Dave Menne has the distinction of being the inaugural UFC middleweight champion. A pugilist with over 60 mixed-martial-arts fights over the course of his vaunted fight career. Menne’s activity in the sport dates back to before it was even called MMA. Where many utilized the NHB (No Holds Barred) moniker. Dave Menne made his pro-MMA debut in April 1997 and would go on to fight four times in a two day period. His competitive career ended in March 2012 after having encompassed three different decades. In this part of a brand new chronicles series, Menne talks about his beginnings in the wild west days of this truly unique sport.
The MMA origins
“I think initially I was looking into doing some Thai boxing actually. I was spending some time and kind of jumping around the country a little bit and ended up in New Mexico for a period of time. Was staying in Santa Fe. Would dabble in some Muay Thai. So for that I ended up back in Minnesota. I initially was also training in some Thai boxing. I took a couple above the waist, leg kick fights, I guess. In the process, MMA started to become something of interest, I guess.”
Menne continued, “It’s something I saw early on. In I guess high school the first couple. Then there was some calls out that there would be some small events. Locally, I had been training a little bit of Jiu-Jitsu at that time and decided to go see what it’s about. Eventually, the venue I think got canceled or stopped. We ended up having the fights in a cold house in the middle of Wisconsin. So that was my first dabbling in MMA. Was kind of interesting. People in front of the windows and in front of the radiators.”