During all the Dragon Ball series there is a World Martial Arts Tournament, first versions of the tournament was establisehd every 5 years, later changed to every 3 years after the 21st Tournament due to larger number of participants. The first versions of the Tournament had the room for 8 finalists later it expanded to 16 finalists. On the tournament only participates the mightest marital artists, on Dragon Ball series the Z Fighters have a regular participation.The winner of the tournament receives the considerable amount of 500,000 zenias a prize but later was 1 million zenias prize. For years the tournament was celebrated on Papaya Island located on the south hemisphere of Earth.
After several tournaments, the children category was established where only children under 18 could participate.
- If anyone comes into contact outside of the ring the lose.
- If anyone is knocked out for more than ten seconds then lose (which is counted by the tournament host).
- If anyone gives up, automatically loses.
Commiting any of forbidden action results in disqualification from Tournament.
- Any use of weapons or protective body gear, but some light objects as Knuckles are allowed.
- Poking someone in the eyes or hitting them in the groin.
- 2 against 1.
- Killing the opponent.
These are held indoors and without audience, all the contestants are divided in different groups, usually eight (after the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament, more contestants than ever have started entering). These eight groups fight in mini-tournaments with one-minute time limit for each match (matches that last longer than one minute are decided by points). The eight winners, one of each group, move on to the actual tournament.
In the World Tournament Saga, the tournament replaced the preliminaries with a punching contest to reduce injuries. Fighters would punch a machine, which would then calculate the strength of the punches. The fifteen who scored the highest moved on to the actual tournament (with the returning champion automatically be guaranteed the sixteen spot).
Normally, the winner of the final bout is automatically named the champion, and the returning champion had to win the tournament just like everyone else. However, at the end of the Kid Buu Saga, the tournament structure was changed so that the winner of the actual tournament was not automatically the champion, but merely won an opportunity to fight the returning champion in a title fight. This was probably done due to Mr. Satan's manipulation, as it gives the champion an unfair advantage, since the challenger must fight four opponents, with only a few minutes rest, before facing the Champion, whereas the Champion would still be fresh.
The participants fight in pairs; the order of the fights is decided by each participant taking a random number from a box. As there are usually eight participants, the tournament has three levels: quarter-finals (4 fights), semi-finals (2 fights), and the final fight. It is later increased to sixteen fighters in the World Tournament Saga. The winner of each fight goes on to fight with the winner of the other fights, with a tree diagram showing the order of the fighters, going up on the aforementioned levels, ultimately leading to the final bout to determine the champion.
World Martial Arts Tournaments are hosted, run and announced by the same World Martial Arts Tournament announcer. At the end of Dragon Ball GT he is replaced by his descendant.
- Akkuman (two unknown World Martial Arts Tournaments)
- King Chappa (one unknown World Martial Arts Tournament, possibly the 20th)
- Jackie Chun (21st World Martial Arts Tournament)
- Tien Shinhan (22nd World Martial Arts Tournament)
- Goku (23rd World Martial Arts Tournament)
- Mr. Satan (the longest reigning champion, 24th through the 31st World Martial Arts Tournament, and possibly one or two more after that; however, it is important to note that the 25th Tournament and onwards were rigged in the final match)
Most notable Tournaments
21st World Martial Arts Tournament (May 7th 750)
- Bacterian (Quarter Finalist, lost to Krillin)
- Giran (Quarter Finalist, lost to Goku)
- Goku (Finalist, runner up, lost to Jackie Chun)
- Jackie Chun (Finalist, winner)
- Krillin (Semi Finalist, lost to Jackie Chun)
- Nam (Semi Finalist, lost to Goku)
- Ranfan (Quarter Finalist, lost to Nam)
- Yamcha (Quarter Finalist, lost to Jackie Chun)
22nd World Martial Arts Tournament (May 7th 753)
- Chiaotzu (Quarter Finalist, lost to Krillin)
- Goku (Finalist, lost to Tien Shinhan)
- Jackie Chun (Semi Finalist, lost to Tien Shinhan)
- Krillin (Semi Finalist, lost to Goku)
- Man Wolf (Quarter Finalist (lost to Jackie Chun)
- Pamput (Quater Finalist, lost to Goku)
- Tien Shinhan (Finalist, Winner)
- Yamcha (Quarter Finalist, lost to Tien Shinhan)
23nd World Martial Arts Tournament (May 7th 756)
- Chi-Chi (Quarter Finalist, lost to Goku)
- Goku (Finalist, Winner)
- Kami (Semi Finalist, lost to Piccolo)
- Krillin (Quarter Finalist, lost to Piccolo)
- Mercenary Tao (Quarter Finalist, lost to Tien Shinhan)
- Piccolo (Finalist, lost to Goku)
- Tien Shinhan (Semi Finalist, lost to Goku)
- Yamcha (Quarter Finalist, lost to Kami)
24nd World Martial Arts Tournament (May 7th 767)
Junior Division (First ever Junior Division)
- Videl (Winner, only known participant)
25nd World Martial Arts Tournament (May 7th 774)
- Goten (Finalist, lost to Trunks)
- Trunks (Finalist, winner)