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Maurice
Smith
remains one of MMA’s most overlooked pioneers. The former

Ultimate Fighting Championship
heavyweight titleholder turns 60
on Dec. 13.

Smith was a multiple-time world championship kickboxer who
befriended ground specialist Frank
Shamrock
—together, they formed
The Alliance
—and unknowingly provided one of the blueprints to
the cross-training methods that now dominate modern mixed martial
arts. The Seattle native made his Octagon debut at UFC 14, where,
despite his middling 5-7 record, he challenged the heavily favored
Mark
Coleman
for the undisputed heavyweight championship on July 27,
1997. Smith upset “The Hammer” by unanimous decision before a crowd
of 5,000 fans inside Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham, Alabama,
marking the first significant victory for a striking-based fighter
in what had become a wrestling-dominated landscape. He went on to
retain the title with a technical knockout of David “Tank”
Abbott
at UFC 15 three months later before surrendering it in a
contentious majority decision loss to Randy
Couture
on Dec. 21, 1997. Smith closed out his career with a
14-14 record, his resume highlighted by the game-changing win over
Coleman and two stoppage victories against Marco Ruas. He
was inducted into the pioneer wing of the UFC Hall of Fame in
2017.

Others in MMA celebrating a birthday during the month of
December:

DEC. 1

Scott
Barrett
, 38
Rivaldo
Junior
, 38
Shinsho
Anzai
, 36
Chad
Anheliger
, 35
Weber
Almeida
, 34
Curtis
Millender
, 34
Richard
Walsh
, 33
Saul
Rogers
, 32
Kailan
Hill
, 27
Jamal
Pogues
, 26

DEC. 2

LaVerne
Clark
, 48
Dennis
Hallman
, 46
Mike
Wessel
, 44
Caio
Alencar
, 43
Vitor
Vianna
, 42
John
Orr
, 38
Billy
Vaughan
, 38
Ali
Bagov
, 31
Marlon
Vera
, 29
Yadong
Song
, 24

DEC. 3

Vernon
White
, 50
Robert
Hitte
, 46
Cristiano
Marcello
, 44
Seth
Petruzelli
, 42
Jonatas
Novaes
, 40
Icho
Larenas
, 39
Nina
Nunes
, 36
Murad
Machaev
, 35
Shoki
Omichi
, 34
Tomasz
Narkun
, 32

DEC. 4

Sean
Daugherty
, 46
Josh
Machan
, 35
Mario
Soto
, 35
Tyler
Bialecki
, 33
Bryce
Logan
, 32
Mike
Rhodes
, 32
Ryan
Roddy
, 32
Roldan
Sangcha-an
, 31
Max
Holloway
, 30
Gianni
Subba
, 29

DEC. 5

Daijiro
Matsui
, 49
Amy
Davis
, 47
Tetsuji
Kato
, 44
Kenichiro
Togashi
, 41
Roger
Bowling
, 39
Mats
Nilsson
, 38
Brendan
Loughnane
, 32
Brok
Weaver
, 30
Austin
Clem
, 29
Jared
Gooden
, 28

DEC. 6

Royler
Gracie
, 56
Jens
Pulver
, 47
Freddie
Aquitania
, 42
Peggy
Morgan
, 42
Igor
Araujo
, 41
Vladimir
Starcencov
, 39
Vanessa
Marie Grimes
, 37
Silvana
Gomez Juarez
, 37
Todd
Duffee
, 36
Chris
Rollins
, 32

DEC. 7

Juan
Mott
, 56
Ronaldo
Souza
, 42
K.J.
Noons
, 39
Mike
Mucitelli
, 38
Dongi
Yang
, 37
Justin
Patterson
, 36
Michael
Chiesa
, 34
Claudia
Gadelha
, 33
Stephen
Banaszak
, 31
Brandon
Moreno
, 28

DEC. 8

Frank
Shamrock
, 49
Lucio
Linhares
, 48
Makoto
Takimoto
, 47
Clay
Guida
, 40
Naoyuki
Kotani
, 40
Drew
Pendleton
, 38
Luiz
Andrade I
, 36
Steve
Cantwell
, 35
Billy
Quarantillo
, 33
Pannie
Kianzad
, 30

