Mixed martial arts is a sport that was born from a style versus style type challenges commonly refered to as Vale Tudo. Vale Tudo is a circus type event that grew in popularity from its inception in the 1920s.
Vale Tudo is an unarmed, full-contact combat sport with few rules that originated in Brazil during the 20th century.
Initially an informal ruleset for combatants from different martial arts to compete against each other, it eventually evolved into a standalone style mixing striking and grappling.
The Gracie family was known for organizing Vale Tudo bouts, including their famous “Gracie Challenge”, to prove the effectiveness of their Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. The term “Vale Tudo” was popularized in the 1950s and 1960s through a Rio television show called Heróis do Ringue, which featured style-versus-style bouts between legitimate practitioners of different martial arts.
Gracie family would go on to create the UFC in order to market Brazilian Jiu JItsu – and lay the foundation for the sport we call mixed martial arts today.
Style vs style type events were more common in the decades prior. One such event took place in the gym of former UFC Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
Cruz was confronted by a ninjitsu challenger. The person lasted longer than other challengers but had no ground experience and was eventually defeated by Dominick Cruz, a future world champion in Strikeforce and UFC bantamweight division.
Joe Rogan recently discussed the infamous incident on his UFC 284 companion podcast and went on to talk a bit about the culture of challenges.
“Some dude came to the gym, wanted to challenge (Dom Cruz), he head kicked him. He beat the s**t out of that dude.”
“The dude was good, the guy didn’t suck. Dominick got him. They had a war. And the gym filmed it. Guy’s trying to tap and he just beat the s**t out of him.”
Since 2014, Benny A. King has been fully immersed in the world of combat sports. Starting with a blog about Greco Roman wrestling, Benny’s passion for combat sports has led him to explore various disciplines.