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A mixed martial arts programme of events, Bamma has been running in the UK since 2009 and expanded its operations to Ireland in 2015. Initially televised in the UK on the Bravo channel, it has since switched to another broadcasting network. The fight night events that Bamma put on are also streamed on the Facebook page of Lonsdale, one of its principal sponsors. The events are also viewable in Asia over the KIX network. Featuring fights in front of a live audience, tickets for Bamma events are highly sought after by fans.
Bamma's fighting style
Any bout that is conducted for Bamma has rules that are based upon the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. These were established by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, although some modifications have been put in place. The regulations that Bamma has adopted are used in North America as well as the UK, and provide the basis for professional mixed martial arts events across the globe.
Every Bamma fight is contested over the course of five-minute rounds. Fighters are allowed a one-minute rest period after the first and second rounds. If the bout is not decided by the end of the third round, then it is settled by a panel of judges. Draws are possible if the three-man judging panel says that no fighter has come out on top, although split decisions tend to be rare.
Bamma fighters must compete in approved shorts, and unlike boxers or some kickboxing fighters, must take to the ring without any shoes or foot padding. Competitors also wear approved light gloves, which allow fingers to grab as well as to strike. A referee controls each bout and it is possible for the referee to stop the fighters if they have reached an impasse, and to stand them up again for the fight to recommence.
Bamma fights are decided by a submission, just like wrestling, or a knockout, in common with boxing. In addition, bouts might end by a technical knockout being awarded to one of the fighters. Disqualifications can also occur, if a referee decides this is appropriate.
Bamma's growth in popularity
In the UK, Bamma began with just one event in its inaugural year. By 2010, the promoters were putting on three annual shows at bigger venues, such as the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham. Six events took place in 2015, as the mixture of martial arts fighting began to capture the public's imagination and more people learned of the fights via TV coverage. In 2017, Bamma made its first visit to Northern Ireland, with a series of bouts that took place at the SSE Arena in Belfast.
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