Ultimate Fiting, Boxing for Newark
[The two entries about the international print exhibits at the Newark Public Library and Robeson Gallery are now online, at November 14th and 15th, below. The Library entry contains 20 fotos; the Robeson entry, 8.]
Gaetano attended the UFC 78 event last Saturday at the Prudential Center. "UFC" stands for "Ultimate Fiting Championship". That's not the kind of thing that would ever appeal to me, but Gaetano got a kick out of it. (Not literally.) It was an international matchup. Gaetano found a story about it on the website of one of Britain's best-regarded newspapers, The Daily Telegraph.
Today's fotos are of historical plaques on the exterior of the Robert Treat Hotel, mentioned later in this entry. This first tells who Robert Treat was. Along with the next plaque, it tells something of the history of the first days of Newark.
Newark's Prudential Center hosted the event which was attended by 15,000 people and had a British fighter headlining in the US for the first time since the sport began. Michael Bisping, 28, from Clitheroe, in Lancashire, may have lost a controversial split points decision against former Olympic wrestler Rashad Evans, of Michigan, and his 15-fight unbeaten record, but he won the hearts and minds of American fans.There were also some British fans in attendance. Gaetano spoke with some, and said he met people from other distant places at the event as well.
Earlier, the Telegraph told something of the history of "ultimate fiting".
The Ultimate Fighting Championships' first fight night took place 14 years ago today, but the mixed martial arts sport of the present day bears little resemblance to its giddy inception.The American won what a blog Gaetano also found called a "lackluster main event".
The first staging was marketed as a one-off event with only one rule: that there weren't any rules. "There are three ways of winning" proclaimed an over-zealous marketing campaign at the time, "by knockout, submission or death".
Little wonder that mixed martial arts and UFC were banned across every state in America by 1997, and then went underground. The events were then organised through the internet after cable television contracts were terminated.
Senator John McCain, of Arizona, led the charge to ban these competitions from cable television, describing the events as "human cock fighting". Now he has revised his opinion, saying: "The sport has grown up. The rules have been adopted to give its athletes better protections and to ensure fairer competition."
The Telegraph says that "The fight night grossed $2.5 million (£1.2 million)." If that is correct, the Arena might well attract more such events. Meanwhile, boxing is also coming to Newark, but not, apparently, to the Prudential Center. Gaetano found this story:
Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing, announced today the exciting Light Heavyweight match up between dangerous Philadelphian Eric “Magic 2000” Harding (23-4-1 7KO's) and Brooklyn, NY's, Shaun George (15-2-2 7KO's) on Thursday, December 6, 2007, at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, NJ.Huh? Where in the Robert Treat Hotel is there room for a boxing match?