Author Archives: Bill Viola Jr.

About Bill Viola Jr.

Bill Viola Jr. is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania based promoter, producer and author. He is the founder of Kumite Classic Entertainment.

White Collar Brawlers

jimmy cvetic

Pittsburgh MMA contributor Jimmmy Cvetic is a reality tv star.

By Maria Sciullo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
In the second of three episodes shot in Pittsburgh during the summer, Oxford Solutions IT recruiters Geoff Morgan and Corey Walker starred as “White Collar Brawlers,” a new limited-run series at 10 p.m. Tuesdays on the Esquire Network.

The guys are competitive in more than recruiting new hires. Tuesday’s show featured a pingpong game that underscored Mr. Morgan’s tendency to get hotheaded under pressure. “A ticking time bomb,” as one co-worker put it.

These two appeared naturals for a program that pits office mates against each other in the boxing ring. Mr. Morgan stated early on that he suspects Mr. Walker is stealing his recruits, prompting the latter to respond, “I never stole anybody’s candidates. It’s not my style.”

So, onto the 3rd Avenue Gym they go. Owner Jimmy Cvetic had them sweating and in great pain after one practice session. Trainer Johnny Spells, who handled Mr. Morgan throughout the six-week ordeal, began with the fact that boxing isn’t something easily learned at a quick pace: “But we’re going to microwave this.”

Beyond the physical challenges, the men soon discovered that training is a time-consuming business. Relationships with significant others, and with work, took a hit. Finally, it was time for the match.

Slightly shorter, Mr. Walker surprised with a flurry of jabs to easily take the first of the three, two-minute rounds. Mr. Morgan settled down and won Round 2. In the third round, both were so exhausted they could barely keep their arms up. The judges’ decision went to Mr. Walker.

Everyone agreed the men would probably still fight it out at work over candidates, but the blood-and-guts experience in the ring was a bonding experience.

“I have nothing but respect for Geoff,” Mr. Walker said.

* James Wolpert fell prey to the Twitter Instant Save Curse on NBC’s “The Voice” and was eliminated Tuesday. Each of the four singers “saved” this season in the 5-minute fan tweet window promptly exited in the next round.

Singing U2’s “With or Without You,” the former Carnegie Mellon University art student drew raves from his mentors, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. But it wasn’t enough.

Mr. Wolpert will perform in the two-night season finale, which begins Monday. A former employee at the Shadyside Apple Store, before he left, he sent company CEO Tim Cook an email. Although he invited Mr. Cook to stop by, should he reach the live shows, like Godot, Mr. Cook apparently never showed up.

* Katie Correll would appear to have the qualifications to be one of 11 contestants on Season 2 of TBS’s “King of the Nerds.” Ms. Correll, who is getting her master’s at the CMU Entertainment Technology Center, does research at the university’s Robotics Institute and next month, begins a new job at Disney Research Pittsburgh.

The show premieres Jan. 23.

* A minor Twitterstorm erupted Sunday night during the CBS finale of “The Amazing Race,” when, in the first hour, two of the four remaining teams decided to work together to reach the final set of challenges.

“Cheating!” was a common complaint, although in the long history of “TAR,” many teams have joined forces. After 23 cycles of the program, which airs twice a year, the rules appear to change from time to time — and generally are not announced to viewers.

For example, then-engaged couple Amber Brkich (a Beaver County native) and Rob Mariano came up with a number of creative, albeit sneaky, styles of game play en route to the Season 7 finale. Among their antics: having decided he didn’t want to eat 4 pounds of meat in a roadblock, Mr. Mariano convinced some of the other teams to skip the chow and join them in accepting a time penalty.

Winners of this season’s show were dating couple Amy Diaz and Jason Case, who took home $1 million. The finale drew about 9 million viewers but scored a ratings share of only 2.1 among the 18-49 demo.

NBC’s “Football Night in America” trounced the competition with 16.6 million viewers and a 6.0 rating.

