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The fighting tournament and namesake of the Mortal Kombat series of fighting games. Mortal Kombat was originally thought to be a solely human conception, until later retcons revealed it to be universal among the series' featured Realms, created by the Elder Gods as a way to keep the realms in check and for the realms to defend themselves against Outworld if it grew too powerful for years until Shao Kahn fully took control and posed a serious threat to the realms.

The Earthrealm tournament was invoked by an order of the wisest in the Far East, was granted an appeal by the Elder Gods and hosted by the Shaolin temples when they received visions of Shao Kahn himself, in order to prevent the invasion.

In Mortal Kombat 1, the tournament was founded in collaboration between Emperor Jerrod of Outworld and Lord Liu Kang of Earthrealm, as a means of maintaining peace among the realms.

Rules, Structure and Stipulations of Mortal Kombat

The rules, structure and stipulations of the tournament are simple:

  1. Every generation, competing realms would send their best fighters into a single-elimination martial arts tournament. Once Mortal Kombat is declared, it cannot be refused by either party. There would be two stipulations for each of the realms' warriors; A. If the defending Grand Champion himself would outlast the opposing realm's warriors in the first tournament and continues till the last tournament, the defending realm can be saved. B. If an opposing realm via their Grand Champion or another representative of theirs can garner ten straight victories, they earned the right to enter and merge the realm as this is the only permissible way for one to invade and conquer another. The victor of Mortal Kombat after the first and continuously till the tenth is officially crowned the Mortal Kombat Grand Champion with the reward of being granted with stunted aging and immortality, along with the outcome being the ultimate decider.
  2. The defending and opposing realm's fighters cannot attack each other until the tournament begins and any violation of the aforementioned rules before, during or after the tournament is considered an act of treason against the realms and the Elder Gods themselves, and will be dealt with accordingly and swiftly. In addition, the warriors' special powers can be used in the tournament.

Notable Mortal Kombat Tournaments in the Age of Mortal Kombat

  • 10.000+ BMK: The first ten consecutive Mortal Kombat tournaments are held in Edenia which their warriors inevitably loses the aforementioned tournaments to Outworld, allowing the emperor, Shao Kahn to merge the two realms.
  • 1000+ BMK - 0 BMK: The currently known Mortal Kombat tournament in Earthrealm when the sorcerer Shang Tsung, under Shao Kahn's orders, took control of the tournament invoked by the Shaolin in a bid to upset the Furies and invade Earth. In this time span, Shang Tsung, as a Grand Champion himself once held a 9-tournament winning streak, but was cut short in the earlier tenth tournament by the Great Kung Lao. However, Kung Lao held his position as Grand Champion for only one generation, after which his life was taken by Shang Tsung after his newest warrior, Goro, who defeated him, taken his title and held it for another nine victories.
  • 0 MK (Mortal Kombat): Liu Kang, a young monk of the Shaolin Order, defeats and dethrones Goro, thus breaking Outworld's winning streak and preventing Outworld's invasion of Earth. Shang Tsung challenges Liu Kang, trying to salvage something from his champion's loss, but is in turn, defeated as well. Shang Tsung was then forced to relinquish his hold on the tournament, and fled into Outworld.
  • 0 MK - 1 AMK (Mortal Kombat II): A false tournament is proposed by Shang Tsung to Shao Kahn, to lure Earth's warriors to Outworld, where Kahn's forces would have a distinct advantage. It also posed as a distraction away from Kahn's revival of his wife Queen Sindel on Earth, which would force a merging of the realms regardless of the false tournament's outcome. So far, no definite winner was declared (assuming that Liu Kang had presumably won), as Kahn's adopted daughter Kitana warns Earth's warriors of the tournament's nature before it could conclude setting up the invasion of Earthrealm.
    • In the alternate timeline established in Mortal Kombat (2011), the second tournament is actually a legitimate one, proposed by Shang Tsung as a means of replacing the old system of ten tournaments. Liu Kang defeats Shao Kahn and wins the tournament - supposedly forcing Outworld to abandon its claim to Earthrealm forever. However, Shao Kahn, with the aid of Quan Chi, simply launches an invasion of Earthrealm instead. Because the invasion itself is not considered a transgression of the rules of Mortal Kombat, the Elder Gods do not interfere. Only when Kahn enters Earthrealm and attempts to merge it with Outworld, do the Elder Gods intercede and destroy him.
  • 7 AMK+ (Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance): Although the main storyline does not involve a tournament for the main characters, at this time, there was in fact a tournament going on: one set up by Shang Tsung and his partner, the Netherrealm sorcerer Quan Chi, to give the Outworld native Li Mei a chance to free her people, who were currently enslaved by the two sorcerers in order to build a palace fortress over a soulnado, a means of which they could achieve their goals of ultimate power and immortality. This tournament has not been expressly stated as a Mortal Kombat tournament, and it is highly debatable among fans whether or not it can be called such, but regardless, it was as fake as the one set up by Shao Kahn in Outworld, with the sorcerers having no intention of keeping their word, regardless of the outcome.
  • In Liu Kang's New Era ( Mortal Kombat 1 ), the tournament was no longer called "Mortal Kombat" and was held once every century as a means for both Earthrealm and Outworld to demonstrate their strength in order to co-exist peacefully among each other. In the upcoming tournament, with Outworld as host, Liu Kang along with Raiden, Kung Lao, Jonhny Cage and Kenshi Takahashi are Earthrealm's ambassadors to Outworld, with Raiden being Earthrealm's champion. After many victorious battles and one final victory against General Shao, Empress Sindel officially declares Earthrealm as the victor of this tournament.

