It was 22 years ago this month that the world of mixed martial arts was changed forever. It was then that first the UFC took place in Denver, Colorado. One of the key people responsible for it all coming together was Art Davie. Last year we spoke with Art about that very topic, as well as many others, here on CYInterview [see here].
It was Art’s vision, passion and desire, along with that of a few other individuals, to bring the best fighters in the world together for one special night. Over two decades later, the UFC is a worldwide business and MMA is a sport that is popular globally.
At the first UFC, Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie fought. The two fighters are planning to face off again in February of 2016. It is a testament to famous brand names in the sport and Mr. Davie’s original belief that the best should square off against each other.
Today, Ronda Rousey is arguably UFC’s best known fighter, the biggest brand name in the world of mixed martial arts. Her recent loss to Holly Holm made worldwide news and shocked many. However, when it comes to mixed martial arts, it is extremely rare to stay in the game any length of time without tasting defeat.
To discuss what he has been up to since we spoke last year, get his thoughts on history repeating itself with Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock and what he thinks about Ronda Rousey, we welcome back Art Davie for a very interesting conversation about the past, present and future of the UFC and MMA.
Featured columnist Jay Bildstein joins us for this segment and as always provides us with his insightful fighting analysis. You can read the highlights and listen to the entire CYInterview below:
Listen to the entire Art Davie CYInterview:
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Art Davie revealed to us that his book, Is This Legal? The Inside Story of The First UFC from the Man Who Created It, is in the early stages of being made into a movie. Speaking about the project, he shared this:
“At the end of March, the beginning of April, the book was optioned by Legacy Film Entertainment Partners. Legacy Entertainment Partners optioned the book to make a film. So that has continued to proceed. They conducted some research to find the right screenwriter and after three months, they finally narrowed it down to two individuals that they finally signed and I just had a chance last Friday to see the new treatment, which is the preparatory for the screenplay that they will write. So we’re excited to think that the book may reach a larger audience. …
They have a tentative budget of 30 million dollars and they hired Robert Latham Brown as a producer and production manager and Mel Brooks gave him the nickname Mr. On Budget. He’s famous in Hollywood for being able to bring a film in on budget and he also teaches film at the USC film school.”
This month marks 22 years since the first UFC. It was announced recently that Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie, two fighters from the first UFC, have decided to collide once again, this time, however, for Bellator on February 19, 2016. Getting his thoughts on two of the fighters he put in the first UFC event back in 1993, now squaring off again, he said this:
“I am hoping that these two guys really get themselves prepared to the max and give the fans what I think they’d like to see. It is the third meeting. We all remember the first one and Ken I don’t think has ever forgotten the first one. And of course in the second meeting in UFC 5: The Super Fight, I saw and talked to John McCarthy recently and he reminded me that I had him stand them up in the overtime and that’s when Shamrock caught Royce with that punch. A lot of people feel that maybe that punch was the difference even though the fight had to be ruled a draw, but Shamrock really won that second fight.”
Last weekend at UFC 193, Ronda Rousey suffered her first loss of her career, being defeated by Holly Holm. Currently, Rousey is arguably the most famous female athlete in the world. On whether Ronda Rousey has been marketed in the wrong way, with the hype, the trash talking and what some people might view as sub optimal sportsmanship, Art shared this:
“Have they mis-marketed her? I’m not sure. You know, many fighters, male and female require a certain state of mind for them to get the best out of themselves in a cage or a ring and some of them require, they have to get themselves really angry, they have to get themselves in a real aggressive testosterone driven state of mind. You have to bring a lot of that to the party anyway, but I think some fighters really rely on that approach. …
I think Ronda may have some of this herself as an athlete. She has certainly been the most important thing in martial arts. As you pointed out Jay, she may be the best known female athlete now on the planet. What she has done for the sport of MMA is really extraordinary. If I were promoting at all in this era, I would’ve looked to someone like Ronda.”
Last year, Art was inducted into the Legends of MMA Hall of Fame. [See coverage of that on CYInterview here]. On what that night meant to him, he said this:
“When I gave the speech that night, I said it was a great honor because whenever your peers get together and give you credit for something that you’ve done, anyone, promoter, athlete, manager, I think all of us, you know, feel that it’s a special moment. It was a pleasure for me also that night because, you know, my good friend John McCarthy was also being honored and John and I go back to the first UFC. So it was a great thrill and I was really pleased that they took the time and the effort to give me a ring. I treasure it today.”
You can purchase a copy of Art Davie’s book clicking here..
You can follow Art Davie on Twitter here.
You can email Chris Yandek at ChrisYandek@CYInterview.com
You can follow Chris Yandek on Twitter here.