Mt. Rushmore is the famous cliffside work featuring mammoth headstones of some America's most influential and well known forefathers.
The question here is, who would you guys consider to be the forefathers of Mixed Martial Arts as we know it today. My four would probably be:
1.) Royce Gracie - The original "Ultimate Fighter." He was one of the baddest men in the world during his time, and I can still remember the outcry for "Gracie vs. Tyson", or the "Gracie vs. Bruce Lee, who would've won?" questions. That's the kind of shit you still hear even today. No one even semi-literate can have an MMA conversation without mentioning Royce Gracie at some point, or in some context.
2.) Kazushi Sakuraba - PRIDE FC's original "Superstar." Sakuraba became a legend after defeating 4 Gracie's in the ring, including the aforementioned Royce Gacie. His 1 and a half hour battle with Royce was legendary, and his comeback win via armbar submissiom against current 205lb champ "Rampage" Jackson propelled him to another stratoshpere. Kazushi is the myth of PRIDE, in much the same way Royce Gracie is in terms of the UFC. Both men will forever figure into any equation when determining the "greatest of all time."
3.) Wanderlei Silva - The God of PRIDE, Silva became the new face of the company after trashing Kazushi Sakuraba in the ring in mere moments, and then again in their rematch. Silva was Pride's first Middleweight champion, and he reigned for a longer period than any champion in MMA history.
4.) Randy Cotoure - For some reason, I really don't feel comfortable placing Randy here, but I will do it anyway. Randy appeared on the MMA scene quite some time ago, and he has had much success during his stay. Perhaps after several years have passed and he has been away from the sport, I will feel more comfortable placing Mr. Cotoure among the other established "forefathers" of MMA.
So what do you guys think? Any fighters you agree or disagree with?