The founders of the UFC, especially Rorion Gracie, have a set of belief that MMA must be done with little rules so it shows its true nature. Thus, groin strikes, headbutts, and hair-pulling are permitted. However, when Senator John McCain discovered the show, one of which he labeled a “human cockfight,” he worked hard and succeeded in banning it from paying per view and it was approved in many states. The MMA blackout made the UFC almost gone forever. Furthermore, it allowed the PRIDE Fighting Championships Japan, a now-defunct organization, to rise and become popular. Meanwhile, before we continue, you can view here if you want to know more about some of the best MMA fighters.
Since the blackout, the MMA and UFC have implemented rules designed to aid its appeal in the United States. The days where brutal tactics that aim for vulnerable body parts have gone. Along with this, Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta bought the failed UFC in 2001. They formed Zuffa as the holding company of the organization and appointed Dana White as president. Frank's relationship with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, of which he was a member, helped him get the UFC sanctioned in Nevada once again (along with rule changes). With that and the return of pay-per-view, the sport is starting to make a resurgence.
In 2005, the organization aired the television show Ultimate Fighter Reality (TUF) for the first time on Spike Television. Competitors on the show (coming and coming fighters) are trained in a house along with Randy Couture or Chuck Liddell as coaches. Then they battle it out in a single-elimination style tournament, with the winner set to receive a UFC six-figure contract. The light heavyweight fight between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar during the end of this event is widely regarded as one of the greatest MMA fights in history.
What's more, the performances and passion that Bonnar and Griffin fought for, are often given great credit for increasing the popularity of MMA.
MMA Today and Women's MMA Competition
While the UFC is still by far the gold standard organization when it comes to the sport of MMA, there are plenty of other organizations out there. Some of the more popular ones are Suffering, Strikeforce, and WEC. MMA is also seen on television regularly and enjoys excellent pay-per-view purchases, especially through the UFC.
Interestingly, the now-defunct EliteXC organization made history when their show EliteXC: Primetime became the first MMA show to air on a major American television network. The organization is also doing much to help the growing interest in women's MMA, broadcasting women's MMA matches on CBS and Showtime. One of the highlights is the most popular organization, Gina Carano.