Did LA reporter coin the term Mixed Martial Arts?

by Kirik Jenness | source: The Underground

"At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point."
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 100 Years of Solitude

Mixed Martial Arts is the world's fastest growing sport, but there was a time it was so young, that it didn't have a name. People called in Cagefighting or Ultimate FIghting, or No Holds Barred, or Extreme Fighting, or NHB, or Submission Fighting. I grabbed MixedMartialArts.com and SubmissionFighting.com because no one else did, and we didn't even use MixedMartialArts.com, for years.

There has long been debate on who coined the term.

There are accounts that the term Mixed Martial Arts was used in Japanese Puroresu in the 70s, but there is no hard evidence to support that.

Wikipedia says name mixed martial arts was coined by Rick Blume, president and CEO of Battlecade, in September 18, 1995.

In the biography 'Let's Get it On' Loretta Hunt names John McCarthy as the source, with former Olympic Gold Medalist and UFC Commentator Jeff Blatnick  as the co-creator. “John actually named the sport ‘Mixed Martial Arts,’ ” wrote Hunt.  “It was called ‘No Holds Barred’ or ‘Ultimate Fighting’ back in the early days.  Himself and Jeff Blatnick – a former commentator for the UFC – came up with the ‘Mixed Martial Arts’ name, but it was John’s phrase.  And Jeff Blatnick is the one who pushed it on the pay-per-views until people really started picking it up.”

Now UGer dudefromisrael may have found the first printed use of the word, in a piece by Pulitzer winning LA times reporter Howard Rosenberg, written on November 15, 1993.

"St. Louis cruiserweight boxer Art Jimmerson didn't get to throw even one punch before giving up," wrote Rosenberg. "He was swiftly taken down and dispatched with a chokehold by jujitsu master Royce Gracie, whose family is synonymous with the sport in their native Brazil, where mixed-martial arts championships like this one are commonplace."

The search for who names the world's fastest growing sport is still not over. If you know anything, let us know!

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tags: UFC   Jeff Blatnick   John McCarthy   

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Recent Comments »

dudefromisrael site profile image  

4/3/12 3:30 AM by dudefromisrael

A man who does not read has no advantage over a man who can't read.

MPA site profile image  

4/2/12 8:40 PM by MPA

So let me get this right. This entire article is dedicated to lame name of a sport that was most likely used throughout history? I am sure at some point history someone thought of the idea of training people in all different arts and putting them in a ring or something to see how it works out.

Mmanizzle site profile image  

4/2/12 4:02 PM by Mmanizzle

http://youtu.be/qxoJ-O1B2D0Uncle Bruce adopted and introduced the philosophy of Jeet Kun Do, which meant use anything that works, but he didn't coin the term (MMA).   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxoJ-O1B2D0  In this fight scene he goes from striking to wrestling to judo throws, then grappling to eventually a tap out.  If I'm not mistaken, he worked with Gene Lebell during this movie...  Legend!    

M0NARCH site profile image  

4/2/12 3:50 PM by M0NARCH


Kirik site profile image  

4/2/12 3:03 PM by Kirik

I would not say what your wrote was garbage, but it is factually incorrect. Or, if you prefer, your post is bogus. Bruce Lee never used the term 'Mixed Martial Arts' Thus far the first use of the term for which there is a record is the article cited above.

un3rgr0und site profile image  

4/2/12 2:33 PM by un3rgr0und

This is garbage, hell Bruce Lee was saying Mixed Martial Arts a long time ago..and before him? who knowsthis is bogus story, the usual for the UG

dudefromisrael site profile image  

4/2/12 9:49 AM by dudefromisrael

Thanks for the input thunderliger7134.Was plain thunderliger already taken?

cluster site profile image  

4/2/12 9:10 AM by cluster

There was an article in a local Chicago newspaper from the later 80s I believe that called Ron Balicki the "Martial Arts Mix Master." I'll have to track it down (it's on the wall of my school) I'll give it a thorough read and see if MMA is actually used as a term in there (as well as check the date).

thunderliger7134 site profile image  

4/2/12 8:13 AM by thunderliger7134

He may have used the term in his article; it's a term that does accurately describe what UFC 1 was. I can well see someone independently coming up with and using the term. He didn't name the sport though. As far as I am aware, Mixed Martial Arts, as far as the name of the sport goes, is a term that Jeff Blatnick co-opted from Japanese pro wrestling when he was UFC Commissioner and they were looking for a more palatable name than “No Holds Barred Fighting”, “Extreme Fighting” and all the other terms that were doing the rounds in the 90's.

junon site profile image  

4/2/12 7:12 AM by junon

Mat Rat.