Author Archives: Bill Viola Jr.

About Bill Viola Jr.

Bill Viola jr. is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania based Sensei, promoter, producer and award-winning author of Tough Guys.

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Tough Guys made history

A new documentary about the history of mixed martial arts has begun filming in the Greater Pittsburgh area. MinusL, a production company based out of New York, NY has secured the rights to produce the new feature.

Ten years before the debut of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, two local martial arts promoters and their fighters, a rough group of barroom brawlers, bikers, teachers and steel workers, pioneered the first mixed-martial arts league in the nation.

The first Tough Guy Contest took place March 20, 1980 in New Kensington, PA. The company organized a league of events and promoted over 10 competitions across Pennsylvania under the banner of “Battle of the Brawlers,” “Battle of the Tough Guys,” “Tough Guy Contests” and finally re branding to “Super Fighters” throughout 1980. Notable locations included the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, Johnstown War Memorial, and the Philadelphia Civic Center.

CV (Caliguri and Viola) Productions was the first MMA based promotional company in American history, established in 1979.

Bill Viola
wrote the first codified set of mixed martial arts rules in 1979; implemented in over 130 bouts. Those standards parallel the unified rules of today.

The World Martial Arts Fighting Association (WMAFA) sanctioned all CV Productions events and was the first regulatory body for mixed martial arts in the United States.

CV Productions introduced open regulated mixed martial arts competitions to the United States March 20, 1980 in Pittsburgh, PA with the inaugural “Battle of the Tough Guys” championship. This was the first commercial MMA success and the beginning of a new sport.

Later in 1980, the “Tough Guys” were rebranded as Super Fighters to accommodate a professional fighting image: The “Super Fighters League” (SFL). This was the first MMA league of its kind and set the tone for mainstream mixed martial arts.

Pennsylvania became the first state in history to set a legal precedent for mixed martial arts, officially banning the sport of MMA with the passage of Senate Bill 632 (Session of 1983 Act 1983-62).

mma banned
The groundbreaking law was drafted specifically to outlaw CV Productions’ events and provided detailed language that defined mixed martial arts competition by prohibiting:


Ten years after the passage of Senate Bill 632, the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) would debut in 1993.

More Reading:

Tough Guy Contest

Godfathers of MMA book

CV (Caliguri and Viola) Productions Inc. just launched a new website dedicated to the first MMA competition and league in the United States (1979-1983). It has photos, videos, posters and information on the world’s first “Tough Guy Contest.”

The Tough Guy contest was established in Pittsburgh, PA and is now documented at the Heinz History Center as the first event of its kind. the tough guy contest

GGP Global Glorious

GGP Global Glorious Productions, and extension of the Western PA Police Athletic League, grand opening today at the Monroeville Mall.

global glorious

Sensei Bill Viola, Luke Lokay, Lucy Lokay, Bill Viola Jr., and Cameron Klos at the Pittsburgh based Global Glorious Productions Office. Kumite Classic Entertainment is a proud partner of the initiative.

The father of MMA

father of mma

Who’s Your Daddy? Who is the real father of MMA…

Courtesy of Pittsburgh MMA:

Alexander Cartwright, James Naismith and Walter Camp all share a similar rite of passage, each has been honored as the “father” of their respective sports: Baseball, Basketball and Football. For all intents and purposes history credits them with invention, although each sport evolved incrementally from some inspiration or another. While there may be scholarly debate about who, what, when, where and how each sport actually was conceived, history proves that the masterminds behind the original “rules and regulations” determine the birth of a sport, and with it the recognition of its original author, aka “the father.”

The journey towards mainstream status for every sport has endured long and winding roads, but each trailblazer took that same very defining first step—RULES. It’s the creation of rules that distinguishes a game from simply goofing off and sport from spectacle. While rules have certainly changed over the past century, the essence of each major sport is steeped in tradition. Basketball, football, and baseball can trace their roots back to a pioneer who drafted a blueprint in an effort to standardize competition. Embodied by awards that bear their namesake, the legacy of Cartwright, Naismith, and Camp are intact, but who is the father of MMA? Who penned the holy grail of MMA rules?

The default response isn’t an individual at all but rather, “The UFC of course.” The nonchalant reaction bundles Rorion Gracie, Art Davie, Campbell McLaren, Bob Meyrowitz, Dana White and a host of others into a single entity so you don’t have to pinpoint exactly when the NHB became MMA. Some would argue that pioneers like Jeff Blatnik, Larry Hazzard, John McCarthy, and Howard Petchler, who all had a hand in influencing modern MMA rules, should be in the conversation. Each deserves a placard in the Hall of Fame, but unfortunately those rules were not the originals. CV Productions owns the rights whether folks know it or not.

When my father [Bill Viola Sr.] first put pen to paper in 1979 he had a vivid dream. As successful as mixed martial arts has become, to him, MMA is as brilliant today as it was supposed to be decades ago. It’s come a long way since the Holiday Inn in New Kensington, but one thing remains the same; my father, Frank and the original “Tough Guys” and Super Fighters will always and forever be the undisputed Godfathers of an American sport.

Learn more about the real fathers of MMA here:

father of mma