July 6, 2012
Sport or Bloodsport?
Back in the 1990's I had a roommate who would go train for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). We started watching videos of raw fights in a cage that were 30 minutes long in one shot, and whoever won the match would have to fight again later that same event. No holds barred, which meant there were pretty much no rules to the fight, whoever taps out, gets knocked out, or goes limp looses the match. I thought to myself, what kind of crazy sport could this possibly be? It was Mixed Martial Art fighting with a company called The Ultimate Fighting Championship” or better known as “The UFC”. It emerged from the dark underground fight scene to the fastest growing sport ever known. But was this a sport or just an entertaining blood bath of human cock fighting as many viewed it?
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debuted on November 12, 1993 under Semaphore Entertainment Group (SEG). In this "no holds barred" MMA tournament, experts in different martial art disciplines would face off against each other to determine which style was superior in a cage known as "The Octagon". The way to win a UFC fight is by submission, knockout, or referee stoppage. Early UFC had few rules and restrictions which lead to criticism and scrutiny. In 2001, the owner company of The UFC, SEG became bankrupt and it was then taken over by Zuffa, LLC. By that time, Nevada State Athletic Commission oversaw UFC events and helped give credibility to the media, particularly the cable companies, who would carry the pay-per-view events. I believe the backing of The Nevada State Athletic Commission is what helped launch UFC into what it is today. It gave Zuffa, LLC the opportunity to reach out to potential fans at a much faster pace, especially given the popularity of boxing at the time. In addition, the popularity increased due to the more strict rules and restrictions that were modified from the early UFC, therefore shedding its...