I just saw this: Remembering Jeff Blatnick, the man who named Mixed Martial Arts. He died two days ago. Dave Meltzer writes a beautiful obituary for a man who helped bring in the sport of mixed martial arts. Blatnick is generally credited with coining the term “mixed martial arts,” but according to the obit he probably got the term from Japan. Still, there is no doubt that Blatnick was instrumental in making the UFC what it is today. He was one of the pioneers in making the rules of the sport. I had no idea that he was also an Olympic gold medalist wrestler who overcame cancer.
I’ve been following the UFC literally from the very beginning. I was a poor college student at the time, but my uncle sent me videos of the UFCs right when Royce was making a name for the sport. I remember Blatnick’s early days as an announcer. Jeff started at UFC 4 and was a noted improvement over the original announcers, who couldn’t pronounce the names of the various fighting arts. It looks like he was eventually forced out of his role as announcer/commissioner, but he stayed on, supporting the sport that he helped to grow.
Rest in peace, Jeff Blatnick.