Tournaments have always existed in this world. One on one duels to decide the victors of great conflicts were often forged by great leaders, often by naturally battling other great leaders themselves. This warlord-style system was a naturally practical plan, when the strongest fighter from an army could almost singlehandedly beat vast swaths of the opposing side. However, many more traditional tournaments were also forged, frequently by powerful fighters or monstrous, supernatural entities, often to decide the fate of entire dynasties.
In the grand scheme of history, the ancient tournaments such as Mortal Kombat have become lost in the annals of history and are not remembered by any but the most wizened of martial arts grandmasters. For a time in the not-so-distant past, tournaments fell out of favor, becoming underground expositions and small promotional events run by corporations, while fighters typically fought in the back alleys to hone their skills. The U.S. Martial Arts tournament was in many ways the biggest name in fighting tournaments up until that point.
The arrival of the first World Warrior tournament, hosted by the God of Muay Thai, Sagat, changed all that.
The amount of money and fame afforded by the World Warrior tournament in many ways legitimized fighting in the eyes of the general public, bringing it out of the back alleys and PPV and onto local news and in exotic locations all over the world. Before, where a fighter had to almost be recognized as a god of their art to make a comfortable living entirely off of fighting, that same fighter can become rich doing the exact same thing. Many fighters consider World Warrior to have made great steps in securing legitimacy for honorable fighters.
However, not everyone feels the same. Some fighters feel as if popularizing fighting has actually challenged the legitimacy of the martial arts, and seek ways to host their own tournaments to bring their ideologies to light. Some seek to distance themselves from the fighting world's oft-commercialized nature for spiritual enlightenment, while others think that the historically brutal nature of fighting was the truest expression of the art, and seek a bloody return to the old ways.
Below are listed some of the more prominent martial arts tournaments and regular events that characters may or may not be familiar with.
The most famous and relatively recent of the tournaments, a one on one single elimination international event that re-legitimized fighting as a whole. Hosted by the former emperor of Muay Thai, Sagat, and currently championed by Ryu.
"U.S. Martial Arts"
The most well known tournament in the United States, this tournament is known for being popular with and patroned by many of the militaries of the world. Currently championed by Ken.
"Dead or Alive"
A promotional tournament held annually by DOATEC in appreciation of the fighting arts and to promote its products as a weapons manufacturer, however the tournament has fallen on darker times. Currently hosted by Victor Donovan, and currently championed by Kasumi of the Mugen Tenshin.
"King of Fighters"
A tournament that is rumored to be in the works, sponsored by Geese Howard. It is oftentimes mislabeled as the "Fatal Fury" tournament.
Sponsored by the Ultratech corporation, Killer Instinct is populated almost entirely by some of the most bizarre and technologically advanced creatures levied by the corporation.
An ancient and bloody tournament, remembered only by a select few. It is said to have been fought for the sake of the entire world.
A regular wrestling event held in Japan, sponsored by the infamous Capcom Wrestling Association. This event is also referred to in certain territories as Saturday Night Slam Masters, and was the inspiration for Geese Howard's Saturday Night Fight.
"Saturday Night Fight"
Sponsored by Geese Howard, Saturday Night Fight is a weekly series of exhibition battles held in various locations around the world on Saturday night. It is based on the older event, Saturday Night Slam Masters. Their feature match is almost always held in Southtown, in Howard Arena.