In the world of professional sports, mixed martial arts is a relatively new market. The UFC is one of the most popular sports and has come a long way in the nearly 30 years since it was created. The organization has always been somewhat controversial but has helped propel MMA to the forefront of the fighting world. The UFC now has over 60 broadcast partners, streaming live matches to more than 160 countries.
Much has happened in the past ten years of UFC action, making it probably the most critical era in the company’s history. The organization has captured the attention of fight fans and is quickly becoming the most popular combat sport in the world. It’s also a popular sport for fans that like to put effort into the bouts and keep up with the current UFC odds. There has also been a lot in the past 30 years, along with many facts about the organization that fans should know. Here’s a look at some of those:
Chuck Norris inspired the Octagon.
The UFC cage called the Octagon is its trademarked name synonymous with the organization. The idea for the eight-sided cage was conceived by film and video directory Jason Cusson for the UFC in 1993 and was inspired by an average 1980 martial arts movie called The Octagon starring Chuck Norris.
This inspired Cusson to focus on this design for the first-ever UFC event. Since then, there have been numerous copycats in other MMA companies around the world which base their strategies on that Cusson octagon.
The UFC Championship Belt Is Made Of Real Gold
The UFC Championship belt may look similar to belts awarded in other sports organizations, such as professional boxing or wrestling. However, it’s said to be made using two pounds of gold, making it more valuable than any other belt.
The belt weighs 5.5 pounds and is worth as much as $333,000. It also comes with a black velvet carrying case to prevent damage. Fighters are also allowed to keep the belts, even if they lose in a championship fight.
The UFC is Owned By Endeavor
Most fans don’t know that Endeavor Group Holdings, a Beverly Hills, CA-based holding company for talent and media agencies, owns UFC. The company was created in 2009 after a merger between the William Morris Agency and the Endeavor Talent Agency. They purchased the UFC in 2016 for $4 billion. Endeavor also represents the NHL and NFL and is the company behind the Miss Universe pageant.
People also may need to learn that the middle eastern country of Dubai owns part of the UFC, even after the company’s sale in 2016. Flash Entertainment, based in Abu Dhabi, is keeping its 10% share as the UFC looks to expand further into Arab countries and throughout Asia.
Longest Win Streak Held By Igor Vovchanchyn
Old-school UFC fans will remember one of the most imposing figures to step into the cage, Igor Vovchanchyn. He debuted as an MMA fighter in 1995 and won nine open-weight tournaments. He took on all comers and was one of the scariest characters inside and outside the Octagon.
Igor was a powerful striker with 32 consecutive wins, still the record in all mixed martial arts. He’s tied with Travis Fulton with a 40-bout unbeaten streak, not counting his one no-contest.
Despite his small stature, he was always known for his toughness and strength. Stories from Igor’s childhood in Ukraine say that local shopkeepers in his town would close their doors when the young boy would get mad and run through the streets destroying everything in his path. Fans of his fights would witness the same when he stepped into the Octagon.