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Shootfighting: What’s in a Name by Danielle DeVor

Ever wonder why “Shootfighting” was dropped as a term for MMA? I know I did, so I finally decided to look it up.

You see, I was introduced to boxing, kickboxing, and MMA bymy dad. This was around 1978. He’d seen Muay Thai fights in Thailand when hewas on R&R during his tours in Vietnam. When he came back to the States, hewatched as many combat sports as he could find on TV. So, when MMA came on thescene, he had me on the couch watching with him. Taught me the names of thefighters. Taught me the difference between a right hook and a jab. We bothcheered on Ken Shamrock quite a bit.

Back then, it was called “Shootfighting”. Within a coupleyears, I remember there was an odd law in our area passed that kickboxing andso-called “violent sports” could no longer be shown on regular TV. Somehow,hockey was not included in that judgement—even though that was back when mostof hockey was about the bloody fights on the ice, but I digress. Our afternoonsof watching Kickboxing and MMA were gone. We watched a lot of boxing on HBO.

So, it was a number of years before we saw something thatlooked like “Shootfighting” again. And that was when Pride FightingChampionships were aired at random times on cable. Later, we watched UFC and Strikeforce.And we still watch fights together now.

So, what was it I learned today? People had to stop using“shootfighting” to refer to MMA because a man named Bart Vale trademarked theterm for his hybrid sport that combines wrestling and kempo. That was why thesport I learned originally as “shootfighting” became known only as Mixed MartialArts and why no one refers to it under the other term today.



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