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The tournament was inspired by the Gracies in Action video-series produced by the Gracie family of Brazil which featured Gracie jiu-jitsu students defeating martial-arts masters of various disciplines such as karate, kung fu, and kickboxing.

The tournament would also feature martial artists from different disciplines facing each other in no-holds-barred combat to determine the best martial art and would aim to replicate the excitement of the matches Davie saw on the videos.

The show proved extremely successful with 86,592 television subscribers on pay-per-view.

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In 1993, WOW Promotions sought a television partner and approached pay-per-view producers TVKO (HBO) and SET (Showtime), as well as Campbell Mc Laren and David Isaacs at the Semaphore Entertainment Group (SEG).

Both TVKO and SET declined, but SEG – a pioneer in pay-per-view television which had produced such offbeat events as a gender versus gender tennis match between Jimmy Connors and Martina Navratilova – became WOW's partner in May 1993.

It banned biting and eye-gouging, and allowed techniques such as hair pulling, headbutting, groin strikes, and fish-hooking.

In a UFC 4 qualifying match, competitors Jason Fairn and Guy Mezger agreed not to pull hair—as they both wore pony tails tied back for the match.

In subsequent competitions, fighters began adopting effective techniques from more than one discipline, which indirectly helped create an entirely separate style of fighting known as present-day mixed martial arts.

Art Davie proposed to John Milius and Rorion Gracie an eight-man single-elimination tournament called "War of the Worlds".

The purpose of the early Ultimate Fighting Championship competitions was to identify the most effective martial art in a contest with minimal rules between competitors of different fighting disciplines like boxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, sambo, wrestling, Muay Thai, karate, and judo.

He has held that position since 2001; while under the leadership of Dana White the UFC has grown into a globally popular multi-billion-dollar enterprise.

"That show was only supposed to be a one-off", eventual UFC president Dana White said.

"It did so well on pay-per-view they decided to do another, and another.

Although the first events were dominated by jiu-jitsu, other fighting styles became successful: first wrestling, then ground and pound, kickboxing, boxing, and dirty boxing, which eventually melded into modern mixed martial arts.

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