DEC. 9

Chris
Guillen
, 49
Derek
Bohi
, 42
Aaron
Riley
, 41
Joey
Beltran
, 40
Carlos
Eduardo
, 40
Bobby King,
38
Terrell
Hobbs
, 36
Maria
Oliveira
, 35
Frank
Buenafuente
, 34
Egor
Golubtsov
, 34

DEC. 10

John
Olav Einemo
, 46
Andreas
Kraniotakes
, 40
Zoila
Frausto
, 38
Jamie
Varner
, 37
Zarah
Fairn dos Santos
, 35
Flore
Hani
, 35
Ben
Sosoli
, 32
Soo
Chul Kim
, 30
Marilia
Santos
, 29
Tracy
Cortez
, 28

DEC. 11

Yuka
Tsuji
, 47
Toni
Tauru
, 37
Mark
Drummond
, 36
Amir
Aliakbari
, 34
Jason
Ponet
, 33
Anthony
Rocco Martin
, 32
Mateusz
Gamrot
, 31
Alexander
Romanov
, 31
Chris
Disonell
, 29
Uros
Jurisic
, 29

DEC. 12

Royce
Gracie
, 55
Evangelista
Santos
, 44
Yuki
Shojo
, 41
Court
McGee
, 37
Tristan
Connelly
, 36
Luke
Sanders
, 36
Neiman
Gracie
, 33
Derrick
Adkins
, 32
Alessio
Di Chirico
, 32
Spencer
Jebb
, 32

DEC. 13

Maurice
Smith
, 60
Mike
Nickels
, 50
Todd
Brown
, 45
B.J.
Penn
, 43
Amilcar
Alves
, 42
Sarah
D’Alelio
, 41
Garett
Whiteley
, 41
Dennis
Bermudez
, 35
Johnny
Eblen
, 30
Justin
Tafa
, 28

DEC. 14

Fernando
Vieira
, 38
Valdir
Araujo
, 37
Thiago
de Oliveira Perpetuo
, 35
Caio
Magalhaes
, 34
Amber
Brown
, 33
Graham
Park
, 33
Zach
Zane
, 32
Heili
Alateng
, 30
Ion
Cutelaba
, 28
Kazim
Tumenov
, 23

DEC. 15

Cleber
Luciano
, 48
Toni
Valtonen
, 43
Paul Taylor,
42
Guangyou
Ning
, 40
Yasubey
Enomoto
, 38
Jared
Chaffee
, 37
Ivica
Truscek
, 34
Poliana
Botelho
, 33
Roman
Bogatov
, 31
Fernando
Padilla
, 25

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live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device
via the ESPN app.

DEC. 16

Bobby
Southworth
, 52
Narantungalag
Jadambaa
, 46
Elaina
Maxwell
, 43
James
Thompson
, 43
Adriano
Martins
, 39
Takeya
Mizugaki
, 38
Won Sik
Park
, 35
Cody
McKenzie
, 34
Nicco
Montano
, 33
Raufeon
Stots
, 33

DEC. 17

Chuck
Liddell
, 52
Kiyoshi
Tamura
, 52
Scott
Junk
, 43
David
Loiseau
, 42
Francisco
Trevino
, 40
Victor
Valimaki
, 40
Joe Ray, 37
Matt
Dwyer
, 32
Steve
Kozola
, 32
Aline
Sattelmayer
, 31

DEC. 18

Kim
Couture
, 46
Evan
Dunham
, 40
Roland
Delorme
, 38
Ali
Isaev
, 38
Davey
Grant
, 36
Deiveson
Figueiredo
, 34
Gerald
Meerschaert
, 34
Bojan
Velickovic
, 33
John
Castaneda
, 30
Benoit St.
Denis
, 26

DEC. 19

Davis
Sylvester
, 48
Michihiro
Omigawa
, 46
Guido
Cannetti
, 42
Satoshi
Ishii
, 35
Darrion
Caldwell
, 34
Jack
Marshman
, 32
Steve
Montgomery
, 31
Tatiana
Suarez
, 31
Brad
Katona
, 30
Maria
Silva
, 26

