What is MMA Welding

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What is MMA Welding?

One of the most versatile and commonly used arc welding techniques, manual metal arc (MMA) welding, requires making an arc between a workpiece and a metal-coated electrode.

So, what is MMA welding? Also known as shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), manual metal arc (MMA) welding is a welding process in which the electric arc burns between the workpiece and the coated electrode.

Here, we will discuss everything that you need to know about MMA welding, including what MMA welding is, what it is used for, the MMA welding process, and the 4 types of welding. We will also briefly look at some other questions related to MMA welding. Let’s begin.

Contents show

What is MMA Welding?

This is perhaps the most important question to answer regarding MMA welding. In MMA welding, the electrode is placed in an electrode holder and contacts the spot to be linked shortly. A short circuit is generated, and the arc begins when the electrode is raised. The electrode, as well as its coating, liquefies and slag is formed above the welded surface during the welding process.

The arc heat melts the electrode and the parent metal that combine together to create a consistent solid mass upon cooling. The core wire or main metal electrode serves as a consumable and provides the welded filler metal. It is possible to join together most cast iron, stainless steels, steels, and other non-ferrous items with MMA welding. It is the ideal joining method for many moderate and high resistance carbon steels.

To produce an arc between the electrode and the metal needing welding, an electric current generated by the welding power supply is utilized. The arc liquefies the electrode’s core to generate drops of molten metal to form the weld. The electrode’s flux coating also melts and creates a shielding gas, which creates a slag layer that shields the weld from degradation in the atmosphere. After each weld, the layer of the slag must be removed.

There are seven different parameters and factors on which the success of MMA welding depending. These include the following:

  • Preparing the workpiece to be welded correctly
  • The right electrode
  • The right travel speed
  • The right electrode size for the work
  • The right angle of the electrode to work
  • The right arc length
  • The right welding current

What MMA Welding is Used For?

MMA welding is used for all the advantages that it has over other welding processes. MMA welding has numerous advantages over other welding methods. For instance, it can generate more power than MIG welding.

This means that it can solder stronger materials with an equal level of amperage performance. Tiny, compact MMA inverter welders are therefore capable of welding with up to 4 mm electrodes, which makes them ideal for a wide range of material thicknesses and applications without the hassle of shielding gas or wire feeding.

MMA is also an increasingly portable method thanks to inverter technology, and it is frequently used for field and site activity. Lastly, when compared to TIG or MIG, MMA welding is usually more ‘forgiving’ in the welding of contaminated or rusty materials, making it suitable for maintenance work.

What is the MMA Welding Process?

In the year 1888, MMA welding was first introduced in Russia and it consisted of a bare metal welding rod. After the Kjellberg process was invented in Sweden at the start of the 1900s, the coated electrode was added to the process.

So, how does the MMA welding process work? An electric arc is generated between the workpiece needing welding and a metal electrode that bears a high current.

Once an arc is produced between the workpiece and the electrode, which melts the electrode and the workpiece, the material is connected to form a weld pool. Additionally, the electrode also has an outer coating often referred to as the electrode flux, which often melts and provides a barrier over the weld pool to prevent the molten pool’s contamination and help to build the arc.

This cools and produces a solid slag over the weld, which after completion or before inserting another weld bead, has to be stripped away from the weld Bead. The procedure allows for the creation of only shorter weld lengths due to the length of the electrode before the introduction of a new electrode into the holder. The weld deposit quality is heavily reliant upon the welder’s ability.

A constant current (CC) output is given by the power source and can be either direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC).

The tiny, fairly cheap alternating current (AC) sets are mostly used in DIY or minor maintenance activities. While a few bigger AC sets may also be utilized in the heavier industry, the DC output set is now the most widely used.

It is important to note that not all DC electrodes are able to work on AC power sources. However, AC electrodes can work on both DC and AC. The most widely used of these modes is direct current (DC). AC unit power appears to be shifting switched transformers or iron core.

DC output power sources can be utilized on several types of material and can be generated in wide ranges of current. Such units’ controls range from shifting iron core switches to the new inverter designs.

What is MMA Inverter Welding?

Modern inverter welders can help to solve several problems facing MMA welding, and they offer excellent characteristics and efficiency as the curve can be managed electronically for each operation.

However, the chosen welding inverter power source must have enough strength to melt the weld material and the electrode with sufficient capacity to sustain the voltage of the arc.

The process of MMA welding normally needs a high output (50-350 Amps) at a fairly low voltage (10-50 Volts). While the electrodes used for MMA inverter welding are intended to work on various voltage levels and output power, it is always wise to read the manufacturer’s instructions before use.

MMA inverter welders help to achieve costs savings and other advantages as they:

  • Have high control and efficiency levels
  • Are extremely lightweight and more compact than their predecessors
  • Can provide greater outputs for smaller inputs
  • Can provide an extremely energy-efficient power supply

Is MMA Welding a Good Welding Method to Use?

Today, MMA welding is a widely used welding method, which indicates that it is a good welding method to use. MMA welding is being used increasingly today because it provides the following benefits.


