Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is nothing new. The only thing new about MMA is the money and media exposure that the sport has recently enjoyed. Before the introduction of modern weaponry into warfare every successful culture whether Eastern or Western had its own form of martial arts or it could not survive. Most civilizations developed combat sports as well. Martial sports were developed for entertainment during peacetime and to keep warriors fit and ready for wartime.
The only reason why martial arts are associated with Asia is that Asian countries tended to preserve their fighting forms more than the Western countries where the martial arts were not passed on from generation to generation as successfully. When warfare went toward firearms and away from hand to hand combat the Western cultures tended to embrace those weapons instead of the martial arts.
Although most cultures have had MMA in some form or another I’m going to explore the history of the fighting arts of Egypt, Greece, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, Brazil and the United States.
The Great Pyramids have engraved hieroglyphic inscriptions of Egyptians fighting and practicing martial arts that date back to 3,000 B.C. Mural paintings in the tombs along with the Nile show the same. There are reports of empty hand fighting techniques that were trained by the soldiers of Mesopotamia and Sumer (3,000 B.C. to 2,300 B.C.)