The UFC, or Ultimate Fighting Championship, is currently recognized as the largest MMA promotion worldwide, is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. The UFC began as a tournament to find the best fighters in the world, and was based on the Brazilian vale tudo fighting style. Originally, it was known as a no holds barred fighting contest, which eventually led to accusations of human brutality. After criticism reduced the UFCs visibility was diminished by these accusations, the organization reformed itself and adapted strict, athletic commission sanctioned rules, remarketing itself as a legitimate sporting event.
This idea of a tournament geared towards finding the best world fighter was that of Art Davie, a Southern California based advertising executive who developed this concept while researching marital arts for a client. Davie went on to become the student of Rorion Gracie, a teacher of mixed martial arts. In 1992, Gracie, Davie, and John Milnus, a film director and screen writer, in addition to being a fellow Gracie student, developed a business plan to generate the initial capital required to start WOW Promotions in order to develop their tournament into a television franchise.
The fledgling company partnered with Semaphore Entertainment Group in 1993, and the name Ultimate Fighting Championship was born. The first event was produced at McNichos Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado on November 12,1993 and featured kick boxer Patrick Smith and Kevin Roier, and as well as savate fighter Gerard Gordeau, and others. The appeal for this how, including its core proposition can a wrestler beat a boxer? was a contrast from most martial arts events at the time, where competitors typically had skill and expertise in just one discipline and little to no experience in other disciplines.
In 2001, The UFC was purchased for $ 2 million and came under the control of its parent company Zuffia, which resulted in a return to pay per view for the UFC after a plunge into relative obscurity after Senator John McCain criticized it as human cockfighting. The UFCs secured spot on The Best Damn Sports Show Period only added to its renown and reputation. After being featured in the reality television series, American Casino, the UFC was featured in its own reality series, The Ultimate Fighter, showcasing up and coming MMA fighters. The success of this show led to a second show UFC Unleashed, which featured select fights from UFC events, as well as a live broadcast entitled UFC Fight Night. After the first season of the Ultimate fighter, the first UFC event drew a pay per view audience of 280,000, and the next season of The Ultimate Fighter drew in a record 410,000 pay per view buys, leading to the present, with the UFC holding its own in the world of mainstream sporting events.