The Pankration fighters of the old Greece were precursors of Free Fight. The sport Pankration became Olympic in about 648 B.C. It was allowed to hit, kick and to use all body parts, besides the fighters could wrestle and continue fights on the ground. There were sporting rules since the very beginning. The following was forbidden: Stabbing in the eye or biting. The actual goal was to get the opponent with all possible methods to surrender. The fights took as long as it took for someone to give up (by raising the hand) or until the sunset.
In about 1980 Free Fight came from the old Greece through Brazil to the USA and Europe. One of the first countries that called this kind of full contact sport Free Fight was Holland. Besides hitting and kicking techniques there are also allowed knee and elbow techniques in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)/Vale-Tudo/Free Fight. The fighters use hitting and kicking techniques of Boxing, Kickboxing and Muay Thai, as well as ground combat techniques of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling and Judo. But also techniques of other Martial Arts are used. This Martial Arts is still very young in Europe and so it is a unification of all fighting distances, kicking, hitting, clinching, throwing and ground combat to a full contact sport.
Merely killing, attacking of eyes and/or the genitals, biting and ripping on ears and nose are in almost all of the fights prohibited. A characteristic is that fighting takes place while standing and on the ground. Like in Pankration the only possibility to win in Free Fight is to get the opponent to surrender with joint lock and choking techniques. Because the name Free Fight is misleading and because internationally spoken it always has been called MMA sport, also in Germany and Austria the name was made use of later.
In competitions fighters were categorized into different weight classes:
- -70 kg = lightweight
- -77 kg = welterweight
- -84 kg = middleweight
- -93 kg =light heavyweight
- -120 kg =heavyweight
- 120+ kg = super heavyweight