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Radio Interview – Art Davie – Creator of UFC




CLICK HERE FOR INTERVIEW:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6Vo5Ereza4&feature=share

Published on Jul 28, 2015

Art Davie, Creator of the UFC,  joins the program RADIO MMA and talks about creating the UFC, plus Dana White, Fixed Fights, the Gracie Challenge, and more!

 Since it’s release in July, 2014, Is This Legal? has ranked among Amazon’s top-five selling sports and martial arts biographies numerous times in both the paper and digital categories. Multiple sports and MMA writers and websites have published glowing book reviews, including Mike Straka, WrestlingObserver.com, TheMMACorner.com, CagePotato.com, and TheFightNerd.com.

Is This Legal? is Art Davie’s tell-all memoir about creating the inaugural UFC more than 20 years ago. Taking place on November 12, 1993 in Denver, CO, UFC 1 stands as a revolutionary moment in marital arts and combat sports, when ten men competed in a one-night, style-versus-style martial arts tournament that captured the imagination of 4,000 attending fans and almost 90,000 households across America via pay-per-view TV.

Described as equal parts Abner Doubleday, PT Barnum, and Dr. James Naismith,  Davie, as creator of the UFC, tells a vivid and fast-moving first-person account of navigating through a world of financial risks, political power-plays, egotistical fighters, family feuds, and numerous powder-keg situations – all to answer the age-old question of who is the world’s best fighter?

Is This Legal? also features a highly improbable cast of characters, including Academy Award nominee John Milius, NFL Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, action film star Chuck Norris, kickboxing champ Benny ‘The Jet’ Urquidez, Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend Rorion Gracie and pay-per-view TV pioneer Bob Meyrowitz.


The First UFC with Art Davie

IS THIS LEGAL?The story of the first UFC….

HIYAA PODCAST interview with ART DAVIE about the first UFC


Check out the interview I did with David Jones on Monday, January 19, 2015 about IS THIS LEGAL? All about the first UFC and all the players from Rorion & Royce Gracie, Semaphore Entertainment Group, Ken Shamrock and all the heroes, villains and fools who made the first event a success.

IS THIS LEGAL? is available online at Amazon.com and AscendBooks.com, as well as Barnes and Noble.

John Milius, Academy Award Nominated Screenwriter & Director of Conan the Barbarian
“This is the real inside story of how the UFC came together. Would make a great movie.”

Randy Couture, Hall-of-Fame MMA Champion & Film Star
“An honest, shocking, enthralling and nostalgic look back at the creation of the modern age of mixed martial arts in the United States. This is all the real stuff that no one gets to see or hear about when the newest combative sport of MMA was forged and Art Davie was one of its founding fathers! Thanks goes out to Art for persevering and giving all professional martial artists a place to ply our wares and test our skills.”

Frank Shamrock, Legendary MMA Champion
“The first UFC reset the martial arts culture in the US and created a brand-new American Sport that’s now become a global phenomenon. Art Davie’s vision of blending combat sports and entertainment inspired a Pay-Per-View and martial arts generation while creating new careers for combat sports athletes.”

Kevin Kay, President, SPIKE-TV
“I thought I knew just about everything there was to know on the birth of MMA in this country. What I found out in “Is This Legal?” is that I knew barely anything… Art and Sean have masterfully crafted a fascinating and compelling must-read for anyone who prides themselves on being a combat sports fan.”

Jimmy Smith, TV Color Commentator, Bellator MMA
“This book shows even a hardcore fan just how little they know about the origins of the UFC. It’s amazing to think that the sport I love was created by a cast of characters straight out of Alice in Wonderland. This book is a truly illuminating read.”

