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Mixed Martial Arts is a term that describes a sport in which the goal is to put the best fighters, of any style, against each other, with the goal of drawing in fans of each of the styles represented. The rivalry that develops is fun, and probably good for business. I suspect it started with a group of people wanting to know which style of martial art is best, however, the fighters adapted to the challenge, like any sensible human being would, and began to expose themselves to multiple styles, to prepare themselves for a broader range of opponents. Most, if not all, have a specialty, usually the art they started in, and have studied the longest, but as anyone who's seen a MMA match can attest to, failing to have some real skill in ground fighting/Wrestling, is a foolish error made by people who average a single fight before retirement. The reason SOME ground fighting is important is because the fights occur in an enclosed ring, where evasion can be limited by space. In addition, because you will likely go against a "wrestler" at some point, and they wouldn't be any good if they didn't try to rush you, get you to the ground (where they are most comfortable), and bend you in half, you need to be prepared for that eventuality, because it doesn't matter who can execute the most dexterous maneuvers, it matters who is conscious at the end. This was a really long way of saying Mixed Martial Arts is a catch-all phrase that refers to the sport itself, and the study of multiple styles that it inspires. Because no two fighters will study the exact same styles, or learn from the same teachers, you can't really refer to MMA as an art in itself, because it has no unique principals, techniques, or philosophies, save one; be prepared, don't get beat. I should point out that most of the people engaged in the sport would tell you that the time to begin studying other arts, besides your primary one, should NEVER be before you attain something approximating an expert rank (black belt), because by then, at least, the principles of your primary art are inviolable, whereas, if you started doing so early in your study, your mind, and body, would intermingle all of what you were learning, only making you suck at all of them.

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Q: Why is mixed martial arts a martial art?
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