As George St. Pierre and Carlos Condit prepare to do battle at UFC 154 this weekend in Montreal, the crowd in attendance will be made up of affluent, knowledgeable fight fans (and even a few, gulp, women!) from around the world. The presentation and merchandising will both fuel a slick moneymaking machine that funds the all powerful Zuffa corporation.
But it wasn’t always this way. Not by a long shot.
Back in the day, the Ultimate Fighting Championship was down and dirty – a kind of freak show that appealed only to the hardcore, the under-employed and those trailblazing men who needed some kind of rebel background noise for their hotel-based bachelor parties.
Yes, UFC 1 was a totally different animal from the Joe Rogan-fueled rear-naked choke fest of today. And while many will argue that less Joe Rogan = more, there’s no denying the bloodthirsty, barroom brawl nature of the first Ultimate Fighting Championship event made it a completely different sport.
What made UFC 1 so badass?