MMA welding devices are relatively inexpensive, and the maintenance costs are much smaller than for other welding methods.

Flexibility and Versatility

Though MMA welding is mainly used for steel and iron welding, a wide range of other metals can also be welded with it. These metals include copper alloys, nickel, and aluminum. Additionally, unlike TIG or MIG welding, MMA welding is less likely to be affected by weather, making it the most efficient welding process for the outdoors.


The equipment can be powered fairly easily, and the technique is easier than certain other welding methods.


Compact and light, MMA welding machines are easily portable and suitable for use anywhere.

Final Thoughts

MMA welding includes everything that is detailed above about the process. Using the information provided above, you can determine whether MMA welding is a welding process you’d want to use over the three main types of welding for your specific application.

Related Questions

What are the 4 Types of Welding?

As mentioned at the start, we will briefly look at the 4 types of welding, so you know exactly the welding options you have. The following are the 4 main types of welding.

Gas Metal Arc Welding (MIG)

Also known as MIG welding, gas metal arc welding utilizes a shielding gas across the electrode of the wire which melts the two metals to join. The procedure needs a constant volt and source of direct current. It is the most popular industrial welding technique and has four main metal transfer methods. They include pulsed-spray, spray, short-circuiting, and globular.

Gas Tungsten Arc Gas Welding (TIG)

This method is commonly used for soldering thick sections of non-ferrous metals or stainless steel together. Additionally, it is an arc-welding process that produces the weld using a tungsten electrode. This method takes much longer than the other welding processes and is also much more complicated.

Shielded Metal Arc Welding (MMA)

This is the welding process that we have covered in this article. In this welding process, a manual stick welding method is used by the MMA welder. An electric current is utilized by the stick to create an arc between the joining metals and the stick. This welding process is also used for welding steel and iron in industrial fabrication and steel structures’ construction.

Flux Colored Arc Welding

This is the fourth and final main type of welding. A shield welding alternative, this welding process is frequently used in construction projects. This is because it uses a semi-automatic arc weld and has high portability and speed of welding.

Are UFC and MMA the Same Thing?

Today, we can often hear things like “I am going to start training UFC” or “UFC is today one of the most popular sports in the world,” but are those two statements exactly true? The words UFC and MMA often come together, and people are often using them as synonyms. But that shouldn’t be the case.

UFC and MMA are not the same things. MMA, which stands for Mixed Martial Arts, is a sport. UFC, which stands for Ultimate Fighting Championship, is a promotion (organization) that promotes MMA fights.

Saying that the UFC and MMA are the same things is like saying the same for NBA and basketball. NBA is just a league where basketball teams compete, and basketball itself is a sport. Just like NHL and ice hockey or FIFA and football (soccer) – one is a league/tournament/cup, and one is a sport.

So, why do people these days confuse these two so often? That can be attributed to the global rise and popularity of UFC. Today, in all the news, we can hear things like “Tune in this evening for UFC super fight” or “3 more days ’till the biggest fight in UFC history” or “Fighter X is the new UFC heavyweight champion of the world”.

UFC has become so popular and is so much bigger than other MMA promotions that its name itself is so popular, and regular viewers can often be confused about the difference between MMA and UFC.

To delve a little deeper into the topic, let’s take a look at MMA and UFC’s history and how the two got the names.

In this Article show

History of MMA and Its Name

First, to get a better understanding, let’s quickly explain what MMA is. MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts. It is a sport that combines elements from various other martial arts and fighting styles like wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, karate, taekwondo, kung fu, sambo, judo, and many others.

In short, every technique and move that can successfully be used, and of course, is legal (see our article on the list of illegal moves in UFC fight) can be used in an MMA fight.

Combat sports like wrestling, karate, and kung fu have their roots in ancient times. But what about MMA? People think that it is a relatively new sport, but MMA combines different techniques from various martial arts, as I have said earlier. So, when did people first start combining these moves?

One of the first known records of combining moves from different martial art styles dates from over 6,000 years ago and comes from ancient China, more precisely a martial art called Shuai Jiao, also known as Kung Fu Wrestling, Chinese Judo, and Chinese Wrestling.

Practitioners of Shuai Jiao were trained to butt and throw their enemies. It was first designed to help soldiers in hand-to-hand combat, and it is the first recorded martial art that combined elements of grappling and striking.

In 648 BC, in Ancient Greece, during the 33rd Olympiad, Pankration was introduced. Pankration combined elements of boxing and wrestling, but also others like kicks, throws, and various submission attempts. Only biting, striking the groins, and eye-gouging were not allowed. The fight wasn’t over until one of the fighters wasn’t able to compete any longer or was submitted by the opponent.

Fast forward to modern times, to the 19th century; some events had the purpose of matching up fighters from different fighting styles. Such as fights between French Savate fighters and English bare-knuckle boxers in an event organized in 1852.

In 1887, a fight between then heavyweight boxing champion of the world, John L. Sullivan, and Greco-Roman wrestling champion, William Muldoon, took place. The fight reportedly ended in Muldoon slamming Sullivan into the canvas.

