MMA and Pro Wrestling. Linked in many ways yet denied by fans who don't know the history and background and how the paths crossed or the sport evolved from the business that evolved from the sport. The two biggest paths of modern professional MMA are the Gracie created UFC in the United States and the various Japanese organizations such as Shooto, Rings, Pancrase and Pride. All have ties to the professional wrestling world.
Carlos and Helio Gracie were taught by Mitsuo Maeda who did pro wrestling in addition to being a Judoka and no holds barred prizefighter. Thus, Gracie Jui Jitsu would not have existed without a pro wrestling, prize fighting Judoka who trained them. There would be no UFC without the Gracie family.
Ad Santel was a Catch Wrestler and pro wrestler who fueded with Japanese Judokas from the Kodokan from 1914-1921 where he beat a 4th degree black belt, a 5th degree blackbelt and drawing with another 5th degree blackbelt. The Japanese were fascinated by the submission moves from Catch Wrestling. Later Karl Gotch, another Catch Wrestler and Pro wrestler was a big influence (and trained some) of the men who started Shooto, RINGS, Pancrase and Pride FC. The Japanese called Gotch the God of Pro Wrestling and his influence on all aspects of pro wrestling and MMA in Japan was profound.
Catch Wrestling was the basis for much of what became shoot fighting and many pro wrestlers were Catch Wrestlers, Shooters, Hookers and Rippers.
Here is Catch Wrestling--
Here are the differences in Hookers, Shooters and Rippers--