On November 12, 1993 the UFC held its inaugural event in Denver and the martial arts world was introduced to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a non assuming man by the name Royce Gracie. I remember watching it on pay per view and being fascinated by the fact it had no rules (there were), the teeth knocking blows, and just the sheer violence being displayed.
Then I saw Royce Gracie step inside the octagon and latch himself onto his opponents like he was an anaconda and literally squeeze the breath out of his opponents. I didn’t know what mixed martial arts were at the time but I knew I had to watch every subsequent event the UFC would ever hold; and I have.
It was the night I went from being a boxing fan to a “UFC” fan.
We have seen mixed martial arts evolve at a rapid pace in just a short period of time and a majority of the evolution has to be credited to the UFC. How many times have we heard guys talk about seeing one of the UFC’s early events and talking about being captivated by it enough to want to pursue it as a career?
Over the years the organization has hit significant milestones from being kicked off pay per view to getting back on, their deal with Spike TV, and in 2008 their first million PPV buy rate.
The only thing that was missing from their resume was a deal with a major broadcasting network. How many times can you remember Dana White telling us he had a “big announcement” and speculation running rampant that he was going to announce a major network deal, only to be let down when he didn’t? Give him credit for sticking to his guns and not taking the first deal presented to him, as the IFL and EliteXC did.
On November 12, 2011, in Anaheim California, 18 years to the day their first event was held, they finally get their shot on their biggest stage to date.
Some have questioned Dana White’s decision to put the heavyweight title fight of Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos on TV for free. Why give fans a fight that hundreds of thousands would easily pay to watch, for nothing? It’s easy if you ask Dana. White has made it clear it will cost them in the short-term but that he is taking an advertising approach to the fight and sees it as an opportunity to garner hundreds of thousands of new fans who have never seen a UFC fight and hopes the investment pays off over the long-term.
UFC on Fox is finally here and one of the most anticipated and historical cards will consist of ONE televised fight.
Get ready for the next evolution of the sport to begin.
Until next time, always stay focused and support the sport.
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