T.P. Grant's MMA Origins

MMA Origins is a historical series focused on the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. This series explores the sport's roots in both western and eastern martial arts, its development in several distinct forms across the globe, and the evolution of fighters and promotions as the sport continued to grow.

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29 Total Updates since October 28, 2012
  • Important 26
  • Articles 29
  • All Updates 29

MMA Origins: Extreme Fighting Blazes Trail

Many of the basic rules that form the bedrock of the sport of MMA were pioneered by a short lived promoted in the mid-90's. Despite only holding four events Extreme Fighting had a huge impact on how the sport of MMA developed.

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MMA Origins: World Combat Championships

While MMA Origins has focused heavily on the growth of the UFC, there were other American promotions that held "No Holds Barred" events. T.P. Grant takes a look at the World Combat Championships, a short lived experiment with MMA rules.

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MMA Origins: Frank Shamrock Changes the Game

With UFC 167 right around the corner, Georges St. Pierre's excellent skills will once again be tested. The UFC Welterweight Champion's three-dimensional skill set is often spoken of, and for many people, it is the culmination of a trend set down by Frank Shamrock in the late 1990s. So let's look back at the amazing UFC run of Frank Shamrock and how he influenced every fighter and champion to follow him.

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MMA Origins: Revenge of the Striker

In the mid-1990's the prevalent wisdom in MMA was that grapplers ruled the world, bigger was better, and only the toughest survived. But kickboxer Maurice Smith, together with Frank Shamrock, would challenge the way fighters and fans thought about the sport of MMA.

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MMA Origins: UFC Searches for New Stars

The UFC was not yet five years old and already it was fighting for its life. Taken off PPV and struggling to find locations hold live events, the leadership of SEG looked for new stars in a fresh generation of fighters.

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MMA Origins: U.S. Military Hand-to-Hand Programs

MMA Origins takes an aside from looking at the history of the sport of mixed martial arts to look at the integration of martial arts in the U.S. military.

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MMA Origins: Fighting For Pride

MMA Origins returns to Japan and looks at the mid-90s turmoil that resulted in the birth of one of the most beloved promotions in the history of MMA.

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MMA Origins: Russian Revolution

On this day 96 years ago, massive food shortages forced the populace of Russia to revolt against their monarch. The "February Revolution" would cause shock waves around the world, that are still being felt to this day. There is almost nothing in the modern world that hasn't been affected in some way by this tumultuous moment in history and MMA is no exception. So to mark the anniversary, T.P. Grant examines how this revolution has impacted the growth of Mixed Martial Arts.

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MMA Origins: Shooto's Forgotten Champion

Arguably the oldest Mixed Martial Arts promotion, the Japanese wrestling circuit Shooto was also the home of one of the sport's first truly well rounded fighters. Erik Paulson would become Shooto's first American champion and one of MMA's forgotten greats.

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MMA Origins: The UFC's Fight for Survival

While the UFC experienced success after success in the 1990's, storm clouds had gathered as enemies of the sport sought to shut it down. It would fall mainly to a referee and a commentator to take a stand and help adjust to sport so it could survive to maturity.

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MMA Origins: Buckeye Beatdown

In the mid-90's well rounded fighters started to win titles both in the UFC and in Japan, but Ohio State wrestler Mark Coleman reminded everyone how dangerous a specialist could be in this young sport.

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MMA Origins: Bas Rutten Reigns in Pancrase

In this installment of MMA Origins, T.P. Grant looks at the evolution of fighters in the mid-90's and the first fighters to find success by using a variety of skill sets, focusing on Bas Rutten's title run in the Japanese Pancrase promotion.

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MMA Origins: Muay Thai Emerges

The UFC has been growing by leaps and bounds in Brazil. UFC 147, while not well received in the US, was a card that featured almost nothing Brazilian fighters and the atmosphere was in the arena was certainly exciting. It seems only fitting to use that backdrop to look back at the development of Brazilian Vale Tudo in the 1990's when more well-rounded fighters began to emerge in MMA, laying the foundation to fighters like Wanderlei Silva to break out and smash people in new and exciting ways.