* So, you think you can dance? Fox’s venerable reality competition begins auditions next month in Atlanta (Jan. 13). Other casting calls are New Orleans (Jan. 31) and Los Angeles (March 23) but other sites will be announced shortly at

* “Farm Kings” returns Thursday on Great American Country, with the promise of the guys overhauling “a clunker for entry into a demolition derby and Lisa entering the local Apple Festival’s pie bake-off.”

The show features the King Family, which runs its Freedom Farms complex off Route 8 in Butler County.

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Who invented mma mixed martial arts in America

who invented mma

Q: Who invented MMA? 

Copyright © 2013 By Bill Viola Jr.  Pittsburgh MMA Inc. CV Productions Inc. Who Invented MMA?  The answer is not so simple.  As for who invented mixed martial arts as a sport… we have the answer and it might surprise you.

All rights reserved. 

No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” 

Hand to hand combat has roots in prehistoric times, influencing every culture since the dawn of mankind. From ancient mosaic sculptures discovered in Sumeria to hieroglyphic inscriptions revealed in Egypt, early evidence suggests that some type of formalized fighting system has always existed.  Be it a “fight” or “flight” response from the threat of imminent danger, survival is a universal instinct of humanity.  The public’s obsession with barbaric “life or death” contests reminiscent of the Roman Gladiators affirms an innate human fascination with combative sports, especially as entertainment.  While the violent spectacles of the Coliseum are no longer apropos, contemporary mixed martial artists are celebrated prizefighters, heralded as modern day warriors.

Martial arts or the “Arts of Mars” in Latin is derived from the Roman god of war. Its military connotation, “kill or be killed,” is a philosophy that resonates among thousands of armed and unarmed methods of self-defense; many steeped in tradition and influenced by cultural, religious, or ethnic backgrounds.  Today, “martial art” has become a catch-all, almost generic term that universally and collectively describes combat systems from around the world dating back to antiquity. What is and what isn’t technically a martial art is truly a subjective topic, a debate reserved for another day.

The origins of martial arts in general are shrouded in mystery and legend, more often than not based on hyperbole, stories passed down from generation to generation. Entwined deep within Greek mythology, Pankration (literally meaning “all powers”) was introduced to the Ancient Olympic Games in 648 B.C., a sport said to have been created in the spirit of Heracles and Theseus.  Scholars regard this hybrid of Hellenic wrestling and boxing to be one of the earliest versions of mixed martial arts.  The competitions garnered national fanfare while imposing very few rules; death unfortunately was considered an occupational hazard.

Many experts credit the conquests of Alexander the Great as a pervasive influence on primitive Martial Arts.  His army inadvertently spread the fundamentals of Pankration throughout the world, including India. Popular folklore glorifies an Indian Monk named Bodhidharma, a journeyman who traveled to China establishing Zen Buddhism in the 6th Century A.D.  Many believe the training regimen he taught the Shaolin Monks later spread and impacted the development of traditional martial arts around the world.

Upon the emergence of the 20th century, Vale Tudo (Portuguese meaning “everything allowed”) matches throughout Brazil left a modern footprint on MMA.  The scene cultivated adaptations of judo that emphasized ground fighting; namely the creation of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and later Luta Livre (Brazilian free fighting). In the Pacific Rim, Eastern and Western styles clashed head-to-head in mixed-fights known as Merikan (Japanese slang for American) while no-holds-barred fisticuffs were a regular feature at large music halls throughout Europe.  England operated on the cutting edge of an MMA ideology in the form of Bartitsu, while France had long claimed home to an ancient mixture of wrestling and striking known as Brancaille.  The list of early mixed martial arts was as extensive as it was widespread, touching both hemispheres. Each geographic region had its favorite, and with it the pride of its people. Whether it’s narcissism or just intrinsic curiosity, challenges that prove superiority have always defined the human race and continue to do so today.

