In Ancient Greece, there was a sport called pankration, which featured a combination of grappling and striking skills similar to those found in modern MMA. Pankration became one of the most popular events of the ancient Olympics, and from its origins in Greece, pankration was later passed on to the Romans. In Ancient China, combat sport appeared in the form of Leitai, and there is evidence of similar mixed combat sports in Ancient Egypt, India, Japan… As martial arts spread, so did the idea of mixed-style competitions. Often a practitioner of one martial art chalenged a practitioner of a different one for ultimate bragging rights. Another early example of mixed martial arts was Bartitsu, which Barton-Wright founded in London in 1899.
MMA first came to the attention of many in North America after Royce Gracie represented the family and Brazilian jiu jitsu in a 1993 tournament in Denver, Colorado, that came to be called UFC 1. The name referred to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), an organization that became the leading promoter of MMA events. The first documented use of the name mixed martial arts was in a review of UFC 1 by television critic Howard Rosenberg. The first use of the term by a promotion was in 1995 by Rick Blume, just after UFC 7. UFC official Jeff Blatnick was responsible for the UFC officially adopting the name mixed martial arts. Beginning in 2013, women also appeared on the Ultimate Fighter both as coaches and as competitors.