The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), has become one of the fastest-growing sports around the world of late and has captured the attention of a plethora of fight-crazed fanatics—many considering the sport to have surpassed boxing.
But what is it and how has it increased in popularity so much over the past century? Here’s our guide on what you need to know about the UFC.
What is the UFC?
The UFC is a mixed martial arts promotion company in charge of organising and executing fight cards.
How did the UFC start?
The UFC was founded in 1993 by co-founders Art Davie, Bob Meyrowitz, Campbell McLaren, David Isaacs, John Milius and Rorion Gracie.
Art Davie was a New York businessman, and the man who spearheaded the operation eventually uniting the other partners. Davie successfully secured 28 investors to start a new company named WOW Promotions.
WOW Promotions partnered with Semaphore Entertainment Group (SEG) to televise the first tournament. It would be later named The Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The iconic octagon-shaped cage was swiftly designed by film and art director Jason Cusson, which was used for the inaugural tournament and has remained a staple to the promotion.
UFC 1 was held on 12 November 1993. The tournament had a very simplistic set of rules: no biting, eye gouging and no groin shots. It also featured no weight class.
The UFC’s momentum started to build and the promotion’s first state-sanctioned event took place under unified MMA rules (UFC 28), which took place on 17 November 2000.
After a successful eight years under the bright lights of the octagon, the UFC was purchased by brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta in January 2001. Zuffa was born and the two brothers quickly installed business and now president Dana White—a boxing and MMA veteran who is largely responsible for the sport’s meteoric rise.
The UFC went from strength to strength and Zuffa was purchased by William Morris Endeavor for the modest price of $4.025bn in October 2016.
How does UFC work?
The UFC typically holds a major event every month with UFC Fight Night being held every two weeks. These events are numbered in ascending order. UFC 261 took place on April 25 2021.
Each event typically holds 12 fights on a card. There are usually three early-preliminary fights, four preliminary fights and then five fights on the main card. Almost every main card is held for a UFC title.
Fighters in the UFC face competitors in their same weight class, also known as divisions. The UFC is comprised of 12 divisions—eight men’s and four women’s. The men’s division contains (Heavyweight – 265lb, Light heavyweight – 205lb, Middleweight – 185lb, Welterweight – 170lb, Lightweight – 155lb, Featherweight – 145lb, Bantamweight – 135lb, Flyweight – 125lb).
The women’s weight classes are as followed Featherweight – 145lb, Bantamweight – 135lb, Flyweight – 125lb, Strawweight – 115lb. Each division houses 15 fighters, and, at the top, a champion who retains the UFC title until another dethrones them.
How is a UFC fight decided (How can one win or lose)?
A UFC fight is comprised of three five-minute rounds, while a championship fight is stretched to five rounds. There is a variant of 10 ways a UFC fight can be concluded.
- Decision – When the timer runs out and the fights go down to the judges’ scorecards.
- Knockout – A fighter is unable to continue due to a knockout.
- Technical knockout – The referee stops the bout because a fighter is no longer able to defend themselves from attacks or is taking excessive damage.
- Submission – A fighter admits defeat by tapping on the opponent’s body or mat, or verbally voicing they cannot continue.
- Technical submission – The referee stops the bout because a fighter is in danger of injury from submission.
- Doctor stoppage – The doctor calls the bout when assessing a fighter’s capability of continuing.
- Retirement – A fighter decides they can no longer continue.
- Disqualification – If a fighter is warned and continues to break the rules, or uses illegal fighting techniques they will be disqualified.
- No contest – If a fighter can no longer continue due to an accidental illegal strike, the bout will be ruled a no contest.
- Technical decision – If a fighter cannot continue due to an accidental illegal strike in the third round of a three-round fight or the fourth or fifth round of a five-round fight, the decision goes to which fighter is ahead on the judges’ scorecard at that time.
How do you score the UFC?
Every UFC contest consists of three judges using a simplistic 10-point system. Both fighters receive a score at the end of each round. The winner of the round must score 10 points while the loser scores 9.
On some occasions, the judges may score the round as a draw where both fighters receive 10 points, but this is a rarity. If a fighter is to be seen to have been thoroughly dominated through one round, said fighter may only receive 8 points.
Four criteria are used by the judges to decide who wins the round. These include:
- Effective striking – How many legal blows a fighter can land on their opponent. Strikes that contribute to the end of the match such as power shots and knockdowns are worth more than those that deal cumulative damage.
- Effective grappling – How successfully a fighter utilised his wrestling and grappling to attack, including those all-important take downs.
- Effective aggressiveness – How aggressively a fighter attempts to end a fight.
- Fighting area control – How successfully a fighter dictates the pace of the match and their supremacy in the octagon.
How to bet on the UFC fixed odds?
The easiest way to bet on the UFC fights online is to make a UFC fixed odd bet. It’s as simple as putting your money on which fighter you decide will come out victorious.
How to bet on UFC spread betting?
UFC spread betting is an exciting alternative to traditional UFC fixed odds betting. It’s the main card on fight night in the eight walls of death, and you think your plucky underdog has a chance, so you have a look at the spread betting markets.
If you think the outcome will be higher than the price, then you would buy on the spread. If you think the outcome will be lower than the price, then you would sell on the spread. The more correct you are the more you can win, but the opposite is the case if you get it wrong, as you may lose more than your initial stake.
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