‘There are pieces of knowledge’: How “Karate Kid” launched the career of MMA


“Sean Daugherty watched closely as the moment of reality played out in Youngstown, Ohio, on his parents’ TV set.

It was the fall of 1984 and the radio waves were dominated by Prince’s Purple Rain, every young man had a pair of camouflage cargo pants, and young ladies devoured rubber jelly bracelets stacked like Slinkys on their forearms. Ghostbusters was the summer’s box office hit, but the nine-year-old Daugherty, who watched the movie on HB, caught the attention of a less ambitious film called The Karate Kid. The makers of the original Karate Kid film (and the three sequels, animated film and television series that followed) may not have expected the film to feature athletes in professional fighting careers, since at the time there were no mixed martial arts in the U.S. Nonetheless, Daugherty, then an 18-year-old amateur kickboxer, fought at UFC 2 in Denver, Colorado, almost a decade after La La.

Daugherty was ahead of his time-he remained the youngest boxer in the Octagon until Danny Lauzon made his UFC 64 debut, 13 years later. Karate Kid Ralph Macchio:’ I’m at peace with the choices I made’ Read moreAt the same time, a young Georges St-Pierre was struggling as the local whipping boy of his small town of Saint-Isidore about 600 miles away, some three hours southwest of Montreal.

St-Pierre had psoriasis that covered his face and body, which made him odd. He said that he always lost his lunch money, his clothing and his dignity. Friends were scarce – essentially, he was not that different from Daniel’s character in Karate Kid. Coordination and an inexhaustible source of energy were what St-Pierre had. At the age of seven, he began karate, and while he admits things did In his 14th professional fight, St-Pierre captured his first UFC title in late 2006. St-Pierre had a 26-2 record when he retired in 2017, winning a UFC title many times in two different weight classes. He is known to be the most popular UFC fighter to ever come from a karate background. Karate was also the highlight of the childhood of Michelle Watterson. Every time her brother walked her down the street

My dad was in the military, so we loved the punitive influence and the aspect of respect,” Waterson says. “I knew this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life after my first tournament. Karate tournaments were a Waterson family tradition – when they could afford it, the whole clan would climb in the car to travel to Las Vegas and other tournament destinations. Waterson competed in karate tournaments, her dresser overflowing with gold medals, from the age of 10 to 19.

She defeated Angela Hill last September, taking her UFC record to 5-5 and her overall professional MMA record to 18-8. “I was not born until 1986, so I remember first watching The Next Karate Kid with Hilary Swank,” Waterson says. “The Netflix series Cobra Kai was all seen by Daugherty, St-Pierre and Waterson, which continues the tales of Daniel and his main antagonist Johnny Lawrence 30 years ago.” With flashbacks, a glorious 80s soundtrack and recurring characters, the series draws heavily on the films. Not all the situations are credible (a karate fight in a mall?), but they were not in the original either, and the series is well done. Entertainment Weekly called it “silly-smart.” Cobra Kai is a true success, whatever the recipe. Netflix announced that when it premiered on the internet in August, 50 million households accessed the first season.

Amongst them was St-Pierre. “I’ve seen the first two seasons – it’s hilarious,” St-Pierre wrote. It exemplifies how I think in several ways.

I don’t believe in evil people, I just consider some good people, some good people,


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