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Ultimate Fighting Championship gaining popularity

By Samuel Cheng

Published 12:06 PST, Fri February 3, 2023

Arjan Bhullar, a former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter from Richmond, won the ONE Championship heavyweight world title in 2021. He was the first fighter of Indo-Canadian descent to compete in the UFC.

“I was an Olympian and a martial artist,” says Bhullar. “It just runs in the family.”

Bhullar runs the Bhullar Wrestling Club, which aims to promote the sport of mixed martial arts while providing guidance and support to young athletes.

“Martial arts teaches you to have humility and respect,” Bhullar adds.

Over the last 15 years, the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) is becoming increasingly popular. Despite the similarities, MMA and UFC are not interchangeable terms. MMA refers to the sport itself, whereas UFC is the organization that facilitates and promotes the sport.  

UFC was founded in 1993 and is currently owned by Zuffa, LLC. It is headquartered in Las Vegas with Dana White as the president and face of the company. 

“After my contract with UFC ended, I signed with ONE Championship, an organization based in Singapore,” says Bhullar.

UFC started out with a “no rules, no scores, no time” objective, striving to bring audiences the purest form of fighting. However, given the importance of safety, concise and specific rules have been established to protect fighters’ health.

In the UFC, divisions are determined by gender and weight classes. Male fighters range from flyweight to heavyweight level, and female fighters from strawweight to featherweight level. 

UFC events can either be main events, with star-studded matchups, or non-main events. Main events are also numbered for audiences to more easily find the fight they are looking for. 

In a non-main event, each fight lasts up to three rounds while main events can go up to five rounds. Both types of events are fought in an arena called the Octagon, overseen by a referee and three judges. The Octagon is measured at 9.1 metres (30 feet) in diameter, with metal chained fences that are 1.8 metres (six feet) high.  

Additionally, the arena is elevated on a 1.2 metre (four foot) platform with foam paddings layered on the top of the fences. The mats of the arena are replaced after each fight for health and sanitary reasons. 

UFC fighters must abide by a strict dress code that aims to provide an equal playing field between competitors. Padded gloves must be worn at all times with a minimum of 2.54 centimetres (one inch) of padding around the knuckles. Mouthguards, protective cups, jockstraps, and other accessories are compulsory in order to participate in fights. 

There are seven different outcomes to a fight: submission, knockout, technical knockout, forfeit, judges’ decision, disqualification, and no contest.

First is submission, where the winner is declared when one of the fighters taps three times or verbally concedes the match. 

A knockout is determined when one fighter cannot continue a fight due to loss of consciousness. On the other hand, a technical knockout is called when a fighter is conscious but the referee deems it will be too dangerous for the fight to continue. 

A fighter can end a fight by forfeiting if they are injured or unable to continue the duel. If a fight goes on to the maximum number of rounds without a submission or knockout verdict, then the winner is determined by the scores of three judges. 

If a fighter commits multiple flagrant fouls or breaks the rules intentionally, such as eye gouging or hair pulling, it results in an immediate disqualification. 

Lastly, a no contest call is made if a fight is forced to end for reasons beyond the control of both players. In this case, there is no winner and no loser. 

Viewership for UFC games is on the rise, as the organization is becoming more and more popular around the globe. UFC 243: Robert Whittaker versus Israel Adesanya, which happened in October 2019, marked the highest live attendance at 57,127. There were 2.4 million pay-per-view purchases for UFC 229: Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Conor McGregor, which happened in October 2018.

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