I’ve been into MMA for a long long time but recently the interest is definitely slipping. I don’t know what it is but the excitement and the feeling that you are watching an ‘event’ is pretty much gone at this point.
I’ll start at the beginning.
A lot of people claim to have been in from the start, I myself was not. The first event I saw was UFC 1 but not in 1993, it was more like 96 or 97. I loved it immediately, it was so different and so real. It felt like you were watching something special. I knew Royce Gracie would win because he wore a gi, and I did karate. I saw UFC 2&3 pretty soon after that I think but everything else was not so easy to find, especially in the far North East of Scotland. I was always into martial arts and I regularly bought magazines like ‘Combat’ and ‘Martial Arts Illustrated’ and one day in the ad section at the back of one of these was a small advertisement selling UFC and NHB videotapes. I think I wrote to them and they sent me a list of what they had, remember this is before the Internet was what it has become and everything moved slower. This would have been around the year 2000 and they had all UFCs to that point and early Prides and some Brazilian and Russian tournaments. I devoured everything I could find.
The characters were amazing
Royce Gracie, Mark Coleman, Ken Shamrock and Tank Abbott and lots more.
Even jobbers had a story, like Zane Frazier had beat up Frank Dux (the guy who Bloodsport is based on).
And new characters seemed to turn up at every event it seemed. Then across in Japan you had the likes of Sakuraba, Wanderlei, Rampage and of course Fedor. And remember this was when it was basically style vs style so everything was so individual.
Over the years I’ve followed it religiously. It was my sport above all others. My passion……
Somewhere along the last few years something has changed. Maybe because there are so few characters anymore. No styles anymore. Everyone trains the same. Everyone trains wrestling and BJJ and boxing and Muay Thai. Everyone has strength and conditioning coaches and all the rest. Used to be that people fought for three minute and someone got fucked up but now people fight for 25 minutes and don’t have a scratch on them. Thanks to Reebok everyone looks the fucking same. I didn’t think the Reebok thing would have a big effect on me but I really think it has.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m jaded. Maybe I watch too much. UFC is definitely guilty of over saturation then there is Bellator, KSW, RIZIN and the rest.
I’m not ready to give up on it yet though, I got a plan. Remember in Austin Powers when Dr Evil stole Powers Mojo? What did Austin do? He went back in fucking time to his glory days to recharge it. So that’s what I’m going to do, without the time machine. I’m going to start at the start and watch everything in order. UFC, Pride, Superbrawl, World Vale Tudo, Vale Tudo Japan and more. There are over 30 events in 1994 to the end of 1996 alone and then I will keep going. Hopefully reignite my spark. And I’ll blog it all.
Here is the first ten
- UFC 1
- UFC 2
- Vale Tudo Japan Open 94
- UFC 3
- UFC 4
- UFC 5
- Vale Tudo Japan Open 95
- UFC 6
- UFC 7
- World Combat Championship
- Extreme Fighting 1