As the sport of MMA grows, fans are getting to witness firsthand how the first “legends” of the sport transcend from the limelight of the UFC to smaller niche roles within the industry.
If you’ve had the privilege of watching what the UFC showcased in 1996, then you’ve been properly introduced to Don Frye. If not, do yourself a favor and buy the DVDs.
That year, Don Frye went 10-1 for the “upstart” organization. That’s right, 10-1. The pioneering generation didn’t get the luxury of fighting two or three times a year. They also didn’t get the luxury of the training regimes that today’s fighters go through.
Don Frye, along with Mark Coleman, is considered the pioneer of the now-household term “ground and pound.” He was a wrestler with sticks of dynamite in his hands, so it may be surprising to recall that six of Don’s 10 wins came by way of submission.
Frye’s one loss that year was to the aforementioned Mark Coleman.
Perhaps if Frye had won, he would have been the one inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame instead of Coleman. It is a bit astonishing to this MMA writer why he isn’t already in, despite that lone UFC loss. Perhaps it has to do with something outside of his 10-1 UFC record and his vast contribution to the sport.
Fast forward 13 years to West Texas.
On May 2, Don Frye will face former National Judo Champion/Pan American Champion Rich Moss (7-2-0) in “Shark Fight 4” main event. The fight card will take place Saturday, May 2 in Lubbock Texas, at the Citibank Coliseum located on the Texas Tech University campus.
Shark Fight Promotions, based out of Amarillo, Texas, is an “up-and-coming” MMA organization and a good example of how the regional MMA scene is fanning out across this great nation.
Jim Larson, president of Shark Fight Promotions, had this to say:
“We are very excited to have Don Frye on the Shark Fight 4 card. He is an MMA fan favorite and a legend in the sport. This bout is a great addition to our already-stacked card, which includes veteran UFC, WEC, and Pride fighters. The event will also feature two Texas Championship Title Fights. This is undoubtedly our most impressive fight card to date. Get ready for an exciting night of fights!”
The event will feature several MMA celebrity guest appearances. Notable MMA fighters in attendance will be Paul Buentello, Joe Riggs, Donald Cerrone, and Lubbock native Leonard Garcia.
The event will also air live as a pay-per-view Webcast for fans unable to attend. It comes with a $9.95 sticker price, $1 of which will benefit the Children’s Miracle Network, an organization that supports children suffering from cancer. For more information on Shark Fight 4, visit their Web site.
On a personal note, I must mention that I have both a personal connection to both Don Frye and Lubbock. In high school, my friends and I would gather at a particular friend’s house to watch the first UFC PPV events. The friend’s parents made the best “fight card food ever” and would allow the boys “to be boys” as much as they could.
One of my friends became a huge fan of Don Frye. He took it upon himself to try and contact Frye, and in the process, ended up getting a hold of Don’s mother. She probably sensed the great adulation my friend had for her son and ended up giving him Don’s number.
The next thing I know, my friend is flying out to Tucson, Ariz. to train with Don Frye. At that point, we were seniors in high school and taking a judo class at our community college. My friend and Frye still talk to this day and, in the process, he became a proud son to this MMA legend.
As far as Lubbock goes, I received both of my degrees from Texas Tech University.
In my mind, I couldn’t think of a more fitting place for Don Frye to return to action. West Texas is my home, and whether in person or in spirit, I will be in Lubbock cheering on Don Frye.
Brian Oswald is a free-lance writer for MMA HQ where this article was also published. To check other great MMA articles as well as get your daily fix of news and videos you know what to do. To email the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org