State To State

Last month we examined the history of MMA in Colorado, site for the inaugural UFC. This month we travel east — make that upper south — to North Carolina, which hosted the third and fifth installments of the UFC before the state banned the sport outright. North Carolina is the birthplace of Andy Griffith and Howard Cosell, serves as the setting for the cult classic Evil Dead 2, and is regarded as the nation’s largest producer of furniture, tobacco, brick and textiles. Just three years ago, MMA was still banned in the state, but due to the efforts of one of the country’s oldest MMA gyms and a neversay-die former college football player, today it’s MMA friendly.

State to State

After Denver, Colorado hosted the first two UFC events, the political pressure was already mounting when SEG (which originally owned the UFC) ventured to Charlotte, North Carolina for the third event on September 9, 1994. With no law on the books, the Charlotte city council couldn’t do anything, but that didn’t stop the police from showing up with video cameras on the night of the show. When SEG tried to stop them, they threatened arrest; police officer Steve Jennum almost backed out of the event for fear of retaliation.

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