UFC officials today confirmed to MMAMotion that Art Davie will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the contributor wing. The induction ceremony will take place on Thursday, July 5, at The Pearl at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The event will be streamed live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.
The contributor wing is reserved for those “who have made outstanding and historical contributions to the sport outside of active competition.”
“Art’s contributions to UFC helped lay the foundation for the sport that fans around the world see today,” UFC President Dana White said. “It’s an honor to induct Art into the UFC Hall of Fame class of 2018 and we look forward to celebrating his career at our ceremony in July.”
Davie, a Brooklyn, New York native and a former advertising and marketing executive, began working on an idea to produce a unique martial arts event in 1989 in response to an advertising brief. While his client passed on his concept of producing a tournament entitled “World’s Best Fighter”, Davie remained convinced that his idea had potential.
Over the next four years, Davie worked tirelessly to turn his concept into reality. During his research, Davie discovered a Playboy Magazine article featuring legendary Brazilian jiu-jitsu master Rorian Gracie, whose Gracie Academy gym was just two blocks away from his office in Torrance, California.
After joining the academy to train and serve as Gracie’s marketing consultant, Davie convinced Rorian to partner with him on a project he named “War of the Worlds”, a tournament which would attempt to solve the age-old question of which fighting style is superior. Semaphore Entertainment Group (SEG), a New York-based PPV producer, agreed to televise the event.
“War of the Worlds” was re branded as the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the now iconic Octagon was chosen as the arena for competition. The fledgling promotions first eight-man tournament was set to take place in Denver, Colorado, on November 12, 1993.
Davie started to work on recruiting fighters from various martial arts disciplines, while Gracie enlisted his brother Royce to represent his family’s submission style. Gracie, who was undersized in comparison to his competitors, defied expectations by utilizing Brazilian jiu-jitsu and taking down and submitting all three of his opponents in less than five minutes combined.
UFC 1: THE BEGINNING, was a huge success by industry standards, tripling SEG’s projections with more than 88,000 buys and thanks to Davie’s conviction in his idea, changed the face of combat sports forever.
Both Davie and Gracie later sold their stakes in UFC to SEG but Davie remained on board as a member of UFC’s executive team and as the organization’s first-ever matchmaker until December of 1997.
During his time with the promotion, Davie was responsible for recruiting eight of the 14 fighters who have been inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame Pioneers Wing. This impressive line up of future UFC Hall of Famers included Ken Shamrock (inducted 2003), Dan Severn (inducted 2005), Randy Couture (inducted 2006), Mark Coleman (inducted 2008), Tito Ortiz (inducted 2012), Don Frye (inducted 2016), Maurice Smith (inducted 2017) and Kazushi Sakuraba (inducted 2017).
“Being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame is the greatest honor that can be bestowed to anyone involved with the sport of mixed martial arts,” Davie said. “Watching UFC become mainstream and break all these records over the years has been like watching my child go out and conquer the world. I’m so proud of what UFC has become and I’m thrilled my part in its creation is being celebrated during its 25th anniversary.”