The sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) is barely 20-years-old, but has roots much deeper than that. A combination of boxing, Greco-Roman wrestling, muay thai, and jiu jitsu (plus some judo, karate, and kickboxing thrown in for good measure), MMA is a sport that has evolved quickly over the past two decades and seemingly exploded into pop culture. The UFC was sold in 2016 for a staggering $4.2 billion and names like Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor have become household names to even the most casual sports fan.
However, the sport does have a dark history. In the early days of the company, state governments rushed to ban MMA from their jurisdictions. Then-Arizona senator (and future presidential hopeful) John McCain famously called the sport nothing more than “human cockfighting” in 1996 and campaigned to have the sport banned from arenas and cable/satellite providers, and almost succeeded. For anyone who doesn’t regularly follow MMA, there are still a lot of misconceptions about the sport. So whether you are just brushing up on your MMA knowledge or trying to convince a skeptical friend, here are ten of the most popular myths about MMA — and like most myths, they are all completely wrong.
MMA is Banned
Let’s start with what we previously mentioned. Some people still seem to think that MMA is a banned sport in the majority of places, and is only allowed to have events in cities/states in morally corrupt places like Las Vegas. While it’s true that Senator McCain did succeed in getting the sport banned in a number of states in the 90s, the sport is now legal in all 50 states (with New York being the final hold out), as well as numerous international counties like Canada, Japan, Brazil, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
The UFC have actually spent millions of dollars trying to work with local and federal governments on things like MMA education, regulation, drug testing, and a set of universal rules. Those efforts have caused almost every lawmaker to realize that MMA has long been a legitimate sport.