Author Archives: Kumite Classic

MMA history book

Hard copies available at 
Godfathers of MMA (The untold history of the sport of mixed martial arts)

Don’t be fooled by the hype, Pittsburgh is the birthplace of modern MMA.


The best kept secret in mma
history of mma book

What do an NFL star, a United States Secret Service Agent, Sylvester Stallone’s bodyguard, and Muhammad Ali’s sparring partner all have in common? They were all characters cast in America’s original “anything goes” reality fighting drama, an “open call” that led to the birth of a new sport—MMA.

Long before the Octagon was in vogue or Royce Gracie made his pay-per-view debut; decades before the UFC became a household brand and while the likes of Dana White were still in elementary school; two martial artists, Bill Viola and Frank Caliguri, set out to prove once and for all who the world’s greatest fighter was by creating a radical new “sport” in 1979.

Godfathers of MMA reveals the clandestine plot to subvert the “first” mixed martial arts revolution in American history, one poised to challenge boxing as the king of combat sports. Confounded by a freak accident (death in the ring) and widespread corruption, a massive struggle ensued over money, power, and respect between boxing’s gentry and an upstart MMA company from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. CV (Caliguri and Viola) Productions ignited a bitter turf war with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission that sparked a spectacular David and Goliath battle for leverage.

The legendary story, buried by rhetoric for years, casts a wide net reeling in everyone from politicians to mobsters, all with ulterior motives; all with eyes on a billion dollar blueprint. From boxing’s “Holy Territory,” the home of Rocky Balboa, to a bizarre connection with the Supreme Court that lead to the first legal precedent for MMA—ever, this is the ultimate inside look.

Godfathers of MMA is a testosterone-laced whirlwind tale of “what might have been” told by the trailblazers who fought for it. Relive the epic adventure of the “Tough Guys” later known as Super Fighters (the first mixed martial arts league in history).
Thirty years before the UFC gained a mainstream audience; the media embraced mixed martial arts: KDKA-TV dubbed CV’s new sport, “Organized, Legalized, Street fighting,” while the Philadelphia Journal proclaimed, “No holds barred as Superfighters take over.”

Take a journey back in time to the “Iron City” and meet the fighters, the foes, and the visionaries who created the modern sport of MMA.

About The Authors

Bill Viola Jr. is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania based promoter and international martial arts champion who experienced the “Golden Era” of MMA firsthand as his father, Bill Sr., is credited as the co-creator of the sport.

Bill graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and immediately moved to Hollywood, California to gain hands-on experience in the entertainment industry. Subsequently, he earned acceptance into the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and American Federation of Television and Radio (AFTRA) en route to establishing his own production company, Kumite Classic Entertainment in 1999.

He established Kumite Quarterly magazine in 2003, serving as publisher and overseeing distribution throughout North America until 2007. Viola is an accomplished freelance journalist, contracted by Sport Karate Magazine to cover the National Black Belt League World Games on location in Mexico, Canada, and across the United States.

Viola has also served as an independent consultant for number major motion pictures including the mixed martial arts movie Warrior (2011). He is also credited as an Associate Producer for the MMA inspired film Tapped Out (2014) starring former UFC champions Lyoto Machida and Anderson “Spider” Silva.

Bill teaches martial arts at the same school his father established in 1969 (Allegheny Shotokan). He is part of a growing Pittsburgh karate legacy that that now includes his daughter, Gabriella Capri Viola.

Dr. Fred Adams is a western Pennsylvania native who has enjoyed lifelong love affair with literature and film. He holds a Ph.D. in American Literature from Duquesne University and recently retired from in the English Department of Penn State University. He has published over 50 short stories in amateur and professional magazines as well as hundreds of news features as a staff writer and sportswriter for the now Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

In the 1970s Fred published the fanzine Spoor and its companion The Spoor Anthology. In 2014 his novels, Hitwolf, and Six Gun Terrors were published by Airship 27, and his nonfiction book, Edith Wharton’s American Gothic: Gods, Ghosts, and Vampires was accepted for publication by Borgo Press. Three additional novels by Adams are currently pending publication.

Adams acted as the official press agent for CV Productions Inc., the first mixed martial arts company in America (1979-1983). He sat ringside covering the radical new sport for the media and is credited with coining the phrase, “The Real Thing in the Ring.”

