Utah MMA

The Utah MMA scene has exploded in the past decade. Many ask what was the nexus of this explosion. You need look no further than a small handful of organizations, that were responsible for introducing many people to MMA in the Salt Lake City area.

Many felt the conservative community in Utah would not support the fringe sport of Mixed Martial Arts in Utah. Others said there were not enough fighters to fill cards on a weekly basis. Perhaps out of ignorance, or possible just out of his stubborn nature, this handful of promoters would not be deterred. They were up to the challenge. Strangely, the difficulties they would face wouldn’t come until they had taken the fledgling sport to great heights. (More about that later.)

In fact, there were more than enough participants, and there became an overwhelming level of support for the show from the public. Promoters attributes this success to ‘the packaging.’ “We weren’t trying to be the UFC. Every other organization that came along, tried to compete with them. We understood early on who we were, and what we were capable of becoming.” Said one promoter. He likened the Utah-based MMA organizations to ‘March Madness’ compared to the UFC being the NBA Finals. People thumbing through the channels would see somebody they knew from high school, or somebody they were certain they could compete with inside the cage- as opposed to the ‘Super Athletes’ the UFC was putting in front of them. There was an immediate connection with what they were watching, and before they knew it, they were singing up to compete on Salt Lake’s MMA stage.

Weekly television shows gave many novice fighters an opportunity to compete in Utah MMA, and allowed those who had a little experience hone their skills to move on to bigger and better things, like the UFC. Many of those competitors found out right away, they had no business stepping inside that cage. ‘It looked a lot easier on TV’, says one competitor from the early days. “In the early days, it wasn’t uncommon for fighters to run out the back door before the show even started. They would show up and see their opponent, and decide this wasn’t for them,” One promoter recollects.

Others overcame those first-night jitters, and made it to the pinnacle of the sport. There are at least a dozen Utah MMA fighters that have graced the inside of the UFC’s Octagon, and 90% of them got their start in local Salt Lake City MMA events. Josh Burkman, Demarques Johnson, Court McGee, Steven Siler, Brandon Melendez, Kyacey Uscola, Derek Downey all got their start in the Utah Mixed Martial Arts scene. Notable athletes form the national stage like Frank Shamrock, Jeremy Horn, Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Ricco Rodriguez, and current UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson have all fought in locally produced Utah MMA events. Chuck Liddel, Tito Ortiz, Matt Hughes, Tim Silvia, Jeff Monson, and many others big name MMA figures have attended Salt Lake MMA events.

The Utah MMA TV show brought Utah Mixed Martial Arts to the fore. People were able to tune in each week on network television to watch local Utah MMA fighters compete inside the cage. In fact, the wildly popular Utah MMA TV show is credited, by Grappling Magazine, as being the first Mixed Martial Arts TV show on network television anywhere in the world. “It wasn’t easy getting on television in the beginning. I pitched this show to hundreds of TV stations that first year, and they all looked at me like I was out of my mind. Just a few years later, I had them beating down my door for my library of over 400 episodes of pure Utah MMA action.”

Initially, those Mixed Martial Arts programs were only allowed on late-night television. In the early days, MMA was seen on the local UPN Affiliate at midnight. But eventually Utah MMA was brought into prime time, then moved to the bigger stations, where they ultimately found a home on local television on FOX 13.

This small handful of people accomplished a feat no other organization would be able to match. MMA fans couldn’t get enough of the hard-hitting action. Soon, MMA promoters put on LIVE MMA events every week for over a decade. For almost a year, they did two MMA shows a week-Friday Night MMA in Ogden, and Saturday Night MMA in Salt Lake City.

If being the pinnacle of Utah MMA wasn’t enough, the they took their championship series to the Caribbean Island of Antigua for a Light Heavyweight Championship tournament that featured competitors from all over the country.

The group of promoters decided their next move was to be a regional product, hosting events in Elko Nevada, Rock Springs Wyoming, St. George, Vernal, Tooele, and Cedar City. It became their goal to bring Utah MMA to ALL of the fans that faithfully tuned in each week on television.

All this hard work has paid off for the sport of MMA in Utah, the athletes wishing to participate in Utah MMA, and of course the greatest MMA fans in the world, Utah MMA fans.

Nicole Thomas

Next Post

A DVD Can Train You How to Defend and Secure Your self in Occasions When You Require It Most

Fri Dec 30 , 2022
A DVD enables you to enjoy anything and everything- comprehensive-duration flicks, online video clips, pics, and so forth. so why not use it for you and your family’s security? Of course, a DVD can educate you how to defend and secure on your own towards intruders and other criminals. A […]
A DVD Can Train You How to Defend and Secure Your self in Occasions When You Require It Most

You May Like