When it comes to amateur MMA in the fight capital of the world, with Tuff-N-Uff Amateur Fighting Championships, the hits just keep on coming.

Friday November 12th represents the 17th anniversary of MMA being introduced to the public as the Ultimate Fighting Championships held their inaugural event in Denver, Colorado.

Now, 17 years later, the sport has come full circle, as the potential rooted deep in the competition has paved the way for an amateur organization like TNU to flourish and thrive in the community of mixed martial arts.

What once was a single organization and a handful of warriors has become a community of promotions, fight camps and athletes. At the center of it all is TNU and their efforts to strengthen the sport of tomorrow by allowing amateurs to cut their teeth today.

Fresh off of a spectacular event on October 22nd, Barry Meyer and his staff have coordinated yet another impressive fight card: A fight card that showcases some of the sport’s most promising talent.

As the organization likes to put it, the talent competing under their banner represents the future stars of MMA. If you have ever had the pleasure of taking in one of their events, you know exactly what they mean.

This time out, Masters Hall of Famer Barry Meyer and his brother Jeff have coordinated the opening round of an eight way female tournament with the prize being their first ever 145 pound ladies title.

The queen of this tournament will be put to the ultimate test if the opening field is any indication of how this tournament will go. Four extremely promising talents have been brought together to open this highly anticipated tournament.

Autumn Richardson is a Team Quest product and a TNU veteran who has put on quite a show for Vegas fight fans in the past. She is looking to square off with a dangerous Judoka and Olympic silver medalist Ronda Rousey.

Richardson carries with her more experience, but should expect nothing but a world class fight from her opponent; a competitor who has been tested on the biggest stage in the world in Rousey.

The other two ladies set to open the tournament are also dangerous and more than capable of shaking this competition up.

One of the top 145 prospects across women’s MMA is 19-year-old, undefeated Taylor Stratford. She will be looking to put her stamp on the competition as she looks to improve to 6-0 as an amateur fighter.

Across the TNU ring from her will be the Team Quest trained Shauna Dugger. Dugger may be making her amateur debut, but those in the know warn not to underestimate her ability to make waves across this tournament.

All four ladies represent the opening round of a tournament scheduled to wrap up in February. It is promising to think that all of these competitors could very well be the next wave of females to accept the torch, as women’s MMA continues to build steam and press on, earning the credibility if fully deserves.

To think back to the first public MMA event live on pay per view, it seems like just yesterday that this sport was for men only. Now so many years later, the always exciting tournament format lives on, but now females are the ones competing.

The sport has come a long way in a short period of time. One gets very excited to think where it will be 10 years from now. Especially with the fighters and their teams having a platform like TNU to hone their craft.

While the ladies may be poised to steal the show, they are not the only warriors set to wrap their hands and go to battle.

Prospects from the lairs of two of the sports ultimate legends will collide as Xtreme Couture prospect Zach Conley sets his sights on Wand Fight Team’s Matt Dahlkemper. Both men carry winning records and the support of two of the best fight teams in the world.

These camps take a lot of pride in their performances and the competition is extremely stiff when they square off. It is of course friendly competition amongst two teams that carry deep respect for each other but it is the nature of the beast that drives them.

Having your hand raised after competition with such a respected opponent tells a fighter and a camp that they truly earned it, that all their hard work was enough to topple even the most quality of adversaries.

While one of these men will emerge victorious, it is the fans looking on who truly win, as they are allowed a glimpse into the future of this sport. TNU provides that unique view of what prospects training under the stars of today may look like when they become the stars of tomorrow.

And these fights represent only a fraction of a fight card that, as always, guarantees to impress. Even if you can’t catch the event live in Vegas at the gorgeous Mardi Gras Ballroom of the Orleans Hotel and Casino, you can always catch it live on Go Fight Live for a modest charge.

It is truly amazing how accessible MMA has become. What once was a spectacle, has become commonplace thriving with competition. What once was seen as barbaric, has slowly become accepted as world class. Nowhere is that more apparent than at a TNU event.

Barry Meyer had this to say about how far the sport has come and how proud he is to play his role in its progression:

"It's amazing to see how for mixed martial arts has progressed in just 17 years," Meyer said. "I remember watching the first UFC live on pay-per-view, and I knew immediately that I had to be involved in the sport. For mixed martial arts to now be attracting Olympic veterans at the amateur level just 17 years later shows how wonderful this sport is and how bright the future can be."

Mr. Meyer, that has a lot to do with people like you. The efforts of you and your brother Jeff, your staff and all your competitors are the ingredients to progress this sport towards even a brighter future.

The MMA community applauds you.



This article originally featured at Hurtsbad.com