How Muhammad Ali and Pro-Wrestling Inspired UFC

Muhammad Ali is one of the greatest of all-time boxing legends that lived on planet Earth. Not only did Muhammad Ali mark his fists and footsteps inside the boxing circle, but he transcended his greatness outside the sports as well. Ali became an important figure for the entire sports community.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali dominated boxing sports with his insane boxing skills, brushy nature, and loudmouth. However, there was a time when The Greatest was fascinated by professional wrestling.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

When Ali’s charm for pro wrestling combined with his mouthpiece skills, it gave birth to and inspired the modern mixed martial arts promotion UFC.

Muhammad Ali and his effect on mixed martial arts!

In the 1960s, Muhammad Ali was already an Olympic Gold Medalist in boxing. But Ali wanted more and filled the arena with more crowd and big fat checks. So, when Ali met the wrestling legend, Gorgeous George, in Las Vegas in June 1961, he found the missing ingredient in his persona.

Gorgeous George told Muhammad Ali to be a bad guy in disguise. But, since Ali wanted to amuse the world with his arrogance, charisma, and wordplay, he took George’s advice to his heart. From that point onwards, for Ali, it wasn’t just about fight nights anymore; it was about showtime.

Muhammad Ali drew enormous attention when he became a bad mouther to his opponents and a bragger of his own greatness. Ali sold fights with his hard punch knock-out skills and cutting impressive promos.

Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali stands over Sonny Liston and taunts him to get up during their title fight. Ali knocked Liston out in one minute in the first round during their bout at the Central Maine Youth Center in Lewiston, Maine.

The Greatest became a crowd-puller as he was on the billboards everywhere. Ali ate the pages from the pro wrestling playbook. Ali’s arrogant persona made an influence on modern mixed martial arts.

Watch This Story: WWE Superstars With The Highest Number of WrestleMania Matches

When we look at the combat sports promotion UFC, they have adapted a blueprint from Ali and pro wrestling. As a result, UFC fighters put on incredible fights for the audience. However, one of the trending visions in the UFC is honing mic skills.

How pro wrestling prompted UFC to adapt mic skills?

Mic skills, talking trash, and smacking opponents originated from professional wrestling, for those who don’t know. Even when Ali started getting a kick from what Gorgeous George taught him, he did it better than some wrestlers. Many WWE legends and superstars like Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and even The Rock had that similar voice to Muhammad Ali in their promos.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

In Tokyo, Ali’s ultimate crossover with professional wrestling was a boxer vs. wrestler match. He battled against former retired wrestler Antonio Inoki on June 26, 1976. However, many fans imagined that the fight was fake between the two because of the involvement of wrestling. However, Ali and Inoki’s fight was absolute, resulting in a bizarre contest.

This match created a global thunder via a closed-circuit broadcast. Years later, the closed-circuit broadcast was replaced by pay-per-views. This became the primary source of profit for wrestling, boxing, and MMA.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

DIVE DEEPER

Why Did Muhammad Ali Change His Name?

28 days ago

However, mixed martial arts promotion UFC has fighters that bring money and attention to the mainstream media inspired by Muhammad Ali and wrestling.

Leave a Comment