Bill Viola and Frank Caliguri were inducted into the Western PA Sports Museum at pioneers of MMA in Pittsburgh. Known as the Godfather's of MMA, the pair of martial arts promoters founded CV Productions in 1979 and were responsible for the first mainstream league of MMA competitions in the history of the United States. Pittsburgh is known as the birthplace of modern "sport" MMA. The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum of the Heinz History Center of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute unveiled an exhibit on 23 June 2011 to document the roots of MMA in Pittsburgh and first mixed martial arts league in the United States. The exhibit features memorabilia from the mixed martial arts based competitions including rare posters, fight gear, press materials, and photos that depict the event. The exhibit began as a temporary display in the front of the museum, and will ultimately find its home as a permanent addition to the boxing and wrestling sections of the Sports Museum. The Senator John Heinz History Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and the largest history museum in Pennsylvania. “The Sports Museum has brought to light the central role that Pittsburgh has played in the sports of boxing and wrestling, focusing on such greats as Bruno Sammartino and Kurt Angle,” said Anne Madarasz, co-director of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. “This exhibit adds a new chapter as we trace the roots of mixed martial arts in the United States back to the Pittsburgh region.” “That was our project, our child,” Viola said. “We were the brainchilds of this. We were the Barnum & Bailey promoters of this event. We went completely outside of the envelope when no one believed it could happen.” Read more: Viola honored as Mixed Martial Arts innovator – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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