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The Lion’s Den: The story of MMA’s first team (video)

Before the likes of Jackson-Wink MMA, American Top Team (ATT), American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) and several other fight teams exploded onto the mixed martial arts (MMA) spotlight, The Lion’s Den had already cemented itself as a legitimate camp on the sport.

In fact, many consider the Ken Shamrock-led group the original MMA team — a claim The Gracie Family may likely object to — which prompted Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to spotlight the famed camp in one of its entries in the “25 Years in Short” documentary series.

In the video embedded above — which originally aired on UFC Fight Pass — take a trip down memory lane as Shamrock details the growth of his team and the evolution of the sport dating back to UFC 1 way back in 1993 where he lost to Royce Gracie via submission.

It was then that Shamrock decided to create an MMA squad to help him -- and other fighters –- obtain the all-around skills needed to be competitive in mixed marital arts (MMA). The rest, as they say, is history as The Lion’s Den produced several great combatants such as Frank Shamrock, Vernon White, Mikey Burnett, Guy Mezger and many more.

Getting in as a member of the The Lions’ Den, though, was a fight in and of itself as the initiation and tryout process was as brutal as any fight any of its members had ever competed in.