Props for breaking new ground.
Props for cutting loose the scripts and grunts and bad acting from decades of pro wrestling.
But the sport keeps evolving, new faces come and go.
Is that a good thing? Only time will tell.
This reviewer watched all (repeat all) the major matches in the first five years of the UFC.
Because after 30 years of pro wrestling I was gob-smacked when the real thing came along. I could not believe what I was seeing.
I was in front of the TV when a diminutive fighter named Royce Gracie transformed the very nature of martial arts by taking on guys three times his size in no-holds-barred, no-weight-class, no-time-limit fights. And won. And won. And won again.
Let me be very very very clear about what I am about to say next.
No disrespect to the UFC or the current crop of fighters or the current crop of fans.
But nothing, nada, in the UFC now compares to what I saw in those early fights.
For MA fans, it was like putting a man on the moon. And you were there with a ringside seat.
Of course, actions have consequences. A handful of politicians saw those very same early UFC fights and decided to make it their personal crusade to put the UFC out of business.
Someone could have died, they said. And there is probably truth to that.
But there is also truth to statement that the UFC has never been the same since all the new rules came in. And these young kids come and go so fast that I can no longer keep track. And I watched Royce attempt a comeback a few years ago and the results were so horrific I almost cried. (I think Royce has a landscaping business now -- none of us are getting any younger.)
Props to the UFC for making history. But if you get a chance to see those early fights, go for it.
Consider it a trip to the moon. With beer.
UFC PPV Events