Get 30% OFF on the yearly plan subscribing RIGHT NOW!

Limited time offer: $11.67/month $16.67/month (billed annually)

How did championship belts become a thing?

It's not only in the UFC and in boxing that the piece shines. In jiujitsu, in auto racing and even in golf, some winners get to take home a scintillating belt. 

But how did this tradition emerge?

The first fighter known for winning a belt was Tom Cribb, in 1811 England. After punishing Tom Molineaux in a bare-knuckle fight, Cribb was given a fancy belt by King George III. The object was very different from modern belts—it had been made from lion skin and adorned with the animal's claws. 

The idea of giving a belt to champions, however, comes from further back. In Ancient Greece, according to the mythology, the first person to receive one was a woman. Ares, the god of war, gave her daughter Hippolyta, the respected queen of the Amazons, a magical belt. 

The magic belt caused a major kerfuffle when the demigod Hercules, in one of his twelve famous labors, was given the mission of stealing it from the warrior Hippolyta. The centuries rolled on, and every sports fan got used to rooting for other demigods and heroes striving, with punches and armbars, to take the belt from their rivals. 

The belt became an institution in boxing thanks to an idea by the American journalist Richard Fox, who decided to give one to the heavyweight champion Jake Kilrain in the 19th century. 

In 1922, with Fox's death, The Ring magazine established the belt as the prize for each weight class champion. One hundred years ago, therefore, the belt became as much of a classic accessory to fighters as the robe and gloves, and an object of desire to any contender.

(Check out more articles by clicking the hashtag below.)


MCGRAV commented:

Cool story

April 04, 2023 06:31 PM
Joe Mendoza  Avatar
Joe Mendoza commented:

Great history lesson on the belt.

April 03, 2023 10:29 PM