When the unregulated, bare-knuckle Ultimate Fighting Championships first appeared on the national scene in the early 1990s, the draw was more than bloodlust. The concept was a one-night tournament that would determine the best pure fighter in the world.
In the nearly two decades (!) since its inception, the sport has seen dramatic changes. So much so, in fact, that the previous statement is a slight misnomer, for it might be more accurate to say that it has since become a sport. With State Athletic Commissions providing oversight as well as the Unified Rules of MMA adopted by the New Jersey State Athletic Commission in 2000 becoming the standard in the industry, what we see today is an amalgamation of submission wrestling with a much tamer, safer version of kickboxing that bears little to no resemblance to the concept that was introduced to American audiences in 1994.
Yet, in 2011, Strikeforce wants to turn the clock back and sell the mainstream on a Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament.