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Old 04-01-2007, 12:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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10 Most Influential Figures in MMA

I know this discussion may of have been done to death, I still think with many events happening in MMA recently I thought this now a good time to discuss this. Remember this my opinion so Post your own top 10 (starting from "lowest" 10 to "highest" 1) influential figures who helped create MMA.

10. Tito Ortiz: When MMA was on the rise, Tito Ortiz was the man who was on everyone's mouth.

9. Ken Shamrock: The first time I discovered MMA was because of Shamrock's venture in the WWF.

8. Dan Severn: Truly a legend who proves pro wrestlers aren't wussies in MMA. He was the first to hold both a major Wrestling title (NWA) and a major MMA title (UFC) at the same time.

7. Sakuraba: His legacy is what got me really interested in MMA, at the time he was the total package in MMA.

6. Dana White: Love him or hate him, you have to respect his achievement and how he defended MMA against closedminded idiots like the Billy O'Reilly of Fox News.

5. The Fertittas: They rolled the dice and came up big. They have turned this sport from a bloodsport being held in dingy convention centers, into the biggest draw in Vegas.

4. Bas Rutten and The "Shooters": Bas Rutten is also an influential figure, he started in Pancrase and is now one of the best MMA fighters ever as well as the greatest Dutch fighter ever. Dreams of a MMA fed started to come true because of wrestlers who hated to job. Guys like Masakatsu Funaki, Akira Maeda, Sayama and Nobukio Takada who although not serious MMA fighters opened the door to MMA when they founded UWF which led to UWFi, Rings, Shooto and Pancrase. Along with them were shootfighters like Bart Vale who helped spread MMA in the US. Among those 5, I like Funaki better because he made the better effort when fighting in a real legit MMA fight while Takada totally screwed up in his matches. Also because i don't about Bart Vale's record or if he had any legit matches.

3. Gotch, Inoki and Catch Wrestling: Catch wrestling is arguably the ancestor of modern professional wrestling and mixed martial arts competitions. Catch wrestling's origins lie in a variety of styles, most notably the regional wrestling styles of Europe, particularly the British Isles (eg. Collar-and-elbow, Lancashire catch-as-catch-can submission wrestling etc.) and Asia (eg. pehlwani). The term is sometimes used in a restricted sense to refer only to the style of professional wrestling as practiced in United States carnivals just before and after 1900. Under this stricter definition catch wrestling it is one of many styles of professional wrestling, specifically as practiced in carnivals and at public exhibitions from after the US Civil War until the Great Depression. Karl Gotch, a wrestler who was unforunatly ignored in the US because of his stiffness, Gotch spread Catch Wrestling into Japan that would help create Strong style wrestling. Catch would also create great MMA fighters like Sakuraba and the Shamrocks. One of Gotch's proteges is Japanese pro wrestling legend Antonio Inoki, who had a series of MMA matches (whether they were legit or worked isn't known) at the peak of his career in the 70's and 80's. Although Inoki's match with Ali was boring, it still should be considered an influence. Inoki had fought other MMA fighters, some say they were legit and others were worked. He also helped train good MMA fighters like Fujita and promotes MMA events like the highly successful Jungle Fight founded by Wallied Ismail.

2. The Gracies and BJJ: Love them or hate them, gotta respect their legacy and the fact they helped put MMA where it already is now. Other BJJ fighters Walied Ismail are important to mention as well.

1. Martial artists of all centuries including Bruce Lee: Bruce Lee was definetly the most influential Martial artist of the 20th century. The JKD process could be seen as the first MMA system. Although Lee wasn't the first to come up with crossing styles, he revived the idea as the idea has been around for centuries thats how different Martial art styles came to be, they borrowed from eachother plus there are ancient stories of MMA tournaments that took place pitting warriors of different styles against each other.however masters of different styles have too much pride in their styles in the later years to the point of looking down on each other's styles.

