What motivated you to join WikiProject Mixed Martial Arts? Are you also a fan of boxing, professional wrestling, or another form of martial arts?
As a fan of MMA, while reading the articles I found a high level of vandalism in those articles. I joined Wikipedia and the WikiProject to help revert those edits, to communicate about articles needing improvement and general issues within the project space. My involvement has grown in the seven years since then, though I become inactive at times due to off-wiki responsibilities. I also run User:MMABot which helps to try and keep parts of articles standardized.
Does the project focus primarily on pay-per-view events or does the project's scope also include articles describing events in the near and distant past? Are some eras better covered than others?
The intent of the project (as I see it) is to develop good articles about any notable MMA event (whether it aired on PPV or not) and any notable MMA individuals (fighters, promoters, coaches, etc.). The beginnings of MMA is probably does not have the best coverage as there was a general lack of publicity over the sport (aside from the controversy surrounding it). Therefore, finding reliable sources for notable events and persons from that time period is difficult to find. An issue we are encountering with current events is the results from the event being slapped up into a Wikipedia article with little to no context in terms of what lead up to the event and the matches with in it, discussion of the event itself and any after effects.
How much does mixed martial arts crossover with other forms of martial arts? Does WikiProject Mixed Martial Arts collaborate with any other projects? What can be done to improve communication between Wikipedia's martial arts projects?
The sport itself is the coming together of multiple martial arts and combat sports. It's not uncommon to hear that a particular fighter traveled to Thailand to practice Muay Thai or kickboxing or that they brought into their gym a coach specializing in boxing or wrestling. There's not a lot of communication or collaboration between WP:MMA and WP:Martial Arts, WP:BOXING, or WP:Kickboxing because, I think, all of the WikiProjects are lacking active members which would help foster that communication and collaboration.
Has it been difficult to find reliable independent sources about mixed martial arts? Where can editors find useful references when building mixed martial arts articles?
As mentioned before, the early period of MMA doesn't have a lot of reliable sources since there wasn't a lot of coverage back then. As I understand it, there was print coverage in Japan, but that coverage never really made it online. As for current references, Sherdog has become the de facto source for fighter records and event results. There are other MMA-focused websites, such as MMAJunkie.com and MMAWeekly.com, that cover the sport. Caution is often suggested as some of the stories on these sites border on reporting of rumors as opposed to actual news. There's also been a recent push to use more mainstream sources (ESPN, USA Today, etc.) to help bolster notability claims.
Are freely-licensed images available to illustrate articles about fighters and events? What are some useful tips for editors to acquire images for articles about mixed martial arts?
Free images are available for fighters as fans and editors will upload their own photos to Commons. A similar thing occurs with some events, though those are sometimes less easy to work into an article. There is a lot of fair-use images used for event posters and promotional images.
What are the project's most urgent needs? How can a new contributor help today?
A lot of articles, especially those about events, are very short articles. Those articles need expanding to discuss what lead up to the event and the matches at the event, what occurred during the event and any after effects of the event. There are also a number of stand-alone event articles for small promotions in which the event by itself may not be notable. Sending some of these non-notable articles to AfD or combining them into a single article (such as "Year in" articles) would be needed.
Next week's article will delve into a Greco-Roman world. Until then, ponder our classic articles in the archive.