Mixed martial arts and professional wrestling have had a close relationship for some time. It may not be brotherly, but the two sports – okay, pro wrestling in 2019 is more sports entertainment than wrestling – have a lot in common. This is precisely why fans of each respective sport tend to cross over. With pro-wrestling attracting fans at an early age by capturing the imagination of the young with its theatrics, many of these fans grow to enjoy MMA for its authenticity. Today, MMA has established itself as a household name in sports garnering a high number of avid supporters. These fans are not only interested in being spectators but are also invested in the outcome of events, both emotionally and sometimes financially. For those who have confidence in their predictions, betting on various fights highlights the excitement that comes with the sportsmanship being displayed. Having said this, MMA fans can bet on MMA with MyBookie to get great bonuses and to see all the odds for the next big UFC and Bellator events.

The rise in popularity of MMA is not shocking. Even before the UFC debuted in November 1993, MMA fighters and pro wrestlers had shuttled between the two sports. Brock Lesnar was far from the first wrestler to fight MMA and he certainly won’t be the last. Lesnar, who could return to the octagon soon, may be the most high-profile wrestler turned MMA star, but he isn’t the only one. In fact, long before Lesnar, there were some big names from both worlds to crossover hoping.

Dan “The Beast” Severn

Dan “The Beast” Severn was a highly decorated amateur wrestler before entering the world of MMA. In 1994, Severn joined UFC and first competed at UFC 4. Severn was the first top-class amateur wrestler to join the world of MMA. At the time, high-level amateurs were able to dominate the sport thanks to their grappling ability. According to more than one source, Severn’s style changed the way in which fighters trained. Severn had already started a career in pro wrestling before entering the octogen. In 1995, Severn won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship; and two years later, he joined the WWE.

Ken Shamrock

Ken Shamrock was UFC’s first mainstream competitor in the 1990s. Shamrock was trained to be a pro wrestler in 1988 and began working indie shows in the early 1990s. He used his pro wrestling experience to get into the MMA world in Japan. He began working for Pancrase in 1993 and soon joined up with UFC for their inaugural event hoping to rank among the greatest fighters in the championship. Later, the fighter joined the WWE in the late 1990s and become a top performer for a brief time with the company.

Satoru Sayam

Pro wrestling fans of a certain generation will know the name Satoru Sayama as the Japanese fighter was the original Tiger Mask in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Sayama was an innovator in the wrestling world and many of the high-flying moves done today were created by Sayama. He was trained by shoot fighting legend Karl Gotch, who had a massive influence on Japanese wrestling and MMA. After growing tired of the politics in pro wrestling in 1983, Sayama quit and began training MMA fighters. He later worked with the UWF and Shooto promotions. Sayama – who was critical of pro wrestling being worked – ironically participated in worked shoot matches with the UWF. In 1995, he finally participated in real MMA bouts going 1-0-2.

Don Frye

Don Frye was originally a training partner of Severn and finally jumped into the octagon for the first time in 1996 at UFC 8. Frye quickly showed a knack for the sport and was one of the most well-rounded fighters of his generation. The former amateur compiled a 20-9-1 MMA record. In 1997, “The Predator” signed a contract with New Japan Pro Wrestling and quickly became one of the company’s top wrestlers among the professional fighter rankings. Trained by veteran wrestlers “Mr. Perfect” Curt Henning and Brad Rheingans, Frye was a natural in the squared circle.