Ben Saunders, Pro MMA fighter & UFC Veteran
“The first ever Ultimate Fighting Championship changed my life. When I was 10 years old me and my best friend saw an ad for UFC 1 in Black Belt magazine. We were able to convince his dad to order the Pay-Per-View. It started with a gruesome fight where Teila Tuli got kicked in the face, which knocked his tooth out; then he got punched in the eye. Blood was dripping out of his eye and mouth. I was traumatized! I really thought I was going to witness someone die–like a real live Blood Sport. But, by the end of it, a skinny Brazilian dominated the whole thing. I was blown away. It was right then and there I looked at my friend and said, ‘I’m going to do that, and I’m going to be the Champion!’ I then dedicated my life to becoming the best martial artist I can be.”

Tedd Williams, Retired UFC Fighter/Owner – Gladiator Challenge, Inc.
“A must read for all UFC fans! The Man, the Myth and the Legend, Art Davie tells the true, inside story of how he created the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Laugh out loud when you discover the human side of how the toughest sport on the planet got its start.”

Ken Pavia, Founder, MMAgents & International MMA Promotional Consultant
“It’s about time we MMA addicts were told the “rest of the story” as to how our sport was birthed. Without Art Davie’s vision and perseverance there would never have been a Chuck Liddell, a Tito Ortiz, a Georges St-Pierre or an Anderson Silva. Thank you Art and Sean for letting us know all the hurdles that were overcome to create the sport of MMA. Is this Legal? is epic!”

Michael Mazzulli, Director, Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation & Contributing Author, Unified Rules of MMA
“Is This Legal? is a great history on the development of the world of mixed martial arts. It’s a remarkable account of taking a sport from a thought to a reality. Art and Sean explain all the trials and tribulations that had to be overcome to make it all happen.”

Rob Hinds, MMA Referee, Judge & ABC Officials’ Trainer
“Is this Legal? is a fantastic read for anyone, regardless of MMA knowledge. Compelling. Funny. Honest. Art and Sean depict both notable and behind the scenes information that most people never get the opportunity to experience or hear about. As someone who’s been involved in the sport wholeheartedly since 1994, I really appreciated and enjoyed learning more about how this all came together from an insider’s view.”

Darin Harvey, MMA Fight Manager
“I know a thing or two about the sport of MMA having managed some of the best fighters in the business. Art Davie single-handedly changed the world’s understanding of martial arts. Because of him, that age old question about who would win in a real fight has finally been answered. Art was a true genius and a pioneer. It’s been an honor to call him my friend.”

Jeff Meyer, CEO, Tuff ‘N’ Uff Promotions
“My brother Barry, my father and I used to go to watch the UFC in towns no one had ever heard of because at that time there was no sanctioning body to regulate MMA. We were hooked immediately! Barry said, “It was love at first fight.” And it was! Before long Barry started promoting MMA events on a part-time basis and I was right there with him. Eventually, we moved the company he founded, Tuff-N-Uff Productions, to Las Vegas and began promoting MMA events full-time. All of us in the MMA world owe a great debt of gratitude to Art Davie who was the visionary for what has become a worldwide recognized legitimate sport. Thank you Art!”

Charlie Anzalone, Deputy Inspector – Nevada Athletic Commission
“When Art Davie created the UFC, it changed the way the world looked at the martial arts. Misunderstood, misjudged and revolutionary, it led the way to the future of unarmed combat sports. I’m honored to have been there at the first UFC as a manager. Art’s the man!”

Earnest Hart, Jr., Former PKA World Kickboxing Champion
“Is This Legal? tells the whole story. I thought, “This Is crazy” when Art Davie first told me he was going to pit fighters from different fighting styles against one another. This was the birth of the UFC. Having been in the ring first hand as a kickboxer, “No Rules” was exhilarating; and America was soon salivating and wanting more. This book will entertain fans and newcomers, while at the same time reveal Art’s tenacity in attaining his dream, and making it a reality. I have the utmost respect for Art for taking his vision to great heights. I’m honored to call him a lifelong friend.”

Jason DeLucia, Retired MMA & Pancrase Fighter
“Is This Legal? tells the story of the genesis of the first Ultimate Fighting Championship. This UFC was a ship of fools, an ark that carried one of every type of martial artist. The champion who emerged, Royce Gracie, was a man whose art means gentleness. He showed that jiu-jitsu would inherit the earth, submitting every opponent with grace and dignity and not sheer violence. And the only man who can tell this story was the navigator, Art Davie. He was our Noah. Even though I was there, as one of the 10 fighters, this book blew me away.”