Fred is also an accomplished singer/songwriter who has performed solo and with bands since the early 1960s and over the last few years has recorded two compilations of original material, The Doctor is In and Searching for a Vein.


IF you want to learn more about who invented MMA visit

Pittsburgh MMA also documents the story

Karate, A Viola family tradition

Viola Family Karate Legacy


A Pittsburgh Legacy “Building Champions in Life”
Pittsburgh, PA — January 5th, 2015

Bill Viola Jr, Gabby Viola, Ali Viola
Photo courtesy trib total media

Winning World Titles is nothing new for the Viola family, especially for Duquesne University law student Ali Viola. Over the course of the past decade, she has become a 7x National Black Belt League (NBL) World Champion with international honors that have made her the most successful female karate fighter in Pittsburgh history. She has followed in the footsteps of her martial arts pioneer father and International Champion brother, Bill Viola Sr. and Jr. Although she doesn’t have anything further to prove on the mat and wasn’t planning on competing in 2014 due to college commitments, it was a very special season for the family.

The 2014 World Games marked a ceremonial passing of the torch, a karate tradition that has been a rooted in Pittsburgh for fifty years. Ali Viola competed alongside her 4-year-old niece, Gabby Viola, the youngest competitor at the World Games and the next generation of Violas to represent Pittsburgh.

The 25th Annual Sport Karate World Games known internationally as the “Super Grands” was held 26th-31st in Buffalo, New York. The tournament is sanctioned by the National Black Belt League (NBL) and Sport Karate International (SKIL) which are responsible for the largest sport karate ranking system and league for black belts in the world. The competition is the equivalent of the Super Bowl for martial arts with over thousands of world class competitors representing North America, South America, Asia and Europe each year at the Games. The competitors must compete at a series of regional and national events to earn a seed and qualify for the competition, a process similar to NCAA tournaments that is required to secure an invitation.

Gabby’s Aunt [Ali] added two World Titles to her resume, one for Women’s Middle Weight sparring (defeating a contender from France in the semi-finals and then the number #1 ranked fighter from California, Ashlee Grant, in the finals); the second victory was a team title that included teammates Willie Hicks (Texas) and Luis Jimenez (Mexico). Jimenez, a friend of Ali’s coach and brother Bill, also entered his son Joey Jimenez (the second youngest competitor at the World Games).

Gabby and Joey formed a unique bond that extended beyond the ring as they learned about family, respect and tradition. Although neither Gabby nor Joey won the overall division (Gabby 4th and Joey 6th) they learned something much more valuable—the importance of carrying on a legacy! Each walked away with an Amateur International Title and took the first step towards creating their place in martial arts history.

As Viola Sr. says, “Titles come and go, but a legacy is forever.” The school’s motto is “Building Champions in Life.” He prides his students on being community leaders and exceling in the education. Ali Viola is a first year law student at Duquesne University and former Division-1 soccer star at Youngstown State. She currently works at Eckert Seamans Law Firm and is an assistant coach for “Team Kumite” the all-star travel team founded by her brother. She avidly supports the Western Pennsylvania Police Athletic League and also trains boxing at the Third Avenue Gym downtown Pittsburgh in her free time.

Gabby Viola is currently a yellow belt in the Norwin Ninjas program at Allegheny Shotokan Karate and is coached by her father (Bill Jr.) and instructed by her Aunt (Ali) and Grandfather (Bill Sr.) aka “Papa Sensei.” For the past fifty years, the Viola name has been synonymous with martial arts excellence and Gabby is next in line to carry the tradition. More importantly, she is learning how to build character through martial arts. Viola Jr. adds, “Respect, discipline and focus are the cornerstones of karate and those traits will help you throughout your schooling, your job, and life.”

For generations, the Viola family has put Pittsburgh on the map in the world of martial arts. Bill Viola Sr., the family patriarch, has been a pioneer of karate since the 1960s and is credited as the co-creator of the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) in 1979, a decade before the UFC was a household name. In 2011 The Western PA Sports Museum and Heinz History Center honored him with an exhibit documenting Pittsburgh as the birthplace of modern MMA. In all, Viola Sr. has five children [Bill Jr., Addie, Jacque, Ali, and Joce], all of whom have earned black belts and excelled in international competition.

Bill Viola Jr. has created the Mecca for martial arts in Pittsburgh, promoting the region’s largest and most prestigious competition known worldwide as the “Kumite Classic.” He’s an accomplished martial arts author and movie producer whose credits that include Tapped (2014) starring UFC Champions Lyoto Machida and Anderson “Spider” Silva.

