Another Look Back At MMA’s Early Days

MMA,Old School MMA,Kevin Randleman,Murillo Bustamante,Tom Erickson,Mark Coleman

Later in his career Kevin Randleman lost focus and just took paychecks, but few could match his ferocity in the early days of MMA!

In the 90′s MMA was a whole different sport than it is today, and there are several blogs that highlight the differences.  In the United States, Jiu Jitsu was not widely practiced like it is today, and the BJJ practitioners that were coming to the US to compete were treated with a lot of reverence.  Mario Sperry, Murillo Bustamante and waves of others led a contingent from the land where Vale Tudo was born.   The American answer came from a contingent of greco and freestyle wrestlers who crossed over to MMA, bringing ferocity and gameness to combat the calculated technique of the Brazilians.  Some incredible battles and some incredible mismatches ensued!

Both Jiu Jitsu and Wrestling had their pioneers.  The wrestlers were led by Mark Coleman, who brought in Kevin Randleman and a contingent of other decorated wrestlers to the sport of MMA.  For every Randleman or Dan Henderson that appeared on the scene, there is an Alan Fried, Brian Keck or Gerald Taylor.  Those men are all decorated wrestlers who finished their MMA careers at 0-1.  Clearly, MMA was not for every wrestler.

Jiu Jitsu was writing a similar history, as for every fierce Ralph Gracie or calculating Murillo Bustamante, there would be an Amuary Bitteti or Carlson Gracie Jr.  Even Hugo Duarte, a Luta Livre fighter from Brazil came to the USA with a reputation that was fearsome, until Tank Abbott woke everyone up and annihilated him.

Slowly the facts emerged and the sport changed into what it is today.  It wasn’t so much the discipline you came from, it was more the athleticism and mental makeup of the guys at the top level who succeed.  And that is where we stand today.

Check out the finals from the Brazil Open, which pitted American Wrestlers Kevin Randleman and Tom Erickson in a fight where Randleman was brutally KO’d.  Wrestler on wrestler violence -


This is Murillo Bustamante, winning a match over a terrified opponent .  This match result should read – ‘Winner: Bustamante, Tap out to reputation’.


For another interesting nugget on old school, 90′s MMA take a look at this blog -!


About Miguel

MMA matchmaker since 1997. No one besides Joe Silva has made more fights than me.
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