MMA reporter Susan Cingari interviews Art Davie

Art DavieMMA reporter Susan Cingari interviews Art Davie

Art discusses the first UFC in his book Is This Legal? The Inside Story of the First UFC from the Man Who Created it. Art talks about the Gracies, SEG, Chuck Norris and the ten fighters who competed in UFC 1. Art always identifies his favorite fighters over the years.

Goes down as one of Art Davie’s most interesting interviews.

Here’s the link:
On November 12, 1993, in Denver, Colorado, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) unleashed an explosion of blood – both figuratively and literally – as 6’5” Dutch kickboxer Gerard Gordeau smashed 420 lb. sumo wrestler Teila Tuli flush in the face, less than 30 seconds into the night’s opening fight. The kick sent one of Tuli’s teeth flying into the crowd, instantly establishing that, as one of the commentators said that night, “fighting is not what we thought it was.”

The UFC’s launch came with virtually no warning or fanfare. Yet nearly 90,000 households ordered and watched the event on pay-per-view television. This style-versus-style martial arts tournament was the creation of Art Davie, an ad man and serial entrepreneur who first conjured the idea four years prior.

Now, for the first time, the true story about the creation of mixed martial arts and the inaugural UFC is told by the man who started it all. Equal parts Abner Doubleday, PT Barnum, and Dr. James Naismith, Davie explains how he turned his vision, of a single-night tournament involving the greatest martial arts fighters, into the first UFC, which now stands as an international billion-dollar sports franchise.

This vivid and fast-moving first-person account explores Davie’s adventures navigating through a world of financial risks, political power-plays, egotistical fighters, family feuds, and numerous powder-keg situations – all to answer the age-old question of who is the world’s best fighter?

Written with noted MMA television play-by-play commentator Sean Wheelock (with the foreword by legendary MMA referee ‘Big’ John McCarthy), Is This Legal? is not just for fight fans, but also for anybody who appreciates the tale of a maverick who’ll stop at nothing to fulfill his vision and achieve his dreams.

Is This Legal? also features a highly improbable cast of characters, including Academy Award nominee John Milius, NFL Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, action film star Chuck Norris, kickboxing champ Benny ‘The Jet’ Urquidez, Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend Rorion Gracie and pay-per-view TV pioneer Bob Meyrowitz.

With the creation of the UFC, Art Davie started a revolution in the world of martial arts. And this revolution was televised.


Los Angeles, CA –
In conjunction with the 21st anniversary of ‘UFC 1: The Beginning,’ the UFC’s inaugural event from 1993, the University of MMA has produced a six-part video interview series featuring Art Davie, creator of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The first episode will launch this Wednesday, October 22, at 11:00am PST on the University of MMA’s YouTube channel (www.YouTube.com/UofMMA).

Entitled ‘Art Davie Speaks Out,’ the series will spotlight Mr. Davie’s thoughts on several topics related to the creation and evolution of mixed martial arts in North America.


EPISODE 1…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVMTDEJLtvM&list=PLaDolmsQ2vH9M0xdcXZberwoPUelxaKGc&index=2

EPISODE 2…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIPq_TYYALA&list=PLaDolmsQ2vH9M0xdcXZberwoPUelxaKGc&index=3

EPISODE 3…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOxNAcsPguc&index=4&list=PLaDolmsQ2vH9M0xdcXZberwoPUelxaKGc

EPISODE 4…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjwU-IkQq0o&list=PLaDolmsQ2vH9M0xdcXZberwoPUelxaKGc&index=5

EPISODE 5…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvLJUQdygbk&index=6&list=PLaDolmsQ2vH9M0xdcXZberwoPUelxaKGc

EPISODE 6…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufrRs5GcE-g

IS THIS LEGAL?Is This Legal?

