Ring of Combat began with one simple concept, to give mixed martial art (MMA) fighters a platform to showcase their talent and dedication. Owned by former three-time world kickboxing champion, Lou Neglia, Ring of Combat began to pave the way for east coast MMA with its first event held October 12th, 2002 in Uncasville, Connecticut. Though there were only seven bouts on the card, fight fans and casual sports fans were fascinated by the this new form of combat sports and Lou knew he had something special. With the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) leading the charge in bringing positive awareness to the sport of MMA throughout the United States, Lou set his sights on The Garden State of New Jersey. After working with the boxing commission in New Jersey, Lou brought the first sanctioned MMA event to Secaucus, Jersey with Ring of Combat 2 on December 7, 2002.
Today, MMA has rose from obscurity to widely considered the fastest growing sport in the world. Lou realized from his own experience that fighters would need to work their way to the top and firmly believes, tough fights make great fighters. Lou’s keen eye for talent helped groom some of the best fighters on the planet. You either win you learn in tough fights in his eyes. You learn nothing from easy fights or handpicked opponents. It is because of this belief Lou has witnessed firsthand many of his Ring of Combat fighters cross over to the world’s biggest MMA promotion, the UFC. Former UFC champions Matt Serra, Frankie Edgar and Chris Weidman all came from the ROC family. Current UFC lightweight champion, Eddie Alvarez, had his first two professional fights in Ring of Combat.
Out of 55 events, over 100 ROC fighters have been called to the UFC with many others on the cusp. No other promotion can make a claim like this. It all comes back to Lou’s philosophy, tough fights make great fighters. Ring of Combat will continue to make the best fights possible for the fans and will continue to groom the next generation of MMA fighters. This is where ROC thrives, finding great but unknown talent and preparing them for the world stage. It’s because of this, ROC has gained a reputation of being called the “American Idol” of MMA.