Some of them fought in the ring or cage, others did battle behind the scenes to propel Canadian mixed martial arts to widespread success. But they are all pioneers. Learn about these focal MMA legends below.
“The Ronin.” The first world champion to come from Canada. Goes down in history as a globe-wandering superstar who pioneered the athleticism we see in today’s fighters, as well as his own unique experimentation and zen attitude.
An accomplished trainer who turned Mark Hominick, Sam Stout, Chris Horodecki and others into some of the top fighters in the world, teaching a style that was adopted into what we see in UFC today. Passed away in 2011.
A former TKO Featherweight Champion and a tremendous striker. Many will remember him for the legendary goose-egg that formed on his head when he took a brutal beating in front of a partisan Canadian crowd at UFC 129.
One of the most exciting Canadian fighters ever to compete. Known for his jaw, and ability to trade with some of the world’s top fighters. The prototypical “bonus hunter,” always going for the spectacular KO. Along with Hominick, he’s now training the next generation of Canadian fighter at Adrenaline MMA.
One of the first Canadian fighters to make waves in UFC. Known for his tremendous ability to absorb punishment and put on exciting fights, as well as his limelight-loving personality.
Founder of TKO, the most successful Canadian MMA promotion of all time. His flair for marketing, in particular pitting Ontario vs. Quebec to generate fan interest, led to sell-outs at the Montreal Bell Centre and proved the viability of the market. He also assisted in the regulation of the sport in 1998.
Montreal-area reserve promoter of Canada's first PPV, Extreme Fighting 2, when legality of the sport was hazy. Arrested after the show but refused to budge on his belief that he and the fighters had done nothing wrong. Lobbied and consulted with Quebec Athletic Commission to prove that MMA deserved to be promoted safely.
Canadian lawyer recruited by the UFC to bring MMA to the province of Ontario. His lobbying and litigation pointed at the Ontario government, combined with the growing popularity of the sport, made regulation a priority and led to legalization in Ontario, and the biggest MMA event of all time at Rogers Centre.
Arguably the greatest fighter in UFC history. Career record of 25-2 with a streak of dominance that has yet to be repeated in UFC. His effect ripples beyond the Octagon as his unprecedented popularity stoked the fires for legalization nation-wide, and filled the Rogers Centre for what will likely go down as UFC’s biggest event, UFC 129
The head coach of Montreal’s Tristar Gym, home base for premier Canadian fighters including Georges St-Pierre and Rory Macdonald.
The founder of Maximum Fighting Championship, the Canadian West Coast's #1 MMA organization and at one time one of the biggest fight shows on Earth. Pavelich's penchant for bombastic interviews generated worldwide interest in his shows and fighters, and the television deals he brokered made MFC the place to be for any up-and-comer.