Steerpike Posted October 23, 2016 Share Posted October 23, 2016 ALT-HISTORY MMA: PART I - A CHANCE MEETING <img src="https://s3.postimg.org/f1gbftw1f/bill_viodla.png" width=150 height=150 style="float: left;" border="0" vspace=5 hspace=5>It is a widely believed lie that the origins of MMA lie with Rorion Gracie, Art Davie and Bob Meyrowitz in 1993. Moreso it is illegitimate to claim that the Zuffa group, spearheaded by Dana White, perfected the mixed martial arts formula. The true origins of this sport lies fourteen years prior to the inaugural UFC event, in 1979, with Bill Viola II and Frank Caliguri, two veteran martial artists. They asked a daring question; who would win a fight between Muhammed Ali, Bruce Lee and Bruce Sammartino? Because of this question, Viola not only developed an 11-page rulebook but laid the functional groundwork for future MMA fights – fighters would not only be sporting the patterned gloves but also headgear and leg protection, fights could conclude via knock out, submission or decision. This decision would even come through an early version of a 10-point must system. There were two weight classes. Unlike the human cockfighting of the original UFC, safety was a top issue on the list of priorities for Bill Viola. <img src="https://s18.postimg.org/b177xul7d/art_davie.png" width=150 height=150 style="float: right;" border="0" vspace=5 hspace=5>These Tough Guy Contests quickly built a following throughout Pennsylvania and there were plans for an expansion towards glitzy Las Vegas when the authorities suddenly, and unprofessionally, lifted their finger at the budding new martial arts scene. In a matter of months, the whole show was closed down and the sport made illegal statewide. Violas vision and Caliguris dream had ended. Fast forward 12 years; Art Davie, a business executive and a martial arts enthusiast, attends an exhibition event showcasing karate and kickboxing, where he, by chance, meets Bill Viola. Davie was actively looking for a business venture and soon, the talks between the two men turned to the same question Viola had asked Caliguri in 1979. This is where the Ultimate Fighting Championship truly began. Davie easily saw the potential now, in the 90s, that nobody had seen in the 80s. Together they came up with the UFC, a martial arts league that could answer the question of who the best fighter on the planet was. Who would broadcast this sports spectacle, though? A man named Bob Meyrowitz and the Semaphore Entertainment Group would. Another chance meeting was the catalyst for this situation. Meyrowitz had overheard Davie and Viola discussing their new martial arts venture at a diner, in the early morning. He introduced himself and before they had even discussed proper business, a handshake agreement was in place. Meyrowitz would supply the platform, Viola would provide the spectacle and Davie would provide the money. Thus, in December of 1993, the Ultimate Fighting Championship was born. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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