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MMA HALL OF FAME Nominee » Frederico Lapenda


Frederico Lapenda • Class of 2005 • Brought Marco Ruas to UFC 6 on 14 July 1995.

Brazilian-born Frederico Lapenda is so a key figure in MMA during the mid-90s that in 2007 Gladiator magazine named him, along with Art Davie, as one of the two men responsible for creating the worldwide MMA movement.

In 1995 Lapenda brought Marco Ruas to the UFC, introducing him at UFC VI. Ruas debuted at UFC VII, winning three fights in one night. The same year, Lapenda opened an MMA academy in Westwood, California run by Carlson Gracie.

The next year, Lapenda started a rival league to the UFC, the World Vale Tudo Championship (WVC), which debuted in Japan. WVC 1 featured UFC vets Steve Jennum, Oleg Taktarov and Marco Ruas, the first time a UFC champion had fought in Japan, and the first time an MMA event was promoted in Japan by a foreigner, setting the stage for the UFC and others to enter the market.

The WVC helped to launch the careers of a number of MMA Hall of Fame nominees, including Mark Kerr, Pedro Rizzo, and Igor Vovchanchyn. Then Lapenda took the sport worldwide, promoting shows in Aruba, Brazil, Holland, Israel,  Jamaica, Japan, Russia, and Ukraine.

Lapenda, who had come to the US in the 1987 to study film, gradually moved from producing fights to producing film.

Initially working for Peter Guber's Mandalay Entertainment Group Lapenda then founded Paradigm Pictures. The company has since produced the successful weekly cable show "Combate Mortal", four highly-rated "Fox Files"investigative reports,  the highly-regarded documentaries The Smashing Machine (HBO, 2002) and Rites of Passage: The Rebirth of Combat Sports (PPV, 2001), feature films including The Hammer,  Blonde and Blonder, Bad Guys, and more.

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