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How Gladiatorial Movies and Martial Arts Cinema Influenced the Development of The Ultimate Fighting Championship

Author:

Daniele Bolelli

Santa Monica College, and California State University, Long Beach, US
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Abstract

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was born as a marketing tool for the Gracie family to publicize their style of martial arts, in spite of the fact that it did not fit the image of what a martial art should look like according to cinematic representations. The success of the Gracie family in UFC contests forced the martial arts world to revise long cherished stereotypes regarding what constitutes an effective fighting style. The UFC, however, came
under attack when several politicians, including presidential candidate John McCain, campaigned to ban what they considered a ‘blood sport’ reminiscent of the ancient Roman gladiatorial games. Even after the UFC was able to gain widespread acceptance, it
continued to market itself using gladiatorial iconography. This article considers the ways in which the cinematic representations of ancient Roman gladiators as well as martial arts movies have both influenced the UFC, and how they have been influenced by it. Over time, UFC promoters modified the rules in order to encourage the kind of fighting seen in movies, and martial arts films modified their choreography to include the type of techniques performed by UFC fighters. This article shows that a similar relationship exists
between UFC and gladiatorial films.
How to Cite: Bolelli, D., (2014). How Gladiatorial Movies and Martial Arts Cinema Influenced the Development of The Ultimate Fighting Championship. JOMEC Journal. (5), p.None. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/j.2014.10265
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Published on 01 Jun 2014.
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