What is the difference between MMA and UFC?
Oftentimes, 'UFC' and 'MMA' are used interchangeably. Many consider the two to be synonyms. However, this is very much incorrect, and here's why.
The Sport vs. The Promotion
MMA stands for 'mixed martial arts'. This is a sport wherein two fighters try to defeat each other through a combination of striking, pedagogy, and grappling. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the world's most popular and successful MMA promotion.
Thus, the UFC is to MMA as the NBA is to basketball.
Part of the confusion may come from one of the colloquial terms for MMA: 'Ultimate Fighting'.
The Origin of MMA
Combat sport has been around for quite some time. One of the more well-known examples of a combat sport with an open ruleset is pankration, an ancient Greek martial art which combined elements of boxing and wrestling. Pankration has been dated back to the second millennium BC. However, due to the universality and timelessness of martial arts, such sports probably predate any written history.
Nonetheless, in the West, the first UFC tournament is usually cited as the genesis of MMA.