Thursday, June 12, 2014

Throwback Thursday: New Jersey's First Amateur MMA Event


Sometimes history is made where you least expect it. Battle at the Boardwalk was a pretty big, pretty forgetful martial arts expo that took place at the Atlantic City Convention Center, on a chilly weekend in February back in 2006. There were demos, seminars and competitions of all sorts, including a grappling tournament, stickfighting, boardbreaking, and some sort of contest where overweight "masters" beat on each other with foam replicas of weapons from feudal Japan. But tucked away amidst all the martial arts nerd-dom was a new thing the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board (working closely with the United State Kickboxing Association) was going to try, and that thing was amateur mixed martial arts.

Aside from a few tweaks, what transpired in the cage that day in terms of rules and regulations wasn't much different than what you'd see today. Of course, as the sport has evolved, so too has the level and skillset of the modern amateur fighter. Still, it was pretty cool. And of those who stepped into the cage that day, one - Greg Soto - eventually made his way to the UFC.

History, man. Isn't it great?

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