By Chamatkar Sandhu

Today starts a new column looking back at key moments in MMA history courtesy of our good friends over @MMAHistoryToday

March 11th 1967

Renzo Gracie was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

He is a Gracie Barra Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Carlos Gracie Jr. and a retired mixed martial arts fighter. He is member of the Gracie family of Brazil. He is the son of Robson Gracie, grandson of Carlos Gracie, nephew of Carlos Gracie, Jr. and grandnephew of Helio Gracie. A world famous jiu-jitsu coach, Gracie has helped train a number of professional fighters such as: Matt Serra, Ricardo Almeida, Georges St. Pierre, Frankie Edgar, Rolles Gracie, Chris Weidman, Kyra Gracie, Neiman Gracie and Roy Nelson. His brothers Ralph Gracie and the late Ryan Gracie were also famous fighters.

He finished his MMA career with a record of 13-7-1 and 1 no contest.

March 11th 1994

UFC 2 featured a sixteen-man tournament format, the first and only one in UFC’s history, with the winner receiving $60,000. The first seven bouts were not aired on the live pay-per-view broadcast, but were on the home video version. The tournament had no weight classes or weight limits. Matches had no time limit or rounds, therefore no judges were used.

Competitors could only win a match by submission, by the opponent’s corner throwing in the towel, or by knockout. UFC 2 marked the debut of referee Big John McCarthy, arguably the most famous referee in the sport of MMA.

Since this was the only 16-man tournament in UFC history, Royce Gracie is the only person to have ever fought and won 4 fights in 1 night in the UFC.

March 11th 2006

Alan Belcher defeated Ron Fields via TKO (slam) in 37 seconds of the first round at Titan Fighting Championships 1 (TFC1) which went down in Kansas City, Kansas USA.

March 11th 2006

Cub Swanson defeated Shannon Gugerty via TKO (punches) in 3 minutes and 40 seconds of the second round at Total Combat 13 – Anarchy (TC13) which went down at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, Del Mar, California USA.

March 11th 2006

Marloes Coenen defeated Yoko Takahashi via submission (armbar) in 39 seconds of the first round at IFC Rumble on the River which went down in Kearney, Nebraska USA.

March 11th 2006

Jake Ellenberger defeated Kenneth Allen via submission (armbar) in the first round at G-Shooto 4 which went down in Shinjuku Face, Tokyo Japan

March 11th 2009

Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis passed away in a fatal car crash.

Shortly before 1:00 am on March 11, 2009, Lewis died in a high-speed car crash in Newport Beach, California. His Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale, a race version of the Ferrari 360 Modena collided with a 1977 Porsche before hitting a light pole. It is presumed that the two vehicles were traveling alongside one another at high speed. Lewis was declared dead at the scene. Twenty-three-year-old Lacy Lynn White, a female occupant of Lewis’ Ferrari, was ejected from the vehicle and was taken to a hospital. She suffered a fractured elbow and lacerations. The driver of the Porsche was arrested for “alcohol-related gross vehicular manslaughter”. As a tribute to his contributions to the UFC, Mask was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame at the UFC 100 Fan Expo, and Lewis’ name was made a permanent feature on the inside of the door to the Octagon.

Charles Lewis, Jr. (June 23, 1963 – March 11, 2009) was an American businessman, promoter and entertainer. Known by his nickname “Mask”, Lewis founded the TapouT clothing line in 1997, which eventually became a multi-million-dollar clothing company.

Mask was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in July 2009, becoming the first and only non-fighter to enter the UFC Hall of Fame.

In 1997, Lewis and his two friends began selling mixed martial arts apparel from the back of their Mustang. By 2007, the company had revenue of $22.5 million, with a 2009 target of $225 million. Lewis was known as “Mask”, because of stripes of face paint he frequently used.

In 2007, Lewis, along with promoters “Skyskrape” and “Punkass”, starred in TapouT, a reality television series on cable channel Versus that followed up-and-coming mixed martial arts fighters.

For more pictures, information and regular updates and if you want to expand your knowledge of mixed martial arts follow @MMAHistoryToday

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