In Memory of Jeff Blatnick

“If you can win in adversity, you can win anywhere!” – Jeff Blatnick

On Wednesday afternoon the MMA community lost one of its original pioneers and greatest advocates, Jeff Blatnick. 

Jeff, along with Big John McCarthy, is largely credited with coining the term “mixed martial arts”.  He served as a commentator for 29 UFC events (UFC 4 – UFC 32), and worked tirelessly to help the sport grow and gain mainstream acceptance in its earliest days. 

In 2001, Jeff was one of the critical members in drafting the sport’s Unified Rules, which led to the acceptance of MMA as a true sport by major athletic commissions in the United States.  He also earned a reputation as one of the top professional MMA judges.

Prior to his involvement in mixed martial arts, Jeff Blatnick had one of the most storied careers in the history of American wrestling.  In 1980, Jeff made his first US Olympic team.  Unfortunately, 1980 also happened to be the year that the US boycotted the Olympic games in Moscow.  Jeff’s Olympic dreams were derailed. 

Misfortune struck Jeff again in 1982 when he was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer and forced to undergo radiation therapy.  Jeff not only overcame the cancer, but also battled his way back on to the 1984 Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling team.  Against all odds, Jeff became the first American heavyweight to win a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling.  Not long after winning gold, Jeff won a second battle with cancer.  After retiring from wrestling in 1988, Jeff dedicated his life to growing the sports of wrestling and mixed martial arts.

Thank you Jeff Blatnick for all you have done for the sport of mixed martial arts.  Your life was an extraordinary one, and a true inspiration to all.

“I learn to win by learning to lose, that means not afraid of losing.” – Jeff Blatnick

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