DEC. 20

Mark
Coleman
, 57
Steve
Granieri
, 47
Nandor
Guelmino
, 46
Taiyo
Nakahara
, 39
Tristan
Johnson
, 38
Steve
Carl
, 37
Alexei
Kudin
, 37
Peter
Petties
, 31
Robert
Whittaker
, 31
Kouya
Kanda
, 26

DEC. 21

Mark
Kerr
, 53

Mauro Ranallo
, 52
Tuan
Pham
, 44
Masakatsu
Ueda
, 44
Mike
Bannon
, 39
Brad
Tavares
, 34
Levi
Queen
, 33
Olivier
Murad
, 28
Haris
Talundzic
, 26
Isa
Kilaev
, 22

DEC. 22

David
Branch
, 40
Bentley
Syler
, 39
Michel
Quinones
, 37
Zak
Ottow
, 35
Norman
Parke
, 35
Austin
Hubbard
, 30
Alex
Polizzi
, 30
Stephen
Langdown
, 29
Leonardo
Morales
, 29
Kyron
Bowen
, 28

DEC. 23

Francisco
Bueno
, 49
Fabricio
Camoes
, 43
Egidijus
Valavicius
, 43
Daniel
Barrera
, 41
Iony
Razafiarison
, 37
Joanne
Wood
, 35
Umar
Yankovski
, 33
Lance
Wright
, 29
Josiane
Nunes
, 28
Nick
Maximov
, 24

DEC. 24

Samy
Schiavo
, 46
Drew
Fickett
, 42
Jason
Miller
, 41
Cyril
Asker
, 36
Jesse
Ronson
, 36
Tim
Elliott
, 35
Aisling
Daly
, 34
David
Khachatryan
, 34
Klidson
Abreu
, 29
Darren
Till
, 29

DEC. 25

Daniel
Tabera
, 44
Mike
Aina
, 41
Rafael
Natal
, 39
Damien
Brown
, 37
Jordan
Smith
, 37
Rolando
Velasco
, 35
Dustin
Ortiz
, 33
Magomed
Magomedov
, 30
Joshua
Silveira
, 29
Alejandro
Sanchez
, 28

DEC. 26

Joe
Angel
Zamora
, 50
Jerome Le
Banner
, 49
Alex
Stiebling
, 45
Dan
Hornbuckle
, 41
Jesus
Martinez
, 38
Gregor
Gracie
, 35
Advin
Omic
, 35
Kyle
Noblitt
, 32
Dominick
Reyes
, 32
Albert
Tumenov
, 30

DEC. 27

Mike
Polchlopek
, 58
Liron
Wilson
, 49
Matt
Lucas
, 48
Daniel
Acacio
, 44
Yosmany
Cabezas
, 38
Cale
Yarbrough
, 35
Teddy
Ash
, 32
Simone
La Preziosa
, 32
Joe
Pingitore
, 31
Sol
Renato
, 31

DEC. 28

Gerald
Lovato
, 43
Steve
Mocco
, 40
Richard
Knepp
, 38
Matt
Bessette
, 37
Katlyn
Chookagian
, 33
Ozzy
Dugulubgov
, 33
Niklas
Stolze
, 29
Brendan
Allen
, 26
Ismael
Bonfim
, 26
Kyohei
Hagiwara
, 26

DEC. 29

Rumina
Sato
, 48
Mitsuhiro
Ishida
, 43
Edson
Claas Vieira
, 43
Mika
Nagano
, 38
Altair
Alencar
, 33
Anthony
Avila
, 33
Hugh
Pulley
, 33
Sheila
Gaff
, 32
Camila
Lima
, 32
Joey Davis,
28

DEC. 30

Jason
Ireland
, 42
Shannon
Gugerty
, 40
Todd Moore,
38
Nick
Osipczak
, 37
Wagner
Prado
, 35
Magomed
Alhasov
, 31
Darren
Stewart
, 31
Diego
Lopes
, 27
Karol
Rosa
, 27
Azamat
Bekoev
, 26

DEC. 31

Herman
Renting
, 53
Ian
Freeman
, 51
Kevin
Jordan
, 51
John
Renken
, 49
Diego
Sanchez
, 40
Chance
Rencountre
, 35
Daniel
Rodriguez
, 35
Randy
Steinke
, 35
Chidi
Njokuani
, 33
Michael
Trizano
, 30 Advertisement


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