In the late 90’s the sport of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) started to become a popular forum for the development of martial arts in general. MMA within the context of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) is a full contact, combat sport, that combines grappling and striking, with standing and wrestling. MMA within the UFC rules allows a wide variety of martial arts and techniques, creating a unique environment that favors a more versatile competitor or martial artist. MMA players often include training in elements of Judo, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Karate, Kickboxing, and wrestling.
MMA is definitely an influencing force in the development of martial arts today due in no small part to it's use by the UFC to create a munti-billion dollar entertainment business enterprise.
However, martial arts are practiced for a variety of different reasons by the general public (not related to professional combat sports); including basic self-defense, to improve physical fitness, for personal self development, for security work, for entertainment and amateur sporting competition. Some even use martial arts as a method to relieve day-to-day stress and as a path to achieving spiritual growth.
Most of us don't have the ambition to enter the ranks of professional fighters, but we might still like to be able to learn a martial art for self-defense, to blow off a bit of steam, for fun, to meet new people or as a challenge to enhance our personal self-development.