The UFC is a combat organization in which fighters can win with standing our ground techniques. Critics often cite groundwork as a reason the sport is totally gay. This is a baseless insult.
There are three basic ways to win a fight:
If neither fighter is able to stop their opponent within the time limit, the fight goes to the judges' score cards. Each judge scores the fight on a round-by-round basis, with ten points awarded to the round's winner, and nine or fewer given to the loser. As a general rule, to earn a 10-8 round, a fighter must beat upon his foe until his opponent's corner-men are hurting.
If all three judges agree on a winner, the fight is ruled a unanimous decision. If two judges agree, and the third has his opponent winning it is a split decision. If a fighter wins 30-27, 30-27, 27-30, it is ruled a Cecil Peoples decision.
The most fan-friendly of finishes is the knock out, or technical knock out for fighters who haven't yet earned a reputation for having dynamite in their hands. A knockout is attained by introducing your opponents face to your fist or shin as many times as is needed to help them drift off to a peaceful sleep.
Fighters less-inclined to standing up and punching each other may attempt to take the fight to the ground. Top Middleweight contender Demian Maia has expressed a strong desire to win fights with as few strikes as possible so as to not hurt his opponent. Instead, he prefers the more gentlemanly pursuit of ways to cut off blood to his opponent's brain, or to snap their limbs in half. The pinnacle of submission work is the triangle choke in which one forces their opponent to submit through a combination of a loss of blood to the brain, and the embarrassment of smelling another dude's junk in front of millions of viewers.
The first UFC tournaments were designed to test which martial art would beat which martial art in a fight, which is to say, fighters were selected based on their ability to make Brazilian Jiu Jitsu look most impressive as little Royce Gracie ran through much bigger opponents.
The early UFC's were the closest thing to a no-holds-barred event ever put on Pay Per View (other than an Extreme Rules wrestling match) with the only real rules being not to bite your opponent or put a finger into an eye beyond the second knuckle. Strongly encouraged were actions like hair pulling and punches to the man marbles, two acts now banned due their violation of basic Man Code.
The early UFC events were single night tournaments, and featured many fighters who would go on to become stars and Hall of Famers. Also, Tank Abbott.
Perhaps most importantly, the early years of the UFC are responsible for two of Seanbaby's "Top 8 'Oh Shit!' MMA Moments."
For some reason, not everybody was on board with the idea of a man repeatedly punching another in the balls, or a tall white dude kicking a fat guy's tooth into the sixth row. UFC hit a public backlash, leading to John McCain calling the sport "human cock fighting," which is funny because it has the word cock in it. This backlash led to UFC having difficulty procuring venues and Pay Per View carriers, and for some reason, led many MMA fans to rally against McCain's 2008 presidential run despite acknowledgements from the Senator that the sport had been cleaned up, and the fact the basing your vote on a presidential candidate's views on your favorite sport is fucking retarded.
With owners looking to move their struggling product, now-UFC-president Dana White convinced his casino-rich pals to buy the struggling promotion. Then, in his own words, White led a one-man crusade to get the sport regulated by state athletic commissions. We haven't taken the time to research the veracity of these claims, but he seems like a pretty honest guy, so we're going to trust him on it.
Once arenas were actually interested in hosting UFC events again, the organization was free to grow to its current state, where it currently rests somewhere above hockey in the public conscience, probably due to it removing all that pointless skating and playing with a puck between fights.
The UFC has surpassed its 100th numbered event, something that nobody had the foresight to predict save for renowned fight analyst Jim Brown. Pay Per View numbers far exceed those of all but the most blockbuster of boxing events, which has led to a rather sad and unnecessary rivalry between the sport and old-school boxing analysts. As it currently stands, the UFC has five champions, though it's not entirely unreasonable to imagine a women's champ being added one day, should there emerge more fighters than Gina Carano who are both talented and in possession of a fantastic rack. The current UFC Champions are:
Brock Lesnar (Heavyweight) - Lesnar is a former professional wrestler and, as a result, many old school MMA fans will never accept him as a legitimate fighter. In their defense, he has very few outside credentials to qualify him beyond his WWE days, so long as you exclude his two All-American seasons as a wrestler at the University of Minnesota.
Lesnar earned his title by toppling former champion Randy Couture, and did so despite the disadvantage of having to fight with an extremely phallic tattoo on his chest.
Not that we're making fun of it, Mr. Lesnar, sir. It's a beautiful dick tattoo.
Muaricio "Shogun" Ru-oh, wait... Lyota Machida (Light Heavyweight) - Machida earned his title at UFC 98, when he made Rashad Evans strike the most hilarious punch-face in recorded history. Many expected this reign to last for a long, long time, as he was very good at not getting touched, which is advantageous in the sport of MMA. "Shogun" was a Pride transplant, once viewed as the best light heavyweight in the world. The two fought, and Machida looked decidedly more hittable than his previous hitability of "not-at-fucking-all," leaving many in attendance and at home to believe Rua had clearly won more rounds of the fight. The judges begged to differ.
Anderson Silva (Middleweight) - The Spider is often touted, along with GSP and Fedor (see: overrated scrub rule above) as one of the top three pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Silva has, to date, outclassed his opponents so thoroughly that he has resorted to dancing and trying thoroughly impractical moves on his opponents, just to show that he can. His last two title defenses, against Patrick Cote and Thales Leitas, left many fans grumbling, to which Silva kindly offered they can fuck right off, in a soft voice that is entirely out of place coming from a walking, talking pain factory.
Georges St. Pierre (Welterweight) - Most commonly referred to as GSP, he is a lovable Canadian who is equally adept at smashing faces in, forcing tapouts, and uttering hilariously incorrect phrases like "fairly squarely." GSP has suffered two losses in his career, to Matt Hughes and Matt Serra, respectively. Since then, he has left both men as broken, beaten shades of their former selves, twice and once, respectively.
B.J. Penn (Lightweight[ish]) -Penn is the UFC's Lightweight champ, at least when he isn't busy fighting at welterweight or the local courthouse. The owner of lethal hands, scary good jiu jitsu and strong enough cardio to last well into the first round, Penn was long regarded as the world's most dominant three-minute fighter. In recent fights, Penn carried top-contenders Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez to the fourth round, presumably just to show that he could, before hammering them into oblivion and choking them out.