Sensei is probably the most recognizable term in all of martial arts.  The Japanese to English translation literally means, “Person born before another,” simply said one with experience; a teacher. The arts themselves have followed a similar path, advancing slowly over time, individually influenced by those who came before; soldiers, warriors, students, masters and visionaries. Millennia later we see the fruits of their labor; an offspring of countless forms of combat (karate, kung fu, muay thai, etc.).   Regardless what styles or theories you embrace, mixed martial arts is obviously not the handiwork of one person, group, or culture; it has evolved over thousands of years and continues to evolve today.

Who invented the “Sport” of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in the United States?  Answer:  Bill Viola and Frank Caliguri –1979

who invented mma
Frank Caliguri and Bill Viola are credited with inventing the sport of MMA in America years before the UFC and founding the first mixed martial arts company in the United States -1979


Contrary to popular belief, the UFC was not the first organization to promote the sport of mixed martial arts in 1993.  The development of mainstream MMA as an organized and structured “sport” in the United States of America, is credited to CV Productions Inc., the oldest MMA company in America.  Founded by Frank Caliguri and Bill Viola in 1979, the duo packaged and promoted legal mixed martial arts until it was banned by the Pennsylvania legislature in 1983.

Mixed Martial Madness:  The Birth of an American Sport 

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 arts entrepreneurs pursued a dream that would change the sporting world forever. Bill Viola and Frank Caliguri, martial artists from Pittsburgh, set out to prove once and for all who the “Toughest Man on the planet” was by inventing a radical new “sport.” Groundbreaking—sophisticated—progressive; their competition transformed the barbaric spectacles of an earlier era into a modern franchise more akin to the NFL than the Roman Coliseum. It was the Tough Guy Contest, The Battle of the Brawlers.

CV [Caliguri and Viola] Productions created the blueprint for a multi-billion dollar business in 1979 by launching the first mixed martial arts league in United States history only to ignite a bitter turf war with a jealous boxing community over money, power and respect.  Mixed Martial Madness reveals a clandestine plot that subverted a martial arts revolution that was poised to challenge boxing for preeminence as the king of combat sports.

The rise and fall of the first Mixed Martial Arts competition in the United States is nothing less than a spectacular David-and Goliath story populated by a colorful cast of characters who bring the drama of MMA to life.  This was reality fighting, not an overhyped mixed “challenge.” Professional athletes, barroom brawlers, collegiate wrestlers, self-proclaimed bad asses, and aspiring “Rockys” all went toe-to-toe in what was the first legal “anything goes” competition in America.

The testosterone-laced rollercoaster ride was ultimately buried by back alley politics and special interests in an effort to protect the “sweet science.”  In 1983, with the stench of corruption still in the air, the Pennsylvania legislature banned the new sport en route to setting the first legal precedent for MMA—ever.

Outlawed and blacklisted by the “Good ol’ boys,” Mixed Martial Arts would sit idle until an upstart UFC finally emerged in 1993. Unfortunately, their “No Holds Barred” format was light-years behind CV Productions in terms of rules, regulations and safety precautions.  It would take nearly thirty years of “catching up” for MMA to come full circle and gain mainstream acceptance.  Mixed Martial Madness is the untold story of the men who changed the game and a sport that was born ahead of its time.

If you are a member of the media and would like to read an advance copy of the book, please contact   

who invented mma in America?

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who invented mma





Cauliflower Chronicles

marshal carperWhen Marshal Carper broke up with his long-time girlfriend, he packed up his white belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and moved from rural Pennsylvania to Hilo, Hawaii to train at the BJ Penn MMA Academy.

The Cauliflower Chronicles follow Carper”s adventures and misadventures, both on the mat and around the island. He quickly learns that Hawaii is not the carefree paradise advertised in brochures and finds himself feeling like a foreigner in his own country. On the mat, he experiences Hawaiian fight culture from the inside, goes head to head with BJ Penn, and struggles playfuddle to overcome injuries. Off the mat, he explores the Hawaiian Independence movement and the effects of colonization, battles with giant cockroaches and centipedes, meets a myriad of colorful locals, and travels the island in the bed of the Red Baron—a rusted 1986 Mazda pick-up truck.

