MMA has come a long way since 1993. In fact, looking back, MMA today bears about as much resemblance to its former self as Art Jimmerson does to Jon Jones.
Today, MMA is a multi-billion dollar industry, but we all know that it wasn’t always like that, partly because men like Dana White keenly remind us that this is a self-made sport. The UFC even made a documentary about their own rise to fame. And they are right: the sport didn't receive much help along the way.
Then again, MMA would not have developed into what it is today without professional wrestling.
In the nineties, MMA was not seen as a sport in the United States, infamously being referred to it as "human cockfighting" by then Senator John McCain. Meanwhile, in Japan, MMA existed in various forms with promotions such as SHOOTO, UWFi, Fighting Network RINGS and Pancrase predating the UFC. Each one of these promotions were founded by pro wrestlers and combined many of elements of "puroresu" with real fighting. Eventually, through the emergence of another organization, Pride Fighting Championship, MMA would find its magic formula.
This magic formula, however, goes much deeper than just a few cosmetic changes.