Pro-Wrestling used to be real. Mixed Martial Arts used to be too….
Few people today are aware that professional wrestling used to be a real sport. It didn’t last long this way but its origins are from a legitimate sporting contest. Some have begun to claim that on occasion, mixed martial arts has become every bit as fake as pro-wrestling.
Before we begin, a brief history of how pro-wrestling turned fake is in order.
In the book “Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling”, author David Shoemaker details the history of pro-wrestling’s legitimate roots. Wrestlers such as Frank Gotch would out-wrestle their opponents in legitimate wrestling bouts during the late 1800s and early 1900s but the wrestlers of his day quickly figured out an easier way to make a dollar. While legitimate wrestling contests were grueling and resulted in injury, if the two opponents worked together to put on the appearance of an athletic contest but refrained from actually hurting one another, they would be free to perform the same show the next night and earn another pay cheque.
In other words, when pro-wrestling went fake, there wasn’t social media or the internet to call them out on it. They could travel from one town to the next and have the same match every night, all without getting injured in the process.
As the pro-wrestling industry began to admit to their fictional nature in the 1980s, a move to create legitimate fighting contests was born. Minoru Suzuki, who was/is a pro-wrestler in Japan, took a chance that the public would be willing to pay to see real fights when he created Pancrase. The promotion used pro-wrestling’s fictional rules as its base and produced fighters such as Ken Shamrock, who would later compete in the first-ever UFC events.
The promotions and fighters in mixed martial arts today have the same motivation to fix fights and lie to fans as the pro-wrestlers in the 1800s did. They just have less ability to get away with it. That isn’t to say plenty haven’t tried, however. In this article, we break down 10x in which an MMA promotion or fighter attempted to fix fights or otherwise scam the public from seeing a legitimate sporting contest. These are 10 times MMA was faker than pro-wrestling.
We’ll start things out with a fight some believed was the first fixed-fight in UFC history:
10. Oleg Taktarov vs Anthony Macias – UFC 6
Oleg Taktarov needed only 12 seconds to submit Anthony Macias at UFC 6. Referee, “Big” John McCarthy, would say this of the fight’s legitimacy:
“During the semifinal match between Oleg Taktarov and Anthony Macias, I believe I saw my first fixed fight in the UFC. Both fighters had the same manager, Buddy Albin, so I think it was decided backstage that Macias would throw the match so Oleg could advance to the finals and face Tank [Abbott] as fresh as possible. The fight went a little too smoothly for my tastes when Macias shot in and nearly fell into the guillotine choke, which he tapped out to in twelve seconds.”
If McCarthy is right and this was the first fixed-fight in UFC history, it only took the promotion 6 events to start going the way of pro-wrestling.