That's right. Because Hazzard and Lembo took a chance on regulating a sport that was pretty much banned everywhere, the world was able to see that fighting in the cage could be both safe and acceptable.
There's a ton of lore surrounding that period of time when MMA transitioned from outlaw form of entertainment to respectable athletic endeavor - things like how Hazzard and Lembo put their jobs on the line to allow MMA fights, how the first regulated bout was on a Lou Neglia kickboxing card in Atlantic City, and how the first full-fledged sanctioned MMA event in New Jersey was an International Fighting Challenge (the UFC came in after that). But at the end of the day, Hazzard was a well-respected, "no bullshit" type of guy who was one of the greatest advocates the sport has ever had.
Anyway, above is your Thursday Thursday pic: Larry Hazzard Sr. at Reality Fighting 14, on June 18, 2006.
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