Former UFC owner starts new MMA promotion
It's a slow week in MMA. Most of the chatter centers around the Brock Lesnar-Frank Mir fight this weekend at UFC 81 but it sure feels like the Super Bowl has taken center stage, even for MMA fans.
I've actually been sitting on this for a couple of days but I thought I would share with you that Bob Meyrowitz, the original founder of the UFC (pre-Zuffa), has decided to start a new MMA league. A news release sent out Tuesday states that the new league's name is Yamma Pit Fighting and it will hold a series of pay-per-view events, starting April 11 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J.
According to the release:
YAMMA Pit Fighting will return to the popular origins of MMA by reviving the Tournament format, in which fighters will participate in multiple fights on their way to claiming the ultimate YAMMA victory, the title of YAMMA Heavyweight Champion. In addition to the exciting Tournament, YPF will also host two “Masters Superfights,” one-on-one matches between some of MMA’s most illustrious and legendary fighters.
In addition to the tournament format, which was prevalent in the UFC's early days, the league is introducing a new fighting surface called "The Yamma":
The YPF surface, known as “The YAMMA” is an evolution of the traditional fighting ring that will greatly alter the current basis of MMA by changing how the fight is fought and the strategy the fighters must use to win. This new surface has been specifically designed to keep the fighting more explosive and continuous. The YAMMA will change the face of the sport and will challenge the relevance of the fighters’ trademark tactics, as methods that were previously successful may be rendered useless with the new ring. This twist on an already successful sport will prove hugely popular with fighters and MMA audiences alike.
When I inquired further about the fighting surface, I was told the innovation has more to do with the shape or format of the fighting area rather than the physical surface itself.
I sat on this information for a couple of days because there are a lot of people starting MMA promotions these days only to fold a few months later or eventually become insignificant. But this is Meyrowitz, after all, and maybe he can bring something extra to table so I thought it was somewhat newsworthy.
I wonder how Meyrowitz feels seeing his baby become the most successful promotion in a rapidly emerging sport. Does he have any regrets about not sticking it out with the UFC? And, is this his last-gasp effort to get back in the game (probably too late)?
I don't believe the casual MMA fan really associates Meyrowitz with the original UFC so I don't think his re-entry into the sport buys him anything. The only hope is that his ideas such as the tournament format and the new fighting surface spark some interest.
I'm skeptical. At this point, YPF is just another promotion in an already crowded field. At the very least, it's more MMA on the East Coast but I doubt the league will be anything more than a sideshow attraction. But we shall see. Meyrowitz believed in a very good idea once, maybe lightning can strike twice.