About Allegheny Shotokan: Bill Viola Sr. established Allegheny Shotokan Karate in 1969, and has since produced more World Champions than any other school in the Pittsburgh region. The school has been representing Pennsylvania and the United States at the World Games dating back to the establishment of the league.

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Active Lifestyles

Memorial Day Weekend May 22-23rd 2015 Monroeville Convention Center. Kumite Classic presents the Pittsburgh’s most established fitness expo.  The media has dubbed The Kumite Classic fitness expo as a “One stop shop for everything fitness.” The expo showcases the latest fitness products, exercise equipment, sports gear, clothing, nutritional supplements, health foods, and cutting edge cosmetic advancements.

Health and wellness consultations are available with industry professionals and onsite evaluations are presented by doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and natural health experts. The Kumite Classic fitness Expo collaborates with health professionals and educators on comprehensive and sustainable approaches to preventing and reducing serious health problems from both conventional medical and holistic approaches. The expo provides spectators the opportunity to participate in workouts, seminars, certification courses, competitions, and challenges.

The general public can meet & greet with celebrities, professional athletes, Olympic champions, and fitness icons. The expo highlights sports performance athletes, strength competitors, and fitness experts though a multitude of athletic skills competitions and world class sport championships.

The Kumite Classic campaign is dedicated to promoting healthy active lifestyles through a full scale interactive consumer fitness expo. The event is Pittsburgh’s most established fitness expo, celebrating its 15th annual season attracting thousands of fitness enthusiasts and health conscious consumers from across the country. The multifaceted expo is surrounded by “non-stop action” playing host to simultaneous championships, competitions, and demonstrations in one expansive area for spectators to enjoy. The audience is one of the most diverse (demographic & geographic) in the fitness industry attracting fans from over 15 different sports. The prestigious Kumite Classic brand is synonymous with athletic excellence.


If your target audience is health conscious fitness enthusiasts, than look no further! The 13th annual Kumite Classic is Pittsburgh’s largest and most established fitness expo, targeting a multi-billion dollar health and fitness industry. The Kumite Classic fitness expo offers maximum exposure into the most popular year round fitness and sports trends in America. The family oriented weekend is a very cost effective way to impact people from all walks of life. Over the past decade, our teams of professionals have paved the way for thousands of people to pursue healthy active lifestyles, building a loyal fan base! The multifaceted expo is surrounded by “non-stop action” playing host to simultaneous championships, competitions, and demonstrations all in one expansive area. The unique concept provides advertising opportunities within an untapped market. The Kumite Classic Expo is the only event of its kind in the Pittsburgh region providing the best opportunity to reach your target audience.


May is National Physical Fitness & Sports Month an initiative developed by The President’s Council on Physical Fitness in Sports. The expo collaborates with corporate leaders in an effort to help build a healthier strong community. The Kumite Classic fitness expo brings national awareness to many health related concerns and issues including the growing problem of childhood obesity! The events emphasize the importance of regular physical activity and healthy choices by featuring, “Kidz of Steel” a non-profit partnership program with Western PA Police Athletic League

Join us Memorial Day Weekend at the Kumite Classic Fitness Expo May at the Monroeville Convention Center.

Anti Bully Pittsburgh

pittsburgh anti bully

Kumite Classic Entertainment and The Pittsburgh Fitness Expo are proud to partner with community leaders, friends and families to present an Anti Bully presentation May 23-24th 2014 at the Monroeville Convention Center.  Let’s kick bullying out of Pittsburgh!

anti bully pittsburgh

Anti Bully Speakers and presenter:

Anti bully guest speakers include Jimmy Cvetic (Pittsburgh Peace Project) Rocky Whatule (Professional Comedian), Vince Brasco (Aka Mini Hulk), Josh & Gab (Musical Comedy Duo), Ambition (National Recording Artist) Burghman (Pittsburgh’s own superhero dedicated to anti bullying) and more.  Special thanks to our awards sponsor: The Vault (Kolman & Co. Jewelry)




GNC and BioRhythm are sponsoring special FREE swag bags full of FREE samples to the first 5000 attendees.  (must be 18+) at the 2014 Pittsburgh Fitness Expo Friday May 23rd and Saturday May 24th.  *actual samples may vary from photo.

