This is not one of the first MMA fights ever. There had been hundreds if not thousands prior to this. Just in Brazil alone through the first three decades of the 20th century there were a lot (all documented in the book Choque), as well as many formal such events in Europe. However, currently this is the earliest one on video.
Neither one of the competitors were top of their professions. Pio Pico (real name Lupe Lemon) had a final record of 7-14-2. Not exactly championship caliber. However, keep in mind he was a legit heavyweight boxer at a time when that really meant something, and he could hit hard and was used to fighting. It was not new to him. Likewise, the pro wrestler he faced in this video, Nick Lutze was a mid-card wrestler who had a bit of notoriety on the west coast from the 30’s through the 50’s, and he did his work at a time when most wrestlers had to actually have a base skill in actual grappling (as opposed to the modern Hulk Hogan body builder types of the current era). So while neither was the best in their fields, they were legit and were far tougher, more dangerous, and more capable than most people.
As to the fight itself, we see the same things repeated that the UFC has shown to the modern world.
- The grappler does not try to hit, and actually is wide open to get hit himself. And in fact, does get hit often. And remember from the hands of a HEAVYWEIGHT boxer. Using the very small and not well padded gloves of a 30’s boxer (if you ever get to see gloves from that era, you may be shocked to see they more resemble UFC gloves instead of modern boxing gloves as far as padding goes), he takes a bunch of shots and it does not stop the wrestler. Strikes are rarely a decisive quick stopper against a determined opponent.
- While the boxing stance of that era was not as bladed as the current methodology dictates, it is enough that the wrestler has no problem shooting in and getting hold of the boxer’s leg or body.
- The oft repeated “advice” from tactical self-defense guys to “just get back to your feet when you get taken down” is completely meaningless if you do not have the physical skill set to do so. Note that Pico does try to get up; using every ounce of his peak athletic 200+ pound body, and it is useless. If someone like that fails at getting back up, what chance does the average person have? The only time the fight gets back standing is when the boxer can grab the rope and the referee steps in or he is pinned (a pure sport concept). When is that going to happen in the street? All the combatives gurus love to talk about how there are no rules in the street and it is not like the mats. Well, neither is it like a boxing ring with ropes bro. If you have no outside factor that will let you get up, and you don’t have that skill already, it will not happen magically just because you will it to be so.
- Note how quickly the shoot happens, over and over. A professional boxer, who trains everyday and has a lot of experience actually hitting a moving target, never gets in more than a punch or two before getting taken down. How likely is someone who does not train to that level will get even a single shot in? The answer is slim to none and slim just left town.
It is a lesson that a goodly number of people try to resist even though we have an overwhelming mountain of evidence to the contrary. In a one on one scenario, trying to beat a grappler without having a dedicated practice to do so is quite literally placing your well being on the hope that the ball lands on green zero. Not exactly best practice to staying alive.