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All About the UFC


All About the UFC

Chuck Liddell getting ready to fight.

Courtesy of Sherdog.com.
When advertising executive Art Davie came up with the idea of staging an open weight, nearly no-rules fighting tournament, he decided to go the H.G. Wells route by calling it War of the Worlds. Catchy, no doubt. But can you imagine calling Brock Lesnar a War of the Worlds fighter? Good thing that Semaphore Entertainment Group (SEG) came up with that other idea. You know, The Ultimate Fighting Championship, more commonly known as the UFC.

These days, the UFC is more than just an idea or a U.S. based mixed martial arts organization. Quite frankly, it's the biggest and best MMA organization on the planet.

Important UFC Figures:

  • Owners: Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta (Chairman/CEO)
  • President: Dana White
  • VP Regulatory: Marc Ratner
  • VP Talent Relations and Matchmaker: Joe Silva

Formative Years:

Initially, Davie became familiar with Rorion Gracie and the Gracies in Action video series showcasing Rorion's family and their martial art- Gracie Jiu Jitsu or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)- time and time again defeating other styles and opponents. Davie became a BJJ student under Rorion and in 1992 proposed to him and John Milius an eight man, single elimination tournament featuring martial artists from different disciplines fighting one another to find out which style was most effective. WOW Promotions sprung from their subsequent partnership, and soon after they connected with pay per view carrier SEG.

UFC 1:

The first UFC event took place on November 12, 1993 from the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado. Eight fighters participated in this single elimination tournament. The fights had no time limit and almost no rules whatsoever (no head butting or eye gouging were the only rules noted). A 170 pound Royce Gracie, Rorion's younger brother, won UFC 1, taking each of his three opponents- a boxer, shootfighter, and savate specialist- down and submitting them in less than five minutes combined. In fact, Royce won three of the first four UFC tournament events.

The Dark Days :

Senator John McCain was sent a video copy of the first UFC events and subsequently led a campaign against the organization due to its lack of rules in competition, calling it "human cockfighting." This led to the UFC being banned by major cable pay per view providers, which resulted in a huge drop in revenue. From there, the UFC began changing its rules in an attempt to get sanctioned in major states (Nevada, New Jersey), and eventually did hold a sanctioned event in New Jersey at UFC 28 under the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board's "Unified Rules". But the dark days had already had their effect.

UFC For Sale:

SEG was on the verge of bankruptcy when they sold the UFC for $2 million to Station Casinos executives Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta in January of 2001. The Fertittas set up Zuffa, LLC to be the parent company in charge of the organization and secured sanctioning in Nevada (Lorenzo was a former member of the Nevada State Athletic Commission). By UFC 33, the organization had returned to cable television. Still, by 2004 Zuffa had incurred $34 million in losses

UFC Rebounds With The Ultimate Fighter or TUF:

The Fertitta brothers came up with the idea of TUF, a reality TV show that essentially locked several MMA prospects in a house, gave them exceptional training, and then had them fight in a single elimination tournament over the course of several weeks. SpikeTV partnered with them when Zuffa agreed to pay for production.

The show and the amazing TUF 1 championship battle between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar brought in fans by the boatload. Subsequent TUF shows plus more doses of the UFC on regular television helped the organization rebound. Along with this, in 2006 they generated $222,766,000 in revenue.

The WEC:

In December 2006, the WEC was purchased by Zuffa and became a sister organization of sorts to the UFC. The WEC is all about the lighter MMA weight classes.

Hall Of Fame UFC Fighters:

Here are some of the best of the best in UFC history.

Some Important UFC Fights:

  • Royce Gracie defeats Ken Shamrock at UFC 1: Shamrock was much bigger than Gracie. But a quick rear naked choke by Royce proved that size didn't always matter so much.
  • Royce Gracie defeats Gerard Gordeau at UFC 1: The first UFC champion was determined by this fight. That alone puts it on the list.
  • Royce Gracie defeats Dan Severn at UFC 4: There's a reason why Royce Gracie was in a lot of important UFC fights- his style of fighting proved to be dominant early on and served to help teach the world about combat. Still, many wondered aloud what might happen if he fought a bigger world-class wrestler. Enter Dan Severn, a man with a near 90 pound weight advantage and a world class Greco-Roman background. Severn was winning this fight most of the way with ground and pound. But then the world became acquainted with the triangle choke, a choke that a practitioner can apply from his back with the use of his legs. And with that, the Gracie name became even bigger than it had already been.
  • Tito Ortiz defeats Ken Shamrock at UFC 40: This main event served as the beginning of the comeback trail for the UFC and Zuffa. Around 150,000 pay per view purchasers watched Ortiz dominate the early UFC and professional wrestling star with ground and pound on his way to a third round TKO victory.
  • Forrest Griffin defeats Stephan Bonnar in the Ultimate Fighter Finale: A ridiculous amount of viewers tuned into the TUF 1 Finale to watch Griffin and Bonnar engage in a stand up war. The heart and determination both fighters demonstrated was amazing. Griffin won a unanimous decision that could've gone either way. This is the fight that truly started MMA's surge in popularity.
  • Chuck Liddell defeats Tito Ortiz at UFC 47: Ortiz had refused to fight Liddell on the grounds of a friendship that Liddell wasn't feeling when "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" was champion. Finally, the feud between these two was settled when Liddell unleashed a torrent of heavy punches in the second round of UFC 47, putting Ortiz away via KO.
  • Matt Hughes defeats Royce Gracie at UFC 60: Most Americans hadn't seen Royce Gracie since he'd dominated the early UFC tournaments. Hence, they wondered how the former star would fare against the greatest welterweight champion in UFC history. Not well. In the end, Hughes found himself on Gracie's back pounding away unmercifully when the referee chose to step in. This fight served as a changing of the guard in the UFC.
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