Mixed-Martial Arts has become one of the fastest growing and most popular sports in the world! The popularity has spurred not only a rise in participation for this grueling sport, but also in the amount of people that participate in having watch parties! Let’s take a look at the history of the UFC fight night!

Quiet Beginnings

Before there were UFC fighters making headlines for being fired and being over the top personalities, or multi-million dollar events, there was a humble beginning. Rorion Gracie, a brilliant and expertly trained Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter and Arthur Davie, a professional advertising expert, got together and formed the idea of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).


Gracie originally wanted to promote his family’s school for martial arts. There was a “Gracie Family Challenge” where any fighter from any background challenged a member of the Gracie family and the BJJ style.

While this brought about fun evenings, Davie took the challenge to a new level with the idea of a tournament. Different experts from different martial arts backgrounds coming together to face off against one another!

Creating an Event

Nowadays you can go to practically any bar, or have a friend pay per view the fight. Not only that, but you can use this handy manual to watch a UFC fight for free with a VPN! But before there were modern technologies advancing the popularity of the sport, there were small UFC events ran by Semaphore Entertainment Group (SEG).

After the success of the tournament style fighting, the sport grew into something spectacular. Here are just a few things that you will find at a modern UFC event that didn’t exist at the beginning:

  • Weight Classes. There was no regulating whether a larger Sumo fighter would take on a Kick-boxer! Weight classes were simply not a thing at the beginning of the UFC. It wasn’t until the UFC 12 tournament that they separated fighters by weight class.
  • Clothing. When the UFC first started, clothing restrictions were simply not regulated. Fighters wore the traditional clothing for their fighting styles. Now, of course, there are more distinct restrictions, as well as safety precautions.
  • Time. There were several experimental tournaments where they slowly worked out how much time was spent for each round. Until finally they landed on the format that is used today!
  • Referees. That’s right, the first few UFC fights didn’t have referees! It wasn’t until a few tournaments in that they began to regulate how a match could be judged.

As the tournaments grew into something more regulated, and began to form into a sport of its own, the UFC began to change right along with its popularity. Now you find fighters like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey making international headlines!

Going International

The first few UFC fights were held in states that didn’t have athletic commissions. This allowed them to skirt around regulations. It wasn’t until UFC 18 that the format became more focused on single matches and fighters only had to prepare for one fight a night.

As the sport became more regulated, with legitimate rules, restrictions, as well as guidelines for fighters, it began to grow into something more! It wasn’t meant to be a huge international following, but it has grown from “no holds barred” violent brawls, to the practical peak of martial arts competitions!

From fans including average Joes, and world famous celebrities, the UFC is incredibly popular. Now you can tune into a fight in Brazil, or Vegas, or Japan! Not just a rinky-dink ring in the middle of nowhere Iowa, but a real, international phenomenon!

The Future of the UFC

As UFC 245 approaches, it feels like such a long journey from the humble beginnings of UFC 1. Where now there are millions of international fans, millions of fighters hoping to make their mark on the UFC world, as well as multi-million-dollar fight nights, there was once just the Gracie Family Challenge.

The future of the UFC looks extremely promising. As the Ultimate Fighting Championship now has television shows for up and coming athletes, highly anticipated fight nights, as well as some of the most talented martial artists on the planet looking to take part, it is an EVENT. The future of the UFC looks incredibly bright.

The History of the UFC and Your Next Fight Night

The history of the UFC is incredibly fascinating. From rag-tag tournaments, to international phenomenon, there is so much more to this Cinderella story than what it seems. When you get together with your friends for your next fight night, remember that all those bright lights wouldn’t be there without a true love of martial arts.