However April 27 was the good time for the Brooklyn native to get his name to the Contributor’s wing of the Hall, because it marked the 25th anniversary of the day Davie acquired a fax from SEG (Semaphore Leisure Group) agreeing to produce the UFC’s first occasion on Pay-Per-View on November 12, 1993.
Little did he know the place all of it would lead.
“To see how far this has evolved and how far it’s moved, it’s real exciting,” mentioned Davie. “When you look at what’s happened in the last 10, 15 years, Zuffa moved this into the mainstream, and it’s really a pleasure for me to see that there’s now an interest in educating the fan about the early years and how it all began. So it’s been a great opportunity for me, and I can honestly say that I’m real thrilled that they’ve extended this invitation to induct me on July 5th.”
Right this moment, the UFC’s Octagon travels round the globe, attracting hundreds of thousands of followers as its stars have develop into part of standard tradition. Sure, Davie couldn’t have probably predicted the place the sport he helped create was going, however then once more, don’t put something previous him, as he at all times had a imaginative and prescient that what would develop into combined martial arts was one thing everybody may relate to. And at all times had been.
“(The first UFC’s creative director) John Milius and I used to talk about this in terms of what it was and where it was going,” mentioned Davie. “And John knew that I had been inspired by pankration. My great inspiration for the UFC was not kumite in Asia, it was the fact that for more than a thousand years, the most popular sport and the only sport to rival it was horseracing, was something called pankration. And other than no biting and eye gouging, there was kicking and punching, throws, holds and chokes, grappling and striking, and it lasted for 1,041 years until the Roman Emperor banned it. So we used to talk about the fact that down the road, given the fact that maybe soccer and fighting are the two sports that young men and women would be interested in worldwide, in a way it’s not a shock to see how this has grown. And when I’m asked where I think it will be long after I’m gone, it will be bigger. You’ll be crowning the Ultimate Fighting champion and who knows how many people worldwide will be fascinated by that particular bout that night.”
Twenty 5 years after that first occasion at McNichols Area in Denver, we will now rejoice the historical past of the promotion and nonetheless have the alternative to hear first-hand from those that created it, like Davie. However a few of us have a principle that if Royce Gracie, the skinny child from Brazil who discovered a manner to make three opponents stop that night time with a then-mysterious martial artwork referred to as jiu-jitsu, doesn’t win the first UFC event, perhaps there isn’t a UFC immediately. Why? Properly, Gracie was the least intimidating competitor in a subject that included Ken Shamrock, an intimidating determine straight out of central casting who would in the future earn his personal spot in the UFC Hall of Fame. He was the favourite and he appeared the half. If he wins, nicely, everybody’s predictions have been right: the huge, imposing man will at all times get his hand raised in a fight.
“I was eager to have Rickson (Gracie) be the Gracie athlete and (UFC co-founder) Rorion (Gracie), by July, had not made a selection,” remembers Davie. “In May, I’m getting people responding to my ads in the magazines and my faxes and my phone calls. And Rorion said, ‘You know, forget my political problems with Rickson; it would be better to have Royce.’ I said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘He looks like a little altar boy in that white gi. If he wins the event, it’s the Bruce Lee thing. A little guy with skill can beat a big guy.’ They wanted to see if the skill was going to be dominant. Ken Wayne Shamrock looked like Captain America. And with that name, it was a marquee name, he had that handsome face, that big jaw, the muscles and the red speedo. If he wins, I’m not sure we’d be talking today. I think you might be right about that.”
Gracie did win, and followers stored tuning in. It was a victory for Davie, who put in a variety of behind the scenes, thankless work, crammed with rejection, to get the UFC off the floor.
“So many people seemed to have the same response,” he mentioned of the recruiting course of for the occasion. “They wanted to know if I was casting for a movie. What are you talking about? I’m talking about a no holds barred event. ‘You know, my guy looks really good in front of the camera. Is this a movie? Are you looking for someone to play the karate guy?’ I’m looking for a fighter. (Laughs) So that was an ongoing problem and it was exacerbated when I had to call Japan looking for a sumo wrestler. They would hang up on me.”
Even in the States, Davie bumped into brick partitions when on the lookout for fighters. He remembers speaking to the late, nice boxing coach Emanuel Steward about bringing in a heavyweight from his Kronk Health club in Detroit.
“He said, ‘You want a heavyweight boxer to fight one of these guys in karate pajamas. What are you smoking or drinking and how come you’re not sharing?’ (Laughs) I had the same problem at Joe Frazier’s Gym, but I got two cutmen out of that, the great Leon Tabbs and the great Sam Solomon, but no boxers.”
And earlier than SEG joined the get together, the likes of HBO and Showtime turned Davie down, saying that there was no manner this idea would work. However Artwork Davie is a Brooklyn man, and Brooklyn guys don’t go away with out a fight.
“I said, ‘I’m gonna be the guy that’s gonna monetize the martial arts,’” Davie mentioned. “They laughed. They thought I was nuts. But I was adamant and I had two things going for me. One, I wasn’t a fighter, but I was a salesperson and I was persistent. And once I had decided I was gonna do something, it was very tough to stop me because I would just keep coming. You couldn’t hurt my feelings.”
Now he’s a UFC Hall of Famer.
“This has really become what it needed to be,” he mentioned. “Rorion used to say, ‘If you’re at a football game and a fight breaks out in the stands, everybody looks at the fight in the stands.’ (Laughs) It’s primal, we all want to watch it. So what the UFC did was take something and finally packaged it and presented it in such a way that it could really travel to where it’s gone.”