Check out this classic ad from the December 1993 issue of “Black Belt Magazine”, which featured this full-page ad for the premiere event of the Ultimate Fighting Championship!
“Who will be the Ultimate Fighter?” this ad asks, which is practically the same ad campaign used today for the UFC’s reality show, “The Ultimate Fighter.” The picture in this advertisement looks like a screen-capture from a vale tudo match, since the first event had not yet debuted on November 12. No matches are listed here, but various styles are, ranging from sumo, kickboxing, tae kwon do, savate, and draka… which I have never heard of until now. Interesting to note that while jiu-jitsu appears, it does not explicitly say Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. BJJ was still an enigma at the time, but even as far back as 1989 the style had been gaining interest in the inner circle of martial arts, heightened by the Gracie Challenge which was in full swing by this era.
This issue of “Black Belt” also featured an interview with Chuck Norris discussing his brand-new TV show, “Walker: Texas Ranger,” an article about Linda Lee Caldwell suing Crowvision after the wrongful death of her son, Brandon Lee, on the set of “The Crow,” and instructional sections on Karate counter-strikes and Tae Kwon Do spinning kicks.
UPDATE: According to the original Executive Producer of the UFC from the first event through UFC 21, Campbell McLaren, the company used a stock photo for the image above, since the magazines needed the ad before they had confirmed any fighters. When asked by this reporter as to what Draka was, McLaren stated, “Draka was supposedly a russian kick boxing plus grappling style. At one point I had a brochure from the Draka organization. It sounded so cool and threatening, I had to use it.”
For anyone who is still doing their holiday shopping, why don’t you check out The Fight Nerd’s Holiday Shopping Guide to make your life easier. I did all the work for you, so you know what to buy and what not to touch with a 10-foot cattle prod.