On July 1, Mr. Davie’s tell-all memoir, Is This Legal? The Inside Story of the First UFC From the Man Who Created It, hit Amazon.com and bookstores across the country. Since it’s launch, Is This Legal? has ranked at the top of Amazon.com’s martial arts biographies numerous times in both the digital and hardcover categories.
The University of MMA interviewed the pioneering promoter to commemorate his appearance and book signing at the U’s previous show, Fight Night 8. Originally intended as a two-part interview, the discussion proved to be substantial enough to expand into a larger series.
“I’m a firm believer that knowing one’s history is an important part of evolution, whether you’re talking about people, sports, society at large, or whatever. It was an honor just to have Art at our show. Now, to have this interview series as part of the U’s library, is a company high water mark for us,” said University of MMA matchmaker Jay Tan.
“To say that Art Davie is a legend is an understatement. Whatever a legend is, he’s several notches above that,” added University of MMA founder Turi Altavilla. “Without his vision and the courage to pursue that vision, chances are we’d all be doing something a lot different than being involved in MMA.”
When informed of the plans to break the interview up into multiple installments, Mr. Davie noted “this was one of the most penetrating and incisive interviews that I’ve enjoyed since the book was released in July. I’m thrilled that the (University of MMA videographer/editor) Bob Skolnick was able to take what we recorded and expand it into something larger,” said Mr. Davie. Among the topics Mr. Davie discusses are his relationship with Rorion Gracie, why he wrote Is This Legal?, the fighters of UFC 1, how the ‘UFC’ name was conceived, the evolution of MMA, and his views on amateur MMA.
***** ***** ***** ***** ****
CONTACT: Either Jay Tan at jaytan@UofMMA.com and (213) 618-0332 or Turi Altavilla at turi@UofMMA.com and (310) 701-8331.
***** ***** ***** ***** ****
ABOUT THE University of MMA (www.UofMMA.com): The University of Mixed Martial Arts (aka “The U of MMA”) is a Los Angeles-based fight promotion specializing in exciting, high-octane, upscale amateur MMA events around the Southern California region. Its mandate is to provide a stage for young, aspiring fighters to hone their MMA skills and develop themselves as marketable personalities and respectable ambassadors of the sport. The U of MMA was founded in 2010, and ran its first show on September 19th of that year at the Irvine Mariott in Irvine, CA, as part of the inaugural California Amateur MMA Organization (CAMO) State Tournament. The U of MMA serves as a scouting show for professional organizations such as King of the Cage and the Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA). Each event is sanctioned by the CAMO, which upholds the highest safety standards in the nation for amateur competition. The team behind the U of MMA collectively has over 20 years of professional promoting experience at the highest level of the sport, including international and domestic events which were broadcast on pay-per-view, cable, and network television in the United States, Japan, and Great Britain. For tomorrow’s MMA stars and champions … IT STARTS HERE!

Art Davie’s Dream List of Fighters for first UFC

Mike TysonArt Davie’s Dream List of fighters for First UFC makes it to NineMSN

Davie’s dream list, which included Mike Tyson and Aleksandr Karelin, the Russian “Experiment” has been profiled on NineMSN in Australia.  Justin Faux wrote the article about Art Davie and his book, the inside story of the first UFC, Is This Legal? for NineMSN which appears on the homepage on Thursday July 3rd in Australia.

Here is the link to the article:


Art Davie’s First UFC Dream List

As SEG and W.O.W. got closer to November 12, 1993 to stage the first UFC, Art Davie’s job was to find the 10 fighters needed for the tournament. There were fighters he considered and didn’t approach given their availability or cost.  Mark Gastineau, the Hall of Fame NFL lineman, (he had begun a boxing career in 1991) was on the list, but he was priced out of the budget.

Mitch Green

A boxer Davie considered for the first UFC was Mitch “Blood” Green. He lost a decision to Mike Tyson; then lost a street fight to Mike in front of a Harlem clothing store and got a $45,000 settlement for that “dispute.” Almost every boxer approached wanted a five-figure “appearance fee.”





