Whether the newest member of the UFC Hall of Fame’s Contributor Wing wants to admit it or not, it’s been one of the wildest rides in sports history for Marc Ratner.
Ratner introduced himself to the world of combat sports in the late 1950s after a trip to Cashman Field for his first live boxing event. Despite having no firm recollection of who fought that night, it wouldn’t be the last time at ringside for the man who would spend the next two decades frequenting fights.
Throughout the ‘60s, ‘70s and early ‘80s, Ratner would put himself in the presence of pugilistic greatness regularly. He sought out events headlined by names such as George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Cassius Clay AND Muhammad Ali (on several different occasions) until he began working for the Nevada State Athletic Commission in the mid-80s.
“I had a lot of friends who were boxing judges and I used to go to fights at a place called the Silver Slipper, which is no longer there,” Ratner explained. “Some of these boxing people knew me from basketball and running the time clock at UNLV and doing other things. They said to me, ‘Why don’t you become a boxing inspector?’ So, I applied for that and became an inspector around 1984.”
From diehard fan in the most notable period in boxing history to running the show in the resurgence of the sweet science, Ratner looks back at a career in which he was front row for the biggest moments of your favorite boxer, your father’s favorite boxer and your grandparent’s favorite boxer.
What challenge could excite the man who saw Mike Tyson bite a chunk out of Evander Holyfield’s ear, watched “The Fan Man” glide in and interrupt Riddick Bowe-Holyfield 2, the second chapter of Holyfield vs Lewis and many more?
How about pushing forward a sport he seemed to believe in long before anybody else did?
Ratner would leave the Nevada State Athletic Commission in 2006 to work for the UFC and legalize the sport once referred to as “human cockfighting” around the world. In a short amount of time, with Ratner’s help, every state in the country became believers in MMA.
Marc Ratner Inducted Into UFC Hall of Fame
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Marc Ratner Inducted Into UFC Hall of Fame
As a man who represses praise and attention, he admittedly shies away from taking credit even when it’s due, but there’s a good chance that anybody reading this can thank Ratner for any live events they may have attended all over the globe.
“I’m a little hesitant to talk about those things for myself,” Ratner says when asked about his accomplishments.
He will always happily admit that watching the sport getting approved in New York was one of the most validating moments of his career, but you’d never know without asking him. In fact, you’ll never hear Ratner addressing the high points of his career. He feels much more enlightened when those around him tell him a story than he would sharing his own.
There’s no false modesty behind it. From Dana White and the executives to seasonal interns, Ratner is never too busy to walk down and seek out conversation from anybody in the building. A person who has never chopped it up with Ratner is likely one of the newest employees in the company.
“I like walking around, seeing different departments, just visiting,” Ratner explained. “It’s just part of the way I do things. I believe, for me, that it’s good, so I just go around and say ‘Hello.’ Some people I wave to, some people I talk to.”
Learning his peers’ stories is as much a part of Ratner’s job as getting the UFC regulated around the world. He’s succeeded at both, and luckily for him, the UFC and everybody around him, the more he globally grows the sport, the more people there will be to say hi to every day.
Catch Marc Ratner’s induction into the UFC Hall of Fame Thursday, September 23 at 7:30 pm PT on UFC FIGHT PASS!