Show Hours: 

  • Friday 4pm-10pm
  • Saturday:  9am-5pm

Pittsburgh Fitness Expo ad



Vince Brasco AKA Mini Hulk

The Pittsburgh Fitness Expo and Kumite Classic are proud to have Vince Brasco as a special inspirational speaker Saturday May 24th at the Monroeville Convention Center.  If you believe… you can achieve!

The Biography on Vince “Mini Hulk” Brasco:

Born with achondroplasia, a common form of dwarfism, Vince has had overcome extreme physical challenges to be where he is today, including 15 surgeries, one of which he almost lost his life. Some of these include meniscus surgery, a spinal fusion and decompression to which he lost 5 liters of blood, and neck surgery performed by Dr. Benjamin Carson. He’s suffered from kyphosis, to which the spine angles outward, requiring the use of a brace worn 24 hours a day from the time he was 6 months old until he was four. He couldn’t walk until he was over the age of two years old due to complications of his dwarfism. He had to use oxygen just as long, as well.  Standing at just 4’1”, Vince has placed first in his division for weightlifting twice, with the first being during the Pittsburgh Monster Meet Bench Press in April of 2013 for bench pressing 245 and only weighing 92 pounds, and the second at the Kumite Classic in May of the same year, pressing 255 and weighing 94 pounds. Don’t tell him he can’t overcome something. “It’s not about how much weight you can push or how strong you are physically, but what does matter is how big your heart is and how dedicated you are. Never give up and keep working at your goals. Believe.” He says. He’s at the gym 4 to 5 days a week and spends 3 to 4 hours each time. He spends time in the sauna to detoxify his body, and makes sure he makes healthy choices with his meals. He knows that those with achondroplasia suffer from unique physical difficulties, but it not an excuse to surrender and not care for yourself. When he is at the gym he will modify equipment for him so he can use certain things. For example when he is working out his legs he needs to put two plates on the seat so he can reach the sled. Doing this makes him able to do the exercise the right way on the leg press.  “Get active. Also if you do not like your height or how long your limbs are, tough, it is the way God has made you. There is always a purpose for everyone in life. No matter that they are, Tall or short, big or small.” In 2011, he was featured in the Huffington Post and the Mirror UK as the world’s smallest firefighter, ignoring those who questioned his ability to do what he needed to do. Just the same, and again because of the resilience that is as much a part of him as his dwarfism, Vince was also able to ignore bullying in high school and thumb his nose at anyone telling him he can’t do something. “Do not consider his appearance or his height for the lord looks at the heart.” Samuel 16:7 is tattooed on his chest. If there’s anyone that knows Vince, his stature and the size of his heart are diametrically opposed. Supported by his loving family, and dedicated friends in the community and coworkers, Vince knows that the biggest deterrent to any goal is himself. He’s pushed his own limits, ignored negative self-talk, and relied on his faith to pull him through the difficult times where he questions his ability.

He is currently employed at Best Buy in Tarentum, Pa, and is attending classes at ITT Tech Tarentum for Computer Networking. He will be competing at his first body building show on May 3rd in the Mr. Pittsburgh at the Soldiers and Sailors memorial in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He will follow up with a visit the Kumite Classic and Pittsburgh Fitness Expo May 23-24th at the Monroeville Convention Center.

Vince gives alot of credit to his coach Tad who is influencing him with dieting right, training right, practice posing, and getting into his head about how he can never give up.  Tad Inoue aka the Diet Coach is in his corner.

2014 Pittsburgh Fitness Expo

Pittsburgh Fitness Expo ad

GNC & BioRhythm Pittsburgh Fitness Expo presented by

Pittsburgh Fitness Expo ad

The region’s largest and most established fitness, health, wellness and sports expo returns to the Monroeville Convention Center May 23-24th 2014.  For the past 15 years, The Pittsburgh Fitness Expo has been paving the way for healthy active lifestyles as the area’s most exciting multi-sport extravaganza. The fitness festival features 20 different athletic and fitness competitions surrounded by a full scale interactive consumer expo that highlights health, wellness and nutrition.

The cutting edge expo showcases the latest fitness products, exercise equipment, sports gear, clothing, nutritional supplements, health foods, and cosmetic, advancements. Elite level coaches and trainers are on hand to discuss the dynamics of sports performance and athletic advancement.  Wellness consultations are available with industry professionals and onsite evaluations are presented by doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and natural health experts.  The convention collaborates with health professionals and educators on comprehensive and sustainable approaches to preventing and reducing serious health problems from both conventional medical and holistic approaches.

