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Back in the day when smokescreen venues were needed

MMATorch is an offshoot of PWTorch aka Pro Wrestling Torch. Don’t hold that against them too much though, because they’ve been around for freaking ever and occasionally pull out uber-old interviews with UFC ownership from the mid-90s. Here’s an interview with Art Davie (now of X-Arm fame) talking about how the UFC got put together and some of the trouble they were having with the government:

Keller: And the next event is not in Anchorage?

Davie: No, it’s not. Anchorage is a smoke-screen. We have a lot of smoke-screens now that we have Senator McCain involved in “helping to promote” our events (laughs). He will be getting the keys and the (ownership papers) to his car if he continues to perform (for us).

Keller: Two years ago did you have any idea you would come across the type of political grandstanding and protesting that you have?

Davie: We anticipated it. I used to joke about the fact that I thought it would be Pat Schroeder because we incorporated as a limited liability company in Colorado. I said it will be some politically correct liberal who comes along and decides what we are doing is the victimization of fighters. I thought Schroeder because she’s from Colorado and we ran our event in Denver. It didn’t turn out to be her at all. It turned out to be a Republican P.O.W. war hero. Very surprising. It shows you can’t pick who your friends and enemies are going to be. He came out of the woodwork. He was a college boxer at the Naval Academy. He understands boxing. He doesn’t know beans about the martial arts.

Keller: Do you find the argument just absurdly ignorant that UFC is tremendously more dangerous than just about anything else or do you think there are some elements of truth to the critics’ claims?

Davie: It’s completely counter to that. It represents a victory of emotion over reason. The fact of the matter is it is intrinsically safer than even boxing where you have removed all the defensive elements. In boxing you mandate that people are continually separated and strike each other so they are hit 40 or 60 times in a round with a padded fist. Everybody in boxing and out of boxing knows that as soon as you put a boxing glove on a man’s hand you turn it into a weapon. In the interest of safety we ask our fighters not to wear gloves. You punch a man in his head with your bare hands, it’s like punching a bowling ball. The hand will break before you are able to do cerebral trauma. It’s emotion over reason. The politicians fan that flame. They can’t solve crime, they can’t solve poverty, they can’t solve the deficit, what they think they can solve is, my god, this bare knuckle, brutal event.

I can’t really blame them. I went back and re-watched a lot of the old UFC events … seeing dudes lying on the ground taking 15-20 knees to the spine and face was pretty hardcore to say the least. It’s a freaking MIRACLE that half the slobs that showed up on the early cards didn’t end up dying in the cage.