“Who would win between Bruce Lee (martial artist), Muhammad Ali (boxer) or Bruno Sammartino (wrestler)” the first organized league of MMA competitions in American history… years before the UFC or other groups who claim to be the first.
They were negotiating a national sponsorship deal for a $100,000 prize finale set for Las Vegas in 1981. (To put the magnitude of the prize money into perspective, the average salary for an NFL pro in 1980 was $78,657) The median salary in the NFL in 2009 was roughly $770,000. In 2008 it was about $720,000.
So today, in 2012, the finale prize would be equivalent to $1 000 000.
NFL Football player, Len Pettigrew of Philadelphia Eagles, wins the
Heavyweight Title at the “Battle of the Superfighters” 1980.
Len Pettigrew, a former NFL defensive end with the Philadelphia Eagles, who took
part in the heavyweight tournament and ripped through the competition. Although
technically an amateur with no martial arts training to speak of, he was too
fast, too strong, and too athletic for his opponents. It was now obvious that it
would be impossible to keep the tournament strictly for amateurs. Not only had
past contestants expressed interest in fighting again, but there was also a
desire to see the best in other sports – boxing, wrestling, judo, kickboxing –
try their hands in no holds barred competition. The only solution would be to
create a professional division. (source)
Learn more about:
“Battle of the Superfighters” 1980 Heavyweight Champion Len Pettigrew
the 9th round of the 1971 NFL Draft
1973 – 1976 Defensive End Philadelphia World Football League and other
Len Pettigrew was chosen as a National Football League player after years of
dedication, endurance, perseverance & excellence in the field of athletics.
He went on to play professional football for 5 years, including years spent in
the World Football League. Len was a 5x collegiate All American playing Football
and Wrestling Len was also a Professional Boxer training at Mohammed Ali’s
training camp in Pennsylvania. His career covered the US, Mexico and Jamaica.
Check out their official website for more informations:
Watch highlights from KDKA’s documentary of America’s first mainstream league of mixed martial arts style fighting championships. The league of events pitted combatants from all fighting disciplines including boxers, kick boxers, martial artists, wrestlers, grapplers, and all around “tough guys.” Competitors could win by opponent’s submission, knockout or decision (based on the 10 point must system). The competitions were promoted as “Anything Goes- striking, throwing, grappling, punching, kicking, ground fighting, and more.” The shows were immediately dubbed by the media as “Organized, Legalized, Street fighting.”