The multifaceted expo is surrounded by “non-stop action” playing host to simultaneous championships, competitions, and demonstrations in one expansive area for spectators to enjoy including: world class bodybuilding, fitness, figure, model, dance, physique, strongman, powerlifting, teen strength, wrestling, grappling, jiu-jitsu, and karate.  The expo is also home to the Kumite Classic, a world renowned martial arts championship that is the signature event of the weekend.

Spectators from around the country have the opportunity to participate in workouts, seminars, certification courses, competitions, and challenges. The general public can meet & greet with celebrities, world record holders, professional athletes, Olympic Champions, and fitness icons.

We are proud to announce that the first 5000 attendees at the show this year will receive a GNC “Swag Bag” filled with free samples and goodies from some of most popular brands in the industry including: BioRyhthm, MHP, and more.

Come see why the media has dubbed the expo “The one stop shop for everything fitness” as thousands of fitness enthusiasts and health conscious consumers from across the nation visit the Monroeville Convention Center Memorial Day Weekend.  Tickets will be available at the Convention Center box office.


Ambassador Classic

Dave Hawk’s Ambassador Northeast Classic May 23rd 2015 (2015 Info posted soon) at the Kumite Classic Bodybuilding, fitness, figure, bikini, physique. It’s more than a competition its a career opportunity!  

Welcome to the first BioRythm North East Ambassador Classic at the GNC Pittsburgh Fitness Expo hosted by Muscle and Body Magazine.

The North East Ambassador Classic is a revolutionary non-sanctioned fitness concept that transforms a traditional competition into a mainstream branding opportunity.  Athletes will showcase their physiques in an effort to gain instant fame by earning a regional brand ambassadorship. The North East Ambassador Classic is looking for the NEXT fitness role model through a fun and exciting one day competition that display not only your hard work and dedication in the gym but also your ability to sell and market yourself in an ever growing industry.

The Top Place Winners in the North East Ambassador Classic will not only win great awards, but winners will be featured in an upcoming issue of GNC’s Muscle and Body Magazine reaching 1.2 million people nationally in print and 8 million digitally.

Our winners also get the opportunity to experience and represent BioRythm, Muscle and Body and Key GNC Franchise Stores “Meet and Greet Appearances” in the Pittsburgh and or surrounding area.      

Similar to standard judging of Modern Bodybuilding, Physique, Figure, Fitness and Bikini. Here are our guidelines for the competition.

jason janov

Max Reps 60 Seconds

Do you have what it takes to set a new record… prove it.  Free competition (male / female seperate divisions)

[Elementary] 9 years old & under

[Middle School] 10-13 years old

[High School] 14+ years old


Friday May 22nd 2015 5pm-7pm. This is an open invitation for youth to participate in the Kidz of Steel MAX REP Physical Fitness Challenge! This is a NON-PROFIT challenge and FREE competition for all participants:  In partnership with the Western PA Police Athletic League and Champions Association of Pittsburgh.


60 Seconds-Max Reps:

Age Category Division (M/F)

  • 9- Chin Ups Elementary Male
  • 9- Chin Ups Elementary Female
  • 10-13 Chin Ups Middle School Male
  • 10-13 Chin Ups Middle School Female
  • 14-18 Chin Ups High School Male
  • 14-18 Chin Ups High School Female
  • 9- Jump Rope Elementary Male
  • 9- Jump Rope Elementary Female
  • 10-13 Jump Rope Middle School Male
  • 10-13 Jump Rope Middle School Female
  • 14-18 Jump Rope High School Male
  • 14-18 Jump Rope High School Female
  • 9- Push Ups Elementary Male
  • 9- Push Ups Elementary Female
  • 10-13 Push Ups Middle School Male
  • 10-13 Push Ups Middle School Female
  • 14-18 Push Ups High School Male
  • 14-18 Push Ups High School Female
  • 9- Sit Ups Elementary Male
  • 9- Sit Ups Elementary Female
  • 10-13 Sit Ups Middle School Male
  • 10-13 Sit Ups Middle School Female
  • 14-18 Sit Ups High School Male
  • 14-18 Sit Ups High School Female
kidz of steel
Our previous winners!