Modern mixed martial arts was born with fighting three times in a night, or four, with just three or four rules. That was a spectacle, not a sport, and it very nearly died. The UFC was resurrected by the Unified Rules, which added dozens of rules, including a prohibition on a fighter fighting more than one time in one night.
In a startling turn around, the highly respected Joe Miller, head of the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission, has okayed a return of one-night, eight-man tournaments for MMA competition.
Olympic gold medalist Kenny Monday has put together a new promotion called Battlegrounds MMA. Former Strikeforce matchmaker Rich Chou serves as the matchmaker. The tournaments will be called Battlegrounds: One Night Elimination (O.N.E.).
Managing partner Bryan O'Rourke petitioned the Oklahoma AC, and it was unanimously accepted by the commission on Wed. Bleacher Report is making the petition available here.
Elbows will be allowed in the final round only. Prelim bouts will be three, five-minute rounds, and the finals five, five-minute rounds. This means a fighter could fight eleven five-minute rounds in a night, which does not seem reasonable. Tournament winner received $50,000.
The debut event will be held June 27, in Tulsa, OK.
"We've all been a part of one-night and Grand Prix elimination tournaments, and Kenny has competed countless times in a tournament format, so we recognized the energy this format brings," O'Rourke told Bleacher Report.
"We were confident we could get the format approved if we could show the safety levels went above and beyond current standards, and we've set the bar for MMA globally. The Oklahoma State Athletic Commission is progressive, and fighter safety is their credo, so receiving their unanimous approval was proof that our plan provides the greatest fighter safety standards in the world."
"There is a major gap between the UFC, Bellator and WSOF. We're looking toward a grass-roots base of wrestling and MMA fans supporting a revitalization of the one-night, eight-fighter elimination tournament to fill that empty space."