MMA originated in Brazil as a full-contact, anything-goes sport, allowing contestants to blend different forms of martial arts, fighting both while standing and while on the ground. Because of the mix in the styles of martial arts, fighters become more balanced and well-rounded.
Amateur MMA fights take place in a ring or cage. There are 10 weight divisions including flyweight (125 pounds and below), lightweight (146 to 155 pounds), middleweight (171 to 185 pounds) and heavyweight (231 to 265 pounds). Each fighter is required to wear gloves, a mouthpiece, pre-approved shin guards, and MMA-approved shorts. Ladies can wear chest protectors.
Amateur fights usually last three 3-minute rounds with a one-minute resting period between rounds. Fights are judged by a panel of three on the basis of MMA techniques, including striking, grappling, aggressiveness, defense, and maintaining control.