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Heinz Museum

The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum of the Heinz History Center of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute unveiled an exhibit on 23 June 2011 to document the roots of MMA in Pittsburgh and first mixed martial arts league in the United States. The exhibit features memorabilia from the mixed martial arts based competitions including rare posters, fight gear, press materials, and photos that depict the event. The exhibit began as a temporary display in the front of the museum, and will ultimately find its home as a permanent addition to the boxing and wrestling sections of the Sports Museum. The Senator John Heinz History Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and the largest history museum in Pennsylvania.

“The Sports Museum has brought to light the central role that Pittsburgh has played in the sports of boxing and wrestling, focusing on such greats as Bruno Sammartino and Kurt Angle,” said Anne Madarasz, co-director of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. “This exhibit adds a new chapter as we trace the roots of mixed martial arts in the United States back to the Pittsburgh region.”

The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum is a museum within a museum, comprehensively presenting the region’s remarkable sports story through hundreds of artifacts and interactive experiences for visitors of all ages. The History Center and Sports Museum are located at 1212 Smallman Street in the city’s Strip District. More information is available at www.heinzhistorycenter.org.

For Viola, to be associated with the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum is a true honor.

“That was our project, our child,” Viola said. “We were the brainchilds of this. We were the Barnum & Bailey promoters of this event. We went completely outside of the envelope when no one believed it could happen.”

Read more: Viola honored as Mixed Martial Arts innovator – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/dailynewsmckeesport/sports/s_745188.html#ixzz1ZvLL1Zil