains and fights out of San Diego. His name is Karl James Noons, better known to his family, friends and fans as KJ. Although there has been a lot of news lately about the return to Boxing by well-known MMA fighter Nick Diaz, the upcoming fight will merely be Diaz’s second Boxing match. In comparison, the talented and charismatic Noons has a professional Boxing record of 10-2 with 6 KO’s, a Kickboxing record of 13-1 with 10 KO’s, and a MMA record of 6-1 with 6 KO’s.


This ability to fight on multiple fronts is a testament to KJ’s upbringing, training, athleticism, work ethic, and coaching. The son of Karl Noons Sr., who was a professional kickboxer in Hawaii in the 1970’s, KJ was raised in Hawaii until he was 16. He started martial arts training when he was 5, earning his black belt in Kenpo Karate at the age of 11. When he was 10, KJ started Boxing and by 12, he was Kickboxing. When he was 15, he began training Muay Thai and by 17, won the ISKA Super Middleweight championship. After making it to the semi-finals in the 2004 Olympic boxing trials, KJ turned pro as a boxer and in 2005 won the Pride Fighting Championship’s auditions as best striker.


In 2006, KJ signed a deal with Elite XC that allowed him to participate in both Boxing and MMA. He then fought Nick Diaz in November 2007 for the Elite XC Lightweight MMA Championship. After cutting Diaz so badly in the first round the match had to be stopped with KJ winning by TKO. In June 2008, KJ defended his Elite XC title, beating MMA veteran Yves Edwards in 48 seconds of the first round, once again by TKO. Afterwards, KJ continued his Boxing career, with his thirteenth Boxing match with TKO World Championship Boxing set at Pala Casino in Oceanside CA on August 22. After that fight, KJ has another Boxing match in Fall 2009, to be followed by a MMA fight at the end of the year. With such a demanding schedule in multiple sports, KJ truly embodies the spirit of the combat athlete.


It’s often said that to be the best, you have to train with the best. Nowhere is this truer than in the fighting arts. To further his quest for future championships in both Boxing and MMA, KJ has enlisted well-known trainer and fellow Hawaiian Rob Garcia, who spent the past 8 years as the conditioning coach for Golden Boy Promotions and Oscar De La Hoya until Oscar’s retirement this year. Besides having an extensive competitive Boxing and Jiu-Jitsu background himself, as well as two decades of athletic performance coaching, Garcia spent the past 8 years working closely alongside world-class Boxing coaches Freddie Roach and Floyd Mayweather Sr., learning everything possible along the way from two of the best in the Boxing business.


Armed with his weapons of knowledge and experience, Garcia is determined to bring KJ to the top of both the Boxing and MMA worlds. In this quest, the duo have been training at the best gyms they can find, including Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing in Hollywood as well as The Arena in San Diego, the well-known MMA and Boxing gym that caters to professional and amateur fighters, with one of the best fight teams in Southern California.


With all his skills and the strong support in his corner, KJ Noons is truly able to bridge both Boxing and MMA, becoming a pioneer in the process and setting an example for all the young combat athletes who will follow in his footsteps as Boxing becomes more integrated with MMA and vice-versa. Without a doubt, we will see much more of this versatile athlete in the future as he continues to blaze a trail across the fighting world.


About The Arena – The San Diego Boxing and MMA Gym

The Arena is a MMA and Boxing gym in San Diego that trains professional fighters as well as recreational athletes who want to train like fighters. The Arena offers training in Boxing, MMA, Muay Thai, No Gi Jiu Jitsu and Wrestling in its San Diego MMA gym. For more info on The Arena, go to https://www.thearenagym.com. For more info on KJ Noons, go to http://www.KJNoons.com.

About The Arena

The Arena is the largest gym in North America for Combat Sports and Martial Arts instruction.

Our Address

3350 Sports Arena Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92110 USA

Free Trial (A) Footer