WATCH: 26 years ago today we witnessed the birth of mainstream MMA

UFC 1 was the first MMA show I had ever seen and I watched it on the relatively new PPV format. Unedited, Uncensored, Unleashed! That was the tag line. I had taken martial arts since 1977 (5 years old) and I just knew karate would crush all but as we saw I was dead wrong.

It was a day I would never forget. One that would stick with me until now. Despite being a farce created in legendary fraud Frank Dux’s mind, the fantastical plot of the film Bloodsport came to life. A bunch of different styles coming together in a one night tournament to see who was truly the king of them all. Oh, and it was also subtly a platform for Gracie jiu jitsu to shine and man did it work.

Royce Gracie may have won fairly easily, but a few other early stars were born in the process. The most notable of them likely being Ken Shamrock who would lose to Royce in the semi-final via submission in just :57. Patrick Smith also went on to amass an admirable MMA record of 20-15 and competed until 2009. Ken would end up as a champion in WWE before returning to the UFC for his game changing PPV bout with Tito Ortiz. Smith sadly passed away earlier this year.

Some others lived on as some of the first MMA memes. We are looking at you and your one boxing glove Art Jimmerson.

The point is that without this event we may not have the incredible era of MMA we experienced and loved since then. So here’s to the Gracie clan and Art Davie for their event that changed the martial arts world forever.

Enjoy!

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