Who remembers Bart Vale? The answer: nobody does?
I would ask you the reader if you remember, but heck you can't respond and I probably already know the answer. Well I will tell you who Bart Vale is and I why he is the one true Captain America.
Randy Couture may be considered Captain America by newer fans who have just jumped into mma in the last four years, but Vale was the first to rock the patriotic, free wheeling, I am the best sort of attitude.
Vale rocked the mullet, wore the red, white, and blue shorts, and looked like the sort of guy that would drink beer and watch some good old fashioned football. He made Hulk Hogan look like a bum and Randy Couture look like used car salesman.
Vale who supposedly started out as a kickboxer went on to study kenpo karate with Al Tracy. Then he went on to Japan were he became a pro-wrestler and competed in shoot fighting competitions.
The old Black Belt magazine buffs will have you believe that these shootfighters where indeed legitimate fighters. However, it is widely known that the beginning shoot matches ,which were very much reminiscent to mma, were indeed worked.
There is no question that these fake wrestling matches led to the rise of mma's popularity. Shootfighters did indeed create the legendary Pancrase organization which ran legitimate matches.
Pancrase, which came before the UFC, was at the time the greatest organization in the world with fighters like Ken Shamrock, Frank Shamrock, Maurice Smith, Tsuyoshi Kohsaka and Bas Rutten leading the world in mma. Vale, a master shoot fighter was suppose to be a natural mma fighter, but Vale fell short of his glory and his hype.
Vale only won one of his mma matches in his entire career and that was a win over Mike Bitonio in the World Combat Championships in 1995. His next loss came to Murakami Kazunari, which I have actually watched and own the VHS, and then again to Dan Severn.
When Vale fought Kazunari it was in the Extreme Cage Fighting three event, It was the main fight on the card and it was to be a classic Japan vs the U.S. match.
Kazunari came out wearing a judo gi with a string of boos coming from the crowd, then they showed the intro video for Vale. Vale looked strong, he looked fast and he looked sexy with his hairy chest and "Joe Dirt" mullet.
The lights flashed and the crowd roared; Vale had a real "oh say can you see attitude" because he was the American who was going to defeat the feminine looking Kazunari. The crowd could feel the patriotism, and so could Vale's loins that were being covered by his American flag underwear.
Rich Franklin may be the American Fighter, but Vale certainly was the American Ultimate Warrior.
The bell rang and the match proceeded and then before you know it Kazunari won. The very much hyped Vale was in fact stopped in the first round by strikes, a TKO victory for Murakami.
Vale fought a couple K-1 matches and he lost those too, he was keeping the American spirit alive. He came from the land of the free where a person can strive for a dream, Vale strove for that dream and... well he failed.
note: this is a article of sarcasm and humor please do not think I am criticising America in any way.