At times sad, shocking, and laugh out-loud funny, The Cauliflower Chronicles is a must-read for both sports fans and travel buffs, showing a side of mixed martial arts and Hawaii not available anywhere else.

Pick up your copy today


Rooney McGinely Boxing Club

I recently had the pleasure to sit down with John R. “Jack” McGinley Jr. [Barney McGinley’s Grandson].  Below is an excerpt from the upcoming book “Mixed Martial Madness”

*Photos courtesy of Jack McGinley & Art Rooney Jr.

rooney mcginley boxing club

During the 1930s & 40s the famed Rooney-McGinley Boxing Club put Pittsburgh prizefighting on the map.  Rooney, as in Art Rooney, the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers, partnered with Barney McGinley to promote gladiators on the gridiron and the canvas.  John R. “Jack” McGinley Jr. [Barney’s Grandson] jokes about the Fort Pitt Hotel headquarters, “They had a desk. One drawer with football tickets, the other boxing tickets.”  The gym became “the” place to train for champions like the “Pittsburgh Kid” Billy Conn.

billy conn

Billy was regarded as one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters of all time; a trifecta: handsome, athletic and charismatic. “Conn was a family friend, so much so that Art [Rooney Sr.] even stood as Godfather for [Tim Conn] one of his kids,” says McGinley Jr. The public perception of boxers in the 1940s was on an entirely other level.  When asked if Billy Conn was the equivalent of Hines Ward [Pittsburgh Steeler Star] in terms of celebrity status.  McGinley quipped, “No he was more like the Michael Jordan.”  Conn was a beloved national hero, Hollywood celebrity, and household name.  It was a testimony not only to boxings popularity, but the clout associated with its hierarchy.  The night Billy Conn “won and lost” the heavyweight title from Joe Louis in New York, over 24,000 fans sat idle at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh to watch the Pirates play baseball.  The umpire suspended the game so the anxious crowd could listen to the fight over the P.A. system.  At that moment Pittsburgh and most of America stopped. Boxing gripped the nation.

In 1951 Barney’s son Jack McGinley Sr. promoted the first major heavyweight championship in the city’s history, a match between Jersey Joe Walcott and Ezzard Charles at Forbes Field. The bout was Ring Magazine’s “Fight of the Year,” attracting a virtual who’s who of boxing legends; Billy Conn, Fritzie Zivic, Teddy Yarosz, Primo Carnera, Joe Louis, and Rocky Marciano.  My grandfather William Viola also sat ringside that day, rubbing elbows with the greats.  McGinley Jr. recounts “The buzz was everywhere… It was like the first Superbowl.” (Jersey Joe would later fight mixed-fights with pro-wresting stars “Nature By” Buddy Rogers and Lou Thesz.  Most historians concede that these were likely “worked” fights, a frequent way for ex boxing champions past their prime to earn a paycheck).

Jack McGinley Sr. was quoted as saying, “Television killed boxing here.” By the early 1950s fans chose to stay home and watch fights on tv instead of attending them live. Although boxing may have been Barney McGinley’s first love, the writing was on the wall.  He and Rooney turned their attention to football and never looked back; a difficult decision, but ultimately the right call.  Today, the Steelers franchise is a billion dollar entity while boxing never regained the glitz and glamour of its heyday.  As to the future of Pittsburgh boxing, McGinley sadly admits, “Those days are over…I can’t name four [top boxers] today… I think mixed martial arts has a chance.”

Kumite Classic

Kumite Classic Entertainment Corp. is paving the way for healthy active lifestyles in Pittsburgh and abroad. As an industry leader, the company sponsors the annual Kumite Classic Championships and has launched the best online casino australia “Fitness And Sports Tour.” The FAST 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 among both children and adults The prestigious Kumite Classic has an 11 year proven track record, the extravaganza offers a completely unique and interactive health expo with thousands of spectators, athletes, and industry professionals. Visit The Website