I'd like to watch a good doco about them too. And you gotta give respect to the pioneers.
But we can't pretend they were some unique breed of super, pure fighter that somehow doesn't exist 20 years later.
The situation was uniqie so I think the fighters were also. You have to admit that there is something special about someone who is willing to get beaten to a pulp when there is no money in it and no promise of any money. These guys could have gotten in easy street fights instead, but they wanted to fight the best for nothing at all.
I mean, Nick Diaz literally
pisses away a multi-million dollar payday purely because he wants to smoke bowls. He's not in it to get rich, he's in it to fight. He hates the 10 point scoring system, he just wants to get locked in a cage with another dude and fight until one of them can't fight any more. He would have been happy living on couches, not going to press conferences, and fighting with less restrictive rules.
And it's not like he's the only
one of those guys. He's just one of the most obvious examples.
It was a different time then, and we can't directly compare. Most of the old guys would be shit out of luck in the modern era, because they weren't professional enough. They were getting drunk, eating shitty food and generally not living like high-level athletes. Different times breed different mindsets.
Many guys back then would have been great in todays era but never competed in unsanctioned shows because frankly, it was a stupid career choice. And many guys in today's era would have been a more natural fit in the old-style events. To pretend like it's any other way is ridiculous IMO.