In the late 1800s in England, Baritsu events took place. This art different elements from European and Asian fighting styles like catch wrestling, judo, western boxing, Savate, and jiu-jitsu.

When talking about the origin of MMA, it is crucial to mention the first televised mixed fighting style fight in history between judo wrestler Gene Lebell (who will later train UFC superstar Ronda Rousey) and professional boxer Milo Savage. Take a look at the fight:

One of the most important figures when it comes to the origins of MMA is, without a doubt, Bruce Lee, sometimes even called “Father of Modern Day MMA.” Some people claim that it is wrong to say that about him, but what is certain is that he was a big advocate of learning new techniques and moves outside of your primary fighting style.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he developed his fighting style called Jeet Kune Do, based on taking what works best in different martial arts and combining them in one singular fighting style.

In 1976, a fight between Muhammad Ali and Japanese professional wrestler Antonio Ioki took place. The fight was fought under a specific set of rules. Because of Ali’s global stardom and the fight’s popularity, many see it as the precursor to modern-day mixed martial arts. The fight ended in a draw.

In 1979 in Pittsburgh, the Tough Guys contest was established. It was the first American MMA league. It was the birth of sanctioned MMA fighting under a specific set of rules.

Origin of the Term “MMA”

The first recorded usage of the term Mixed Martial Arts was in a review of the UFC 1 event by a television critic Howard Rosenberg in 1993. UFC official Jeff Blatnick is responsible for UFC using the term MMA, who, alongside John McCarthy, proposed the name at the UFC 17 rules meeting.

In 1995 the UFC first used the term MMA; before that, the fights were promoted as “Ultimate Fighting.” That brings us to the brief history of UFC and how it all began.

History of UFC and Its Beginnings

When answering the questions “Are UFC and MMA the same thing?” and “What are the differences between the UFC and MMA?”, it is super important to give a brief history of UFC’s beginnings. As I have mentioned earlier, the first recorded usage of the term Mixed Martial Arts was in a review of the UFC 1 event. Soon, the UFC began using it as well.

Two decades ago, UFC wasn’t what it is today. There were no Conor, Ronda, or Khabib, no mega fights, outside-the-cage antics, and no global phenomena. It was an event where fighters from different martial arts backgrounds could compete and show which fighting style is superior.

Fast forward some 20 years later, UFC is a worldwide sensation. People love to watch fighters fight inside the cage with “no rules.” MMA as a sport is just the purest form of fighting and truly shows who the better fighter is overall. Add the outside-the-cage antics, and there is absolutely no dilemma why UFC is where it is today.

For a more detailed history of the UFC and the man behind it, Dana White, look at the article about Dana White and how he got into the UFC.

That being said, and taking UFC’s global popularity into account, it’s not unusual that people use the terms UFC and MMA interchangeably. UFC is just such a big MMA promoter and a brand for itself that you can actually more often see the term “UFC” than “MMA.”

Just take a look at the next infographic taken from Google Trends, which compares Google’s search results for UFC and MMA (in the USA from 2004 to today).

Other MMA Promotions/Organizations

Although by far the biggest and most popular MMA promotion, UFC isn’t the only one. There are hundreds of other promotions as well. As of May 26, 2018, there are 41 ranked MMA promotions. Let’s take a look at the top 15 MMA promotions in the world today based on event quality and fighters in the promotion:

  1. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)
  2. Bellator MMA
  3. Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB)
  4. Fight Nights Global (FNG)
  5. ONE Championship
  6. Rizin Fighting Federation (Rizin FF)
  7. Invicta FC (all-female MMA)
  8. Pancrase
  9. M-1 Global
  10. Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA)
  11. World Fighting Championship (WFCA)
  12. Konfrontacija Sztuk Walki (KSW)
  13. Deep
  14. Road Fighting Championship (Road FC)
  15. Cage Warriors (CWFC)

Although there are many other MMA promotions, because of the UFC’s global dominance, it is not strange that some people use the terms of UFC and MMA interchangeably.

Now that you understand the distinction between UFC and MMA, you might be interested in upping your own training game to excel in this sport – with the best heavy bag stand to improve your training, you can unleash your fighting spirit and reach new heights in martial arts, just like the heroes of the UFC.

That’s it for today. If you have more questions about the UFC, check out our beginner’s guide to the UFC, where you will probably find the answer!

Article by

Vladimir Vladisavljevic

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He has been training in kickboxing for over seven years and holds a Taekwondo black belt. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. Vladimir is a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster. He was known as The Bulgarian Cowboy in the Western world. In addition, he has a YouTube channel where he talks about his love of esports, one of the fastest-growing fields in the world. Our testing and reviewing method.

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28.08.2023 в 21:21 Игнатий:
Это хорошая идея. Я Вас поддерживаю.

02.09.2023 в 20:13 Альбина:
Бесподобное сообщение ;)

04.09.2023 в 21:33 Яков:
супер ржач!!!!!!!гы гы