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During the Greco-Roman era there existed an ancient Olympic combat sport, known as Pankration which featured a combination of grappling and striking skills, similar to modern Mixed Martial Arts. This sport originated in Ancient Greece and was later passed on to the Romans.[6] No-holds-barred fighting reportedly took place in the late 1880s when wrestlers representing a huge range of fighting styles, including various catch wrestling styles, Greco-Roman wrestling and many others met in tournaments and music-hall challenge matches throughout Europe. In the USA the first major encounter between a boxer and a wrestler in modern times took place in 1887 when John L. Sullivan, then heavyweight world boxing champion, entered the ring with his trainer, Greco-Roman wrestling champion William Muldoon, and was slammed to the mat in two minutes. The next publicized encounter occurred in the late 1890s when future heavyweight boxing champion Bob Fitzsimmons took on European Greco-Roman wrestling champion Ernest Roeber. Another early example of mixed martial arts was Bartitsu, which Edward William Barton-Wright founded in London in 1899. Combining judo, jujutsu, boxing, savate and canne de combat (French stick fighting), Bartitsu was the first martial art known to have combined Asian and European fighting styles,[7] and which saw MMA-style contests throughout England, pitting European and Japanese champions against representatives of various European wrestling styles.[7] The history of modern MMA competition can be traced to mixed style contests throughout Europe, Japan, and the Pacific Rim during the early 1900s;[8] In Japan these contests were known as merikan, from the Japanese slang for "American [fighting]". Merikan contests were fought under a variety of rules including points decision, best of three throws or knockdowns, and victory via knockout or submission.[9] As the popularity of professional wrestling waned after World War I it split into two genres: "shoot", in...
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