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Old 04-02-2007, 01:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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if you're going to mention bruce lee and inoki then this should be a list of martial artists...rather then mix martial arts.
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Old 04-02-2007, 06:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anton
if you're going to mention bruce lee and inoki then this should be a list of martial artists...rather then mix martial arts.
I'm afraid I have to disagree with you sir, they have made a big influence of creating MMA.
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Old 04-02-2007, 07:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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bruce lee all the way
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Old 04-03-2007, 01:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Bruce Lee could have very well been the first Mixed Martial Artist.
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Old 04-03-2007, 01:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yes, I am a strong believer in the idea that Bruce Lee "invented" MMA with Jeet Kune Do.
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Old 04-03-2007, 05:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnseenKing
Bruce Lee could have very well been the first Mixed Martial Artist.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wawaweewa
Yes, I am a strong believer in the idea that Bruce Lee "invented" MMA with Jeet Kune Do.
Now, I'm a big fan of Bruce, but ummm... No. Those assertions would be grossly incorrect. His concepts were "revolutionary" at the time, but no where near brand new. Trying to base any claims as such would be giving the man way too much credit. I would agree that he's probably the single most influential martial artist of the 20th century, but I wouldn't credit the birth of MMA to him.
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Last edited by Onganju : 04-03-2007 at 05:28 AM.
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Old 04-03-2007, 09:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Not many Martial Artists, in the 60s, had as a diverse fighting stye as Bruce Lee.
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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My list of the top ten:

#10: Dan Severn Really the first major wrestler and responsible for bringing the sport to the midwest. He has led to a huge succession of great wrestlers that have been titleholders in every organization.

#9: Bas Rutten I know that alot of people would put him higher, and I think he gave alot to the sport. He added alot in terms of really bringing true Pancrase style to the US, but he's not the only one.

#8: Randy Couture He proved that this sport was for athletes, not just for street punks. Athletic guys had come along before, but he helped alot of people see MMA as a sport, and not just a bloody spectacle.

#7: Mark Coleman Father of the groundnpound. He really was the wrestling monster of the early days, much more than Couture or Severn, in my opinion. A fantastic fighter who defined the early groundnpound and had the charisma and passion that ignited alot of Japanese fans.

#6: Royce Gracie Yes, the first UFC tournament winner needs to be on this list. He brought BJJ to the public and, obviously, brought submissions to the forefront of MMA. He also served, in the beginning days, as an example of a world class competitor in the sport.

#5: Ken Shamrock He was, really the first figurehead of MMA. He debated John McCain on national television and whupped the senator's ass. A good fighter, but a great spokesman for the sport.

#4: Kazushi Sakuraba How do I justify putting him this high on the list? Without him, Japanese MMA would probably have never taken off and we would still be living in under the Gracie Regime.

#3: Royler Gracie Responsible for much of the funding of UFC 1, as well as the organizing and the inviting of all of the fighters. Without him, the UFC would never have become credible, and neither would the sport.

#2: Dana White He brought the sport to the masses. Probably the greatest single achievement in the history of the sport.

#1: The Fertitta Brothers They gambled on the UFC, they brought in Dana White and they did everything that they could to legitimize and legalize the sport. They definitely did more for the sport than any person, or even group of people, in the world.
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Old 04-04-2007, 02:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnseenKing
Not many Martial Artists, in the 60s, had as a diverse fighting stye as Bruce Lee.
There was many of them that did. None of them had 6 internationally released movies acredited to their names. He wasn't alone (neither was he the first martial artist) when it came to cross training. Gene LeBell, Masatatsu Oyama, would also stand among those who would be named alongside Lee who tried to further their arts outside of the confines of their traditional styles. Hell, James Cagney was an amateur boxer and studied Judo. He showcased those skills in the 1945 movie Blood on the Sun. That would predate Lee by over a decade. I could probably name off a good handful of other martial artists from around the same time and earlier that fall under the same archaetype martial artist. Even if it did, I'm not downplaying his influence on the Martial Arts community for the last half century. Rather, I'd like people to keep things in a realistic perspective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IronMan
#3: Royler Gracie Responsible for much of the funding of UFC 1, as well as the organizing and the inviting of all of the fighters. Without him, the UFC would never have become credible, and neither would the sport.
Don't you mean Rorion Gracie? If I recall correctly, isn't he the one who approached SEG about putting together the first 2 UFC's? I don't think Royler was in the states teaching yet at the time of the first UFC.
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