The History of American Top Team Part 1: Roots of Fight
The next season of the Ultimate Fighter starts Wednesday, April 22nd, on FOX Sports 1. The show is breaking format and featuring a rivalry season between Florida's American Top Team and The Blackzilians. In an long piece for FOX Sports, Damon Martin delves into the history of the American Top Team:
Lambert, Silveira and Liborio embarked on the adventure to build a fight team together as a real passion project because at the time even in the early 2000s there wasn't a lot of money floating around the sport. Athletes were competing because they loved to fight and not because there was going to be a great financial gain, even in promotions like the UFC.
Lambert says the real transformation of the sport happened for American Top Team just like it did for so many other people in MMA, the moment “The Ultimate Fighter” kicked off in 2005. Until then it was still a constant battle to just explain to everyday people what mixed martial arts was, but the debut of the reality show brought the sport into the spotlight, and nothing was ever the same again.
“For so many years it was just about having fun. We just did it because that's what we liked to do. At the time, I wasn't sure it would ever be something that would really go over with the public. Every time one of my ears would blow up, I would be like, 'S–t, now I have to get something done to my ear!' because I'd go to work and people would be wondering what the hell happened to me. People would look at me like I was from another planet like, 'What do you mean you were part of an MMA team and got beat up?'” Lambert said with a laugh.