Monday, November 29, 2010

Muhammad Ali Vs. Antonio Inoki. Boxing with sort of-MMA rules?

Some people may not have heard of this (including myself, until now). Basically, back in 1976, Ali agreed to "fight" a pro-wrestler with what can best be described as pseudo-MMA rules. Ali's purse was a whopping $6,000,000. Apparently he thought this would be a staged match, but he was mistaken. Neither man was prepared to throw the fight. The full story can be viewed HERE.

The fight ended with Ali being leg-kicked to holy hell. Since we can't ask James Toney how that felt (because Couture was such a nice guy and opted to just choke the man out), I think Ali can offer some insight.

The rules were fucking weird.
"Ali would wear four-ounce gloves, and would be able to tag out of any grapple by touching the ropes. Inoki would be bare-handed. There was to be no kneeing, kicking, or hitting below the belt. Anyone thrown out of the ring would have 20 seconds to get back in".
Additionally, Inoki could't throw a kick unless he had one knee down on the mat. The guy must have gotten some epic mat-burn...

Ali's camp was sure to make the rules as ambiguous as possible, and no official rule-set was made public prior to the match.

Apparently the golden moment was when Inoki knocked Ali down and obtained mount. Here's an excerpt from the article:
"It got worse. In the sixth, Ali tried to grab Inoki's ankle as he kicked him, but Inoki wrapped his other leg around Ali's calf and flipped him over on to the canvas. He then rolled over on top of Ali's chest and squatted on his face. It's not a great moment in Ali's career. The indignity of it even spurred him, in the next round, to throw his first punch."
Overall this is an interesting read. Definitely a nice piece of combat sport history that many people don't know about.

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