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Today is the UFC’s 15th birthday and in celebration of that, Jordan Breen has put together a nice little history piece on the sport and it’s growing pains over the years. While the agony of UFC 33 is a close second place, my favorite part of the article is how Breen got into the sport:

I was in a local convenience store — strangely called Michael’s Market, despite being run by an Iranian named Bill who only in my maturity did I realize was a dead ringer for Chemical Ali — and was trying to be as 007 as possible in sneaking glances around the ever-adversarial shower curtain that acted as a force field for the adult entertainment section.

As luck, and perhaps fate, would have it, the sports-related videos happened to be an unexpected neighbor with the XXX genre, and my eye was caught by a host of UFC box covers. I decided to be an intrepid renter rather than a futile porno peeker, and I grabbed copies of UFC 6 and 7. It was truly a more beautiful time, before Blockbuster devoured the rental universe, when a precocious 10-year-old could acquire Tank Abbott’s exploits without any form of scrutiny or certification.

This story calls out to me because it’s similar to my first exposure to the UFC. When the Super VideoTron got the first two UFC tapes in I quickly rented them up, hoping the heavy plastic clamshell cases and a copy of Wrestlemania 9 added in would allow me to sneak the ultra-violent videos past my mom and the dude working the counter. My dad had already stopped me from renting UFC videos once (along with Eddie Murphy movies because of the language … he was a hard ass sometimes), so I was quite proud of my subterfuge and used the same methods for the next few years to keep up with the sport until I got a job at 16 and started ordering the tapes from MusicWorld for 15 bucks a pop. Yep, I just pulled a “When I was a kid, UFC videos cost a nickel” story out of my dusty ass.

Those were the days … I had no idea what the fuck I was watching. All I knew was that it looked like it hurt and I was quite happy to sit two feet from the television in awe even for the boring-ass Ultimate Ultimate, waiting patiently for pain to be dealt out.

Share your oldschool and/or TUF noob stories in the comments below! How did you become a fan?

You know, I’d be more inclined to believe that Kevin Iole wasn’t a UFC mouthpiece if his articles didn’t mirror the articles being released by the UFC’s own press corps.

I’m beginning to suspect that Dana White might just have a drug problem. It’s the only way I can explain why he’s been doing such a piss poor job of promoting UFC 91. MMA Payout just announced the numbers for viewers that tuned in to watch the countdown show were well below average.

Of course, apart from the mega fight between Brock and Randy, this card barely deserves to be a free live event, let alone a pay per view. The Stevenson vs Florian fight has promise, but not a single human being cares about Gonzaga since his spirit was broken by Couture. While Quarry may have a fan or two (literally), his last fight with Starnes felt as though my face was smeared in a shitty diaper (not that it was his fault, but I can still taste it in my mouth).

I feel weird complaining on the quality of the card, but my suspicion is that every one knows secretly that this might actually be a steaming pile of shit. Although I don’t doubt that I’ll be entertained, I watch MMA for a living, and I haven’t missed one pay per view in over 2 years now. They don’t need to worry about guys like me, but they really didn’t do enough to attract more casual fans. Sure, Brock is a big name and a great way to bring WWE fans into the fray, but if the Countdown show did so poorly, it sounds like Dana might have ben resting on his laurels on this one.

Highlight – The Fall: Showing the fall of Chuck Liddell, Quinton Jackson, and Mirko Crocop. Pretty cool highlight … looking forward to the sequel, “The Rise”.

The rest of the videos are embedded after the jump!

Forrest Griffin, football star: Here’s Forrest Griffin headbutting someone with a football helmet. As in they have one … and he doesn’t.

UFC 2009 gameplay: Doesn’t look very fluid to me, but maybe I’m expecting too much for a game that’s still under development.

Kenny Florian with MMA Girl again: What, are they dating or something? This is the third or fourth Kenny video. They move out of the dark cave they were filming in before and Kenny shows off a pretty slick choke.

BJ Penn training: Pull ups and wall climbs aplenty as BJ works on putting on 170 pounds worth of muscle.

Jon Fitch training in Thailand: I’ve always got big respect for fighters that go out and work on their weaknesses. I don’t know if I’d say Fitch’s striking was a weakness, but it’s wicked that he’s out in Thailand working his ass off to get even better.

FIGHTS!

  • Fedor Highlight “Invincible”
  • Wanderlei Silva Highlight “Birth of an Axe Murderer”
  • Kimbo SLice vs Tank Abbott
  • Matt Serra Vs Georges St-Pierre 1

Forrest Griffin: Football star

UFC 2009 gameplay

Kenny Florian with MMA Girl again

BJ Penn training:

Jon Fitch training in Thailand

Fedor Highlight “Invincible”

Wanderlei Silva Highlight “Birth of an Axe Murderer”

Kimbo SLice vs Tank Abbott

Matt Serra Vs Georges St-Pierre 1

Deciding to say “Fuck it” as far as fighting ProElite and/or Showtime for the Cage Rage name, founder Dave O’Donnell has just started up a new promotion called Ultimate Challenge UK. Here’s the statement he’s issued on the change (which I have cut up to include only the interesting bits):

From the promoters behind Cage Rage and Fighting Hurts comes Ultimate Challenge UK, a bigger, faster, tougher MMA experience delivering all the drama, glory and full contact fighting from the best of British fighters.

Dave O’Donnell, Director, Ultimate Challenge UK, said: “This is our chance to put fighting first, delivering more excitement, bigger events and all the drama of full contact fighting that the fans have been waiting for. We are no longer affiliated with Cage Rage or EliteXC and have made the decision to found Ultimate Challenge UK to ensure we retain complete control of our future. Ultimate Challenge UK allows us to deliver professional, high profile MMA events and continue to represent the best of UK MMA to a global audience.”

“We started out in this business on our own and now, older and wiser, we are back on our own. I can’t comment on EliteXC or Cage Rage for legal reasons, but I can say that Ultimate Challenge UK has the support of the UK’s top MMA fighters.”

Following the success of the knockout reality MMA show ‘Fighting Hurts’ broadcast on Nuts TV, Ultimate Challenge UK can confirm that a second series will be in production in 2009.

While I’m sure O’Donnel is sad to lose the Cage Rage name, I’m sure he’s happy enough walking away with all the contacts and resources he developped while burning through ProElite’s cash. But still … Ultimate Challenge UK? Can it get any more derivative than that?

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