“At first it was just a passion and love, and I honestly never knew what it could become,” Tuff-N-Uff president and founder Barry Meyer said. “Through years of persistence and determination we fortunately have gained a lot of recognition in the past few years.”
That may be a bit of an understatement.
On June 18, 1994, Meyer launched Tuff-N-Uff Productions, a promotion designed to showcase the very best in kickboxing action. Perhaps in a sign of things to come, the first event, “Nagy vs. Nevitt” actually saw kickboxing legend and now noted MMA trainer Jeff “Duke” Roufus appear as a special guest.
“It was humble a beginning, to be sure,” Meyer admitted. “But fueled by our passion for martial arts, we remained committed to growing our promotion, which included changing our focus to mixed martial arts beginning in 2003.”
Since that time – well before the current popularity boom of MMA that began with “The Ultimate Fighter” – Tuff-N-Uff has promoted fights featuring MMA notables such as Shonie Carter, Ryan Couture, Rob Emerson, Jon Fitch, Jesse Forbes, Brad Imes, Sam Morgan, Aaron Riley, Aaron Simpson, Jesse Taylor, Javier Torres and Javier Vazquez, among others.
“There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing fighters come though our ranks and find great success on a national stage, such as Jon Fitch and his success in the UFC,” Meyer said. “To then be inducted in the Masters Hall of Fame and also successfully lobby the Nevada State Athletic Commission to have amateur MMA legalized in Nevada is more than I could have ever dreamed.”
Tuff-N-Uff promoted 11 MMA events in 2010, and the company’s success led to a recent partnership with Justice Entertainment Group, a full-service entertainment, sports and event company that specializes in producing and promoting entertainment and sporting events in arenas, stadiums, theaters and nightclubs around the globe.
In May, Tuff-N-Uff held its first event at Cox Pavilion, site of the live final of “The Ultimate Fighter 1.” On July 1, the company returns to the building for another night featuring the future stars of mixed martial arts.
“Only time will tell what the future of Tuff-N-Uff holds, but for now we’re really proud of what we’ve accomplished in the first 17 years,” Meyer said. “We hope to propel the sport to another level and get the athletes that participate for us to become better people and be role models for the youth.
“With our new partnership with Justice Entertainment Group in place, we hope to continue to educate the masses on the beauty and importance of martial arts.”