Started in the early 1990's, the premise behind the Ultimate Fighting Championship was to create a tournament to find the world's best fighter. Regardless of where they were from, or what discipline they employed.
The inaugural event took place in 1993, with a myriad of martial arts disciplines pitted against each other in a no holds barred elimination tournament. With the eventual victor having to fight many times against different opponents in the same night.
The first event was a considerable success, but with the instant notoriety of the organization also came the scrutiny of people that felt that the spectacle was too brutal for public viewing. It was tagged as 'human cockfighting' and states began banning the events and mainstream pay per view companies refused to air the broadcasts.
Slowly the UFC began changing the way matches were run in order to become more digestible to its critics. The 'no rules' tag was dropped from the marketing and they began instituting strict regulations. It evolved to add weight classes, time limits and helped align themselves with sanctioning organizations.
Since then, the UFC has fought hard to establish itself as a legitimate sporting event. When it was purchased from the brink of bankruptcy in 2001, it secured sanctioning with the Nevada State Athletics Commission and began marketing itself to a more mainstream audience. With the success of the new reality show The Ultimate Fighter, and the alignment of their interests with corporate sponsors, the UFC is making a booming comeback and its popularity is skyrocketing.
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