UFC Co-Founder Campbell McLaren sat down with UK’s Kingdom MMA for a very informative interview about the origins of the sport.
Below is an excerpt about the coining of the term “Mixed Martial Arts”:
“In 1993 I was working at a PPV company owned by the music giant BMG,” began McLaren. “Every music PPV the company did was losing tons of money. I had a varied background as a TV producer, which included a lot of comedy, and I was hired to find alternatives to the music-losing PPVs.
“I was looking at car racing and demo derby, Lucha Libre from Mexico, horror, magic and comedy – just about anything that would strike a chord with a young, male audience.
“Art Davie, Rorion Gracie’s business partner, called me in April 1993 and gave me a pretty lame pitch, saying ‘everybody has turned this down, HBO, Showtime, everybody, you are the only one left.’
“But when he described the Gracie Challenge/War Of The Worlds idea I loved it. I thought it wasn’t edgy or cool enough though. I saw a reality version of Mortal Kombat. I wanted every fighter in their fight style clothing and many different types of fighters; sumo, boxing, karate.”
“The pay-per-view buy rates were amazing, hitting 350,000 on several occasions. And that was with a PPV universe of 20 million homes; today it is 120 million homes. That is the equivalent of a 1,750,000 buys today. And with no social media, I only had controversy to work with!”
“I launched stars in that era that are still prominent in MMA including; Royce Gracie, Ken and Frank Shamrock, Tank Abbott, Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture.”
“I didn’t think I was creating a sport but I knew I was creating a hit. MMA was a phrase coined by UFC commentator Jeff Blatnick to get the word fighting out of the mix and take off some political pressure.
“I love the UFC then and now. Dana and Lorenzo have done an amazing job turning my spectacle into a world class, world wide sporting event. They are geniuses – literally. But from 1993 until 1996 I rocked the world too.
“I stay in close touch with Dana and Lorenzo; they are great guys. Remember I developed the Octagon, brought in Joe Rogan and Joe Silva, recruited the Olympic college wrestlers that are now part of the UFC’s DNA, and hired or worked with many of the people still at the UFC so I do feel like it’s mine…even if I never owned it.”
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