Did You Know the Original Toughman Contest Started in Bay City, Michigan?
The Original Toughman Contest was founded right here in Michigan.
Who doesn't remember the infamous Toughman Contest? If you don't, the Toughman Contest was set up for novice amateur boxers to fight it out in the ring. Basically, a competition for all the armchair fighters that have said something along the lines of "I could beat that guy if I was in there." And the whole thing was started by two dudes in Bay City, Michigan.
In 1979, Art Dore and Dean Oswald created the Toughman Contest. Just a couple dudes wanting to prove their toughness and opened it up to friends to find out. From that idea, the Toughman Contest grew like wildfire and in 2001 alone, around 135 Toughman competitions took place around the United States. The Toughman Contest even inspired TV shows on Fox and FX.
Not only did the Toughman Contest inspire a ton of live events, but it also inspired the film and video game worlds. The movie Tough Enough in 1983 featured a Toughman Contest and even Sega Genesis had a Toughman Contest game.
Even if you never followed the Toughman Contests, you will definitely recognize some of the fighters that competed in the events. Some of those fighters include Eric "Butterbean" Esch, Mr. T, and Ken Shamrock. Some of the Toughman Contests are still taking place annually in West Virginia, Ohio, and Oklahoma.
Honestly, I wouldn't mind if there was a resurgence in the Toughman Contests. The UFC is cool and all, but there's just something about two average Joe's trying to beat the hell out of each other that is pretty entertaining to me.