MMA: Milestones for Ultimate Fighting Championship, which turns 25 on Monday

Professional boxer Art Jimmerson (left) faces Brazilian jiu jitsu expert Royce Gracie in the first UFC event, on Nov 12, 1993.
Professional boxer Art Jimmerson (left) faces Brazilian jiu jitsu expert Royce Gracie in the first UFC event, on Nov 12, 1993.PHOTO: GETTY/ZUFFA LLC

November 1993: The first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event is held in Denver, Colorado. Royce Gracie, a Brazilian jiu jitsu expert, wins the eight-man tournament, earning US$50,000 (S$69,000).

July 1997: padded gloves are enforced, and two weight classes - heavyweight (91kg and above) and lightweight (under 91kg) - are formed.

December 1997: UFC holds his first event outside the United States, staging UFC Ultimate Japan in Tokyo. July 1999: UFC adopts the 10-point scoring system from professional boxing.

January 2001: UFC is purchased by Zuffa LLC for US$2 million. Dana White is installed president, a position he still holds today. July 2002: UFC holds its first event in Europe, staging UFC 38 in London.

January 2005: UFC launches reality show The Ultimate Fighter, which proves a hit and helps turn the company's fortunes around.

 

December 2006: UFC acquires MMA organisation World Extreme Cagefighting for an undisclosed sum, and after running it as a separate entity for four years, absorbs the promotion in 2010.

December 2006: UFC 66 becomes the first UFC event - and first non-boxing event in North America - to cross one million pay-per-view (PPV) buys (1,050,000).

March 2007: UFC acquires popular Japanese MMA organisation Pride for a reported US$65 million. It also signs professional wrestling star Brock Lesnar.

July 2009: UFC 100, headlined by Lesnar and Frank Mir, becomes the first UFC event to cross 1.5 million PPV buys (1,600,000).

March 2011: UFC acquires MMA organisation Strikeforce for a reported US$40 million.

August 2011: UFC signs a seven-year broadcast deal with Fox Sports worth US$700 million.

December 2012: UFC launches a women's division and Ronda Rousey, Strikeforce's women's bantamweight champion, becomes the UFC's first female champion.

January 2014: UFC stages its first event in Singapore at Marina Bay Sands.

July 2016: Zuffa LLC, UFC's parent company, is sold to a consortium of investors led by WME-IMG for US$4.025 billion.

June 2017: UFC returns to Singapore. May 2018: UFC signs a five-year broadcast deal with ESPN worth US$1.5 billion. It starts next year.

June 2018: UFC announces a strategic partnership with the Singapore Sports Hub and the Singapore Tourism Board. It is the first multi-year live event deal for the outfit in the Asia-Pacific region and will see it stage shows at the Singapore Indoor Stadium till 2020.

October 2018: UFC 229 smashes PPV buy records by garnering 2,400,000 buys. Its biggest name, superstar Conor McGregor, earns a guaranteed cheque of US$3 million, before bonuses. The record PPV buys means he could eventually take home way more than that.

November 2018: UFC stages its 456th show, in Denver, to mark its 25th anniversary.