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MMA Origins: The World's Most Dangerous Man

Ken Shamrock "The World's Most Dangerous Man" was once considered the best fighter in the world. After an impressive run in Pancarase, Shamrock returned to the UFC seeking revenge for his loss to Royce Gracie.

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MMA Origins: The First King of Pancrase

The last few articles have focused on the early years of the UFC, and the Gracie influence and dominance during that time. In this article, we will follow Ken Shamrock back to Japan after his UFC 1 loss to Royce Gracie and look at his successful return to the Pancrase promotion and how his fighting style had changed thanks to his encounter with Royce.

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MMA Origins: The Gracie Era in the UFC

The creation of the Ultimate Fighting Championship in November of 1993 marked the true start to American interest in mixed martial arts, known as No Holds Barred fighting at the time. It had been created by Rorion Gracie with the goal of spreading awareness of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to the American public and Royce Gracie had been selected to represent the Gracies because of his unassuming nature and appearance.

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MMA Origins: UFC 1

In a ploy to create more awareness of Jiu Jitsu, Rorion Gracie creates the Ultimate Fighting Championship, intending it to be a simple infomercial on the effectiveness of ground fighting. Inadvertently he and his fellow promoters spark an American interest in Mixed Martial Arts that is still growing to this day.

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MMA Origins: The Gracie Challenge

In Japan and Brazil, the earliest forms of Mixed Martial Arts were developing. In Brazil the Japanese art of Judo was transformed in the fire of a fighting sport known as Vale Tudo or "No Holds Barred Fighting". While in Japan the influence of European catch wrestling was transforming professional wrestling into an actual fight sport.

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MMA Origins: Brazilian Warfare

In this chapter of MMA Origins, we will return to Brazil. By the 1960s, the rivalry between Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the catch wrestling inspired Luta Livre had escalated beyond a simple sporting rivalry. Clashes between the two arts began to resemble a gang war as confrontations occurred inside and out of the Vale Tudo ring.

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MMA Origins: Birth of Japanese MMA

With the lead up to UFC 144 in Japan, it seems only natural to look at the spark that lead to the MMA explosion on the Japanese isles.

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MMA Origins: American Experiments

A short aside from the developing lines of Mixed Martial Arts evolving out of the lines of Japanese Judo and the European Catch Wrestling. The United States of the early 1900s was a young nation coming of age, and it had a love for all things sport. At the time the term of "the big three sports" would have referred to baseball, horse racing and boxing.

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MMA Origins: Catch Wrestling Travels to Japan

My recent articles have covered the migration of Judo to Brazil, its transformation to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and its evolution in the face of challenges in Vale Tudo. But we are going to return to Europe to the discipline of catch wrestling, the grappling system that developed in the middle ages.

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MMA Origins: Carlson Gracie Changes Vale Tudo

Entering into the mid-1900s, the Brazilian fighting spectacle known as Vale Tudo was gaining popularity and the first family of Vale Tudo was the Gracie family. Lead by the famous brothers Carlos and Helio Gracie, who won the family fame by taking matches with Judokas and catch wrestlers. While the Gracies didn't always win these matches, they always left an impression.

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MMA Origins: Vale Tudo and MMA's Original Rivalry

The last article tracked the parallel growth of Jujitsu in Japan and Catch Wrestling in Europe as inventions of necessity when faced with armored opponents. This article will focus on the emergence of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and it's entry into the fighting sport of Vale Tudo in Brazil.

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MMA Origins: Getting Medieval

Last time we discussed the first recorded combat sport, Pankration. While this art was important to note, it does not have an established connection to the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. The origins of modern MMA can be traced back to two primary sources, martial arts that developed around the same general time on two different sides of the globe during the Middle Ages.

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MMA Origins: Exploring Fight Sport's Ancient Roots

The sport of Mixed Martial Arts has exploded in the previous twenty years and has attracted countless new fans. And as the sport evolves it is very easy to lose sight of even the recent past of the sport much less its far reaching roots. So this series will bring will recount the history of Mixed Martial Arts, from the earliest forerunners to the modern sport of MMA focusing on pivotal fighters, styles, fights, rivalries and events.

To start off we are going to travel back to Ancient times to give the modern sport proper context. We start with the Ancient Greeks and the sport of Pankration, also called Pancratium.

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