Appearance in other media

Mortal Kombat (2021 film)

In the 2021 film Mortal Kombat, the ability to participate in the Mortal Kombat Tournament is signified by a dragon marking on one's skin, which indicates that the individual in question has the ability to unlock their Arcana, gaining a superhuman ability of some type. One can either be born with this marking or gain it killing somebody else who already bears the marking. However, Cole Young is the only character within the film said to have been born with such a marking.

Although the Mortal Kombat Tournament is mentioned numerous times within the film, it is never actually shown. This is because Shang Tsung and the warriors of Outworld have chosen to fight dirty by attempting to kill the champions of Earthrealm before there can even be a tournament. Shang Tsung and Outworld have already won nine previous tournaments and either winning the next one or killing the warriors of Earthrealm before they can even fight would allow them to invade Earthrealm. At the end of the film, the forces of Earthrealm, victorious, begin gathering fighters for the next tournament, as Shang Tsung warns that he will return with armies.

Trivia

Johnny Cage's Invitation

The invitation to the Tournament in the film Mortal Kombat.

  • In the 1995 film Mortal Kombat, the "Mortal Kombat Tournament" is referred as 致命格鬥 (致命格斗 "Fatal Combat"; Wade-Giles: Chih4-Ming4 Ko2-Tou4; PY: Zhìmìng Gédòu) on flags and 生死搏鬥 (生死搏斗 "Fight (Kombat) of Life-and-Death"; Wade-Giles: Shêng1-Ssŭ3 Puo2-Tou4; PY: Shēngsǐ Bódòu) on Johnny Cage's invitation.
  • In the Japanese localizations of the first three Mortal Kombat games, the Tournament is referred as 殺戮の宴 ("Banquet of Carnage" Satsuriku no Utage).
  • The rules of Mortal Kombat were slightly revised in Mortal Kombat (2011), in which they only forbid the merging of realms without victory in Mortal Kombat. Merely invading another realm is not considered a transgression.
  • In Mortal Kombat: Conquest, although it is entirely possible this rule was in place prior to the first game, story-wise, their special abilities can be used during the tournament.
  • In Mortal Kombat 1, Liu Kang has stated that no participant from either side have been grievously injured or killed, a feat that has not been done in any previous timelines.


Principal Games
Mortal Kombat | Mortal Kombat II | Mortal Kombat 3 | Mortal Kombat 4 | Deadly Alliance | Deception | Armageddon | MK vs. DCU | Mortal Kombat (2011) | Mortal Kombat X | Mortal Kombat 11 | Mortal Kombat 1
Updates and Ports
Advance | Gold | Mobile | Tournament Edition | Trilogy | Ultimate | Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 | Unchained
Spin-Offs
Konquest | Mythologies: Sub-Zero | Onslaught | Shaolin Monks | Special Forces
Factions
Army of Darkness | Black Dragon | Dragon King's Army | Edenian Resistance | Elder Gods | Forces of Darkness | Forces of Light | Kahn Guard | Lin Kuei | Order of Light | Outer World Investigation Agency | Red Dragon | Seidan Guard | Seidan Resistance | Shirai Ryu | Shaolin Monks | Special Forces | Tekunin | The Brotherhood of Shadow | The Deadly Alliance | Titans | Umgadi | White Lotus Society | Wu Shi Academy
Main Characters
Ashrah | Baraka | Blaze | Bo' Rai Cho | Cassie Cage | Cetrion | Chameleon | Cyrax | Daegon | Dairou | Darrius | Drahmin | D'Vorah | Ermac | Erron Black | Ferra & Torr | Frost | Fujin | Geras | Goro | Havik | Hotaru | Hsu Hao | Jade | Jarek | Jax Briggs | Jacqui Briggs | Johnny Cage | Kabal | Kai | Kano | Kenshi | Khameleon | Kintaro | Kira | Kitana | Kobra | Kollector | Kotal Kahn | Kronika | Kung Jin | Kung Lao | Li Mei | Liu Kang | Mavado | Meat | Mileena | Mokap | Moloch | Motaro | Noob Saibot | Nightwolf | Nitara | Onaga | Quan Chi | Raiden | Rain | Reiko | Reptile | Sareena | Scorpion | Sektor | Shang Tsung | Shao Kahn | Sheeva | Shinnok | Shujinko | Sindel | Skarlet | Smoke | Sonya Blade | Stryker | Sub-Zero | Takeda | Tanya | Taven | Tremor | Triborg
Guest Characters
Alien | Batman | Captain Marvel | Catwoman | Dark Kahn | Darkseid | Deathstroke | The Flash | Freddy Krueger | Green Lantern | Homelander | Jason Voorhees | John Rambo | The Joker | Kratos | Leatherface | Lex Luthor | Omni-Man | Peacemaker | Predator | RoboCop | Spawn | Superman | The Terminator | Wonder Woman
Information
Arenas | Artifacts | DC Storyline | Fatalities | Glossary | Main Storyline | Minor Characters | Realms | Secret Characters | Species | Unplayable Characters | Weapons
Films and Television
Annihilation | Conquest | Defenders of the Realm | Legacy | Legends: Battle of the Realms | Legends: Cage Match | Legends: Scorpion's Revenge | Legends: Snow Blind | Mortal Kombat (1995) | Mortal Kombat (2021) | Mortal Kombat 2 | Rebirth | The Journey Begins
Other
Actors | Card Game | Comics | Tour
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