War of the Worlds (Not the Crap Tom Cruise Movie)
If I told you that I wanted to write an article about a bunch of sweaty men in spandex underwear rolling around on the floor you probably wouldn't get too excited about the idea...or maybe you would, whatever floats your boat, I'm not here to judge.
The fact is the Evolution of Modern MMA could be defined as a true rags-to-riches story, from the Gracie family holding Vale Tudo Tournaments in their academy in Brazil as far back as the 1920's, to UFC 94 January '09 taking (an estimated) 1.3 million PPV buys and 15,000 on the gate!
From Humble Beginnings
Like most good things, it all started in with a great idea. Unlike most good things, that idea came from an advertising executive.
Art Davies wanted to know the answer to the age old question, who would win fight between Bruce Lee and Hulk Hogan? A Sumo wrestler and Mike Tyson?...in essence what is the best fighting style on the planet?
Whilst working on a marketing campaign focused on MMA in 1991, Art met with one of the Gracie brothers and thus the the premise for what was to become the UFC was born.
The first promotion they put together was named "War of the Worlds" in 1992. WOW consisted of an eight men, with martial artists from as many different disciplines facing off in a no holds barred, last man standing tournament. No rounds, no weight classes, no rules.
We all know that over the years MMA has faced numerous trials and tribulations on the road to becoming the commercial powerhouse that it is today. Early UFC, although embraced at its core for it's originality and realism suffered from lots of unfavorable coverage and pressure from the likes of Senator John McCain.
For every fan who's interest was peaked by the "No Rules" fighting policy, there were three opposed, thus the UFC was dropped from their major cable PPV distributors and banned in 36 states.
Rise of Rome
Fair to say that when the UFC was on the brink of failure and struggling to survive along came a life preserver in the form of the "Fertitta brothers" and childhood friend Dana White.
The company was purchased for $2 million in 2001 and using connections in the Nevada Athletic Commission, Zuffa LLC was able to turn the UFC from a taboo underground sport into the fastest growing sensation in the world.
But if we were to compare the rise of Dana White and UFC to that of the Roman empire, spreading, conquering and dominating all that it sees, then it would only be fair to associate them with the same inescapable fate as the Romans and every other powerful civilization throughout history—once they've reached the pinnacle of power, at some point they will crumble.
Like the laws of physics, what goes up, will eventually at some point come down.
Whats to come
I'm not going to predict the fall of the UFC, ask why as the biggest and best organization the UFC has not been able to get all the best fighters in the world like Fedor, Aoki, or Alvarez.
Or even question why, if it really is truly about art of fighting, the top fighters only fight an average of twice a year.
That's for you to decide for yourself.
However, what I will ask, as a fan who longs for the days of WOW and the Early UFC, is this: If they were to re-introduce the eight man, one night, no weight classes, no rounds, and no rules, out of all the world's fighters, who would you choose?
Here are my eight.
FEDOR vs EVANS
LESNAR VS MIR - MIR vs FEDOR
GSP VS AOKI - GSP vs SPIDER - SPIDER vs FEDOR
SPIDER VS RAMPAGE
Now wouldn't that be worth $44.99!!!!!????
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