Peter Aerts, Dutch kick boxing champion

The great Peter Aerts, then kicking butt in Europe and Japan, and a thoroughly devastating Muay Thai style kickboxer, was also on  Davie’s wish list for the first UFC. But he would have required a five figure “appearance fee” to come to the states. No go!



First UFC

The star of Jan Plas’ gym in Amsterdam was Ernesto Hoost, then just becoming a dominant force in K-1. He was due to fight in Asia and Davie couldn’t make a deal for him in time for the first UFC. But Plas proposed Gerard Gordeau as an alternative. Gordeau, who had fought in Japan, was a world champion in Savate; and Gordeau became the European kickboxer Davie signed for the first UFC.






Aleksandr Karelin was a Hero of the Russian Federation and was the dominant Greco-Roman wrestler on the planet in 1993. He was known as the “Experiment” (at 6’3″ and 285lbs.) and rumored to be the product of Russian science. He would have cost  as much as Mike Tyson. That is if the Russians would have even let him come to the USA for the first UFC.




Emin Boztepe in his prime

Emin Boztepe was a very visible Kung Fu stylist in the martial arts magazines, like Black Belt. He and Rorion Gracie had almost come to legal blows over the “Gracie Challenge.” When Davie asked Rorion if he should approach him for the first UFC tournament, Rorion advised that it would only attract a lawsuit, so Davie never reached out to Boztepe. Emin Boztepe cultivated a reputation for invincibility in articles and advertisements.




Randall 'Tex' Cobb - boxer, kick boxer & actor

Randall “Tex” Cobb was a kickboxer, boxer (he fought Larry Holmes for the heavyweight title) and movie actor. He was on Davie’s wish list, but had a reputation for being a wild man; and his price would have made him unaffordable. Read about him terrorizing everyone on movie sets in IS THIS LEGAL? where John Milius was the director.



Of course the “Ultimate” dream list fighter for the first UFC was Mike Tyson. He was serving time in an Indiana prison in 1993 and, no matter what, the cost to secure his services was wildly out of range for the UFC.

These were some of the top combat sports athletes Art Davie had on first UFC “wish list.” You can read all about them (and the fighters  who turned Davie down) in IS THIS LEGAL? – the inside story of the first UFC.



Is This Legal? is now available in bookstores, AMAZON, and Barnes & Noble as well as Ascend books (www.ascendbooks.com ).

How UFC 1 was almost derailed at the 11th hour.

063014-UFC-Art-Davie-Book-PI-CH.vadapt.955.medium.0How UFC 1 was almost derailed at the 11th hour .

Fox Sports published an excerpt  today from Chapter 10 of IS THIS LEGAL?, Art Davie’s behind-the-scenes, tell-all book about how the event almost got drailed 24 hours before the show. Check out the link:


Fox shared how the idea Art Davie had been carrying around for years was about to come true. With the help of partners Rorion Gracie and Semaphore Entertainment Group (Campbell McLaren as the point man), Davie was about to change martial arts and combat sports forever.

No one was sure what would happen at UFC 1 on Nov. 12, 1993. And then, 24 hours before the event was scheduled to occur, there was a serious roadblock: the whole thing almost didn’t happen.

In an excerpt from Chapter 10 (There Are No Rules) from his new book with Sean Wheelock, “Is this Legal?,” Davie tells the tale of the fighter meeting the night prior to the first UFC and how if not for massive sumo wrestler, Teila Tuli, MMA might not even be a thing today.

The UFC was a joint development between W.O.W. Promotions, a Colorado LLC owned by Art Davie and Rorion Gracie and Semaphore Entertainment Group, a New York corporation founded by Bob Meyrowitz. The first UFC took place on November 12, 1993 at McNichols Sports Arena and was broadcast on PPV-TV.



IS THIS LEGAL? is available today (July 1, 2014) in bookstores, as well as AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE and the publisher, ASCEND BOOKS (www.ascendbooks.com)