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MMA HALL OF FAME Nominee » Chris Dolman


Chris Dolman • Class of 2005 • Debut 19 February 1995 vs. Akira Maeda.

Chris Dolman was born on February 17, 1945, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and devoted his entire adult like to the fighting arts.

In 1969 Dolman became world heavy weight Sambo champion, beating the Russians at their own game in Moscow. In 1985 he earned a second Sambo world title, in London, England at the age of 40. In addition to Sambo, Dolman was a seasoned international competitor in Judo, freestyle, and greco.

During the 1980s, in various parts of the world, a new form of pro wrestling developed - the hard work. These were scripted and choreographed bouts, but ones that used realistic fighting techniques. The kicks, strikes, takedowns, submissions, etc were all properly executed and not of the Flying Closeline into Camel Clutch variety familiar to anyone who has watched the WWE. Further, they were often marketed as style vs. style match ups. While pro wrestling often receives criticism in mixed martial arts circles, much of MMA came out of pro wrestling, both in Japan as is often understood, and in Brazil, as is less widely recognized.

When Japanese pro wrestling turned real, Chris Dolman was leading the charged. It was Dolman who brought the first generation of Dutch fighters into mixed martial arts, back when it was known as NHB in the USA and free fight in the Netherlands. Dolman's primary vehicle was Akira Maeda's RINGS organization. The list of Dolman's notable Dutch students is long, and includes Gegard Mousasi, Alistair Overeem, Valentine Overeem,  Willie Peeters, Bas Rutten, and Dick Vrij among many others.

Chris Dolman was not just the Godfather of Dutch mixed martial arts. He was also responsible through his international contacts from decades of competing overseas for bringing the first wave of Russian fighters into MMA, through RINGS.

Mixed martial arts is now the world's fastest growing sport, with every bout reported worldwide. Its origins in Brazil and Japan were relatively unheralded, even unrecorded. But Chris Dolman stands as the godfather of Dtuch MMA, and much more, and thus his contributions to the sport are eternal.

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