A quarter of a century into its run, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has shown no signs of slowing down. Things were not always so peachy, however.
The UFC has grown from an almost universally reviled, obscure cage fighting promotion to a $4.2 billion dollar outfit in just about twenty-five years. That's less time than it has taken George R. R. Martin to get to the penultimate novel in his A Song of Ice and Fire series. Less than the championship drought through which many a pro sports team (hey there, Detroit Tigers) has suffered.
Watching the UFC grow to the pinnacle of the mixed martial arts world has been a fascinating experience to say the least. It has also been a bit like watching a particularly violent child grow into a man. In any case, the promotion once referred to as "human cockfighting" by U.S. Senator John McCain is now the largest combat sports promotion in the world. And as it ventures out into new territory (reportedly looking to dip its toes into the boxing world), it seems like a perfect time to look at some of the milestones along the way.
From backroom deals to in-cage action, here are ten days that changed the UFC forever.
Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.