Monday, 24 September 2018
WMMAF History

WMMAF History

Present WMMAF started its activities back in 2003 with the name of WORLD KICK-JITSU FEDERATION and only recently we decided to change our name into WORLD MIXED MARTIAL ARTS FEDERATION.

The reason is quite simple: Kick-Jitsu is the acronym of Kickboxing and Ju Jitsu. Just the fact that two notorious Martial Arts and fighting sports tried to live together, created immediately a "mixed martial art". Kickboxing is a "mixed martial art" by itself, to say the truth.  But then we had the idea  not only to deal with different important styles of mixed martial arts (free fight, ufc, submission, grappling), but also with different  Martial Arts and fighting methods  like Muay Thai, French K1 (a real French version  of K1 we are used to watch on TVs). We are an open and a very professional organization of experts in the different fields of competence who are at the service of our community. Our goal is to promote excellent shows all over the world  in different Martial Arts  in which  we will grant excellent fighters and performers.

WKJF before and now WMMAF, acted mostly in Europe. Mr. Patrizio Rizzoli from Livorno is the current European WMMAF president and is working very  closely with our WMMAF headquarters placed in Kiev (Ukraine). He is  the coordinator of a Shoot Boxe section in a national federation in Italy.

WMMAF is moving quickly and  we had recently our first World Championships which were held in Yalta (Ukraine) and where a General Assembly took place (please, go to News for more detailed information) . A new Board was voted and new members have joined us (please see our structure).

Our 2012 World Championships will be held in Tallinn (Estonia) about the end of May. But all  information  about our next World Championships will  soon be published in this same site.

Our General Secretary, Evgenia Borshevkaya, will be at your disposal for anything you may need. Just contact us.

Sport regards to everybody.

Andrei Chistov

UFC History

Helio Gracie was a Brazilian Ju Jitsu master who had nine children. One day, he decided to migrate to the United States, to Los Angeles, California, because he thought that country offered him the most opportunity. This was toward the end of the 1980s.

As everyone knows, America has always been a  real “melting pot”, a cauldron of diverse races and cultures, much like the different Martial Arts which, in one way or another, were and are obliged to live together. It was no accident that it was in this country that we saw the birth of “full contact karate”, which later became known as Kickboxing.

Indeed, the facts regarding the martial arts show a situation in America that is totally different from Europe.

While in Europe, starting from the 1960s, every martial art (called karate, taekwondo, kung fu or judo) has had its own national and international circuit, in the USA we have seen the birth of a type of “inter-style” which in the 1970s led to the creation of “full contact karate”, the first real form of Mixed Martial Arts. This was both due to their completely different organization of sports, and to a different mentality that has developed thanks to the presence of such diverse races and cultures. In truth, full contact karate had no cultural/philosophical traditions behind it, unlike all Asian-born martial arts. It was a synthesis of several combat arts, including boxing, karate, taekwondo, kung fu and ju jitsu. In fact, in early full contact matches, even judo-style hip throws (Hane Goshi) were allowed. However, when this new way of interpreting karate arrived in Europe the public clearly expressed its disapproval when fighters used throw techniques on their opponents, and for this reason those techniques were soon eliminated.

Meanwhile, back in the USA, Helio Gracie wanted to show that his art, Brazilian ju jitsu as it was called, was better than any other form of combat. Thus, Rorion Gracie (one of the Helio sons) organized, for the first time in the history of martial arts, the first encounters between 8 experts from the different martial arts, held at the Marriott Hotel in Denver, November 12, 1993. The matches were held without weight categories, without time limits and practically “everything goes”, thus the term ‘Vale Tudo’. The first prize for the winner was $50,000.

The participants included a sumo wrestler, an ex-professional boxer, a free-style wrestler and a karateka, all champions representing the various martial arts. As I said before, Helio Gracie had 9 sons, but to represent the ‘family’ he chose the youngest, Royce, who was 6’1” tall (187 cm) and weighed 176 pounds (80 kg), a very flexible and resistant fighter.

The event, held in an eight-sided ring called the Octagon, was referred to as the Ultimate Fighting Championship which would become UFC, the trademark of the Gracie family.

Needless to say, Royce Gracie beat all his opponents in short order (among them Ken Shamrock who would achieve a draw against Royce a few years later) and he became a legend over the next seven years. The first event marked the official birth of the MMA, the Mixed Martial Arts.

Once established as one of the most formidable combat schools in the world, the Gracie family‘s intention was to continue organizing that type of show all over the United States and to attract the interest of television in order to earn a lot of money.

Unfortunately, “nemo profeta in patria” (none of them were prophets) because their expectations were largely unrealized. Many American states were opposed to the organization of that type of show. They argued against putting people in a cage ‘like animals’ and said the events were too brutal and violent. Therefore, the life of the Gracies was no longer so easy, to the point where they decided to sell their brand, the UFC, but to whom?

Two Italian-Americans from Las Vegas, Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, whose father owned a Las Vegas casino, were forward-looking enough to see big profits. They bought the UFC brand (it was close to bankruptcy at the time) from the Gracie family for two million dollars. They were urged to do so by a certain Dana White, the owner of a gym in Las Vegas. The three became close friends as well as partners. Today, the brothers hold 40.9% of the company called Zuffa, which runs the UFC, while Dana White owns 9%. Recently they sold ten percent of the company to the Sheik of Abu Dhabi for the astronomical price of 250 million dollars.

After ten years of activity (2001-2011), the value of Zuffa was set at one billion dollars by Forbes Magazine!! How did they do it? Well, I checked it out and discovered that during the first two years they lost 40 million dollars. Why? Basically it was the same things that troubled the Gracies, the many prejudices encountered. But they did implement some fundamental changes: they created weight categories, established match time limits (3 rounds of 5 minutes each), made the matches safer with more qualified referees trained to interrupt a match whenever one of the combatants was in serious difficulty, attracted well-known personalities to attend their shows and started building a different image with respect to their recent past.

But they owe their greatest success to television, and Pay per View in particular. Just think, they refused a contract offer of 100 million dollars a year from HBO, one of the most successful US cable networks. The Fertitta brothers and Dana White also personally run the TV sector of their business which earns not less than 20 million dollars per show (in the US it costs $49.99 to see a UFC show at home), while live gate receipts range from 4 to 7 million dollars.

Today, every UFC show draws from 20 to 50 thousand spectators, as they had recently in Vancouver, aided by the fact that at the moment one of the UFC stars is Canada’s Georges St. Pierre.

Incredible, but true. And thanks to television there’s reason to believe that MMA will soon enter our living rooms, just like wrestling already has, with the great difference that it is a real sport in every sense, unlike a farce such as wrestling. As I have said on several occasions, I believe we must prepare for this oncoming tsunami from the United States. I think we risk being overwhelmed by many other forms of combat sports shows.

This is one of the reasons why our Federation, given its history at the vanguard of combat sports in Italy, has officially inserted this year the MMA into its activity. It is also the reason why I gladly met Lorenzo Fertitta today in Milan together with Emilio Appiana, the well-known MA publisher.

Ennio Falsoni