Emin Boztepe

From The Martial Arts Encyclopedia

Emin Boztepe

-Proponent of Wing Tsun Kung Fu -Involved in many lineage wars -Fought Leung Ting


Gracie Challenge

Emin Boztepe was initially invited to compete in the first Ultimate Fighting Championship by Art Davie, who (according to Pete Rihaczek) tried a second time on 6th January 1994 [1]. This was confirmed [2], by his student [3], Michael E. Adams, who commented that “he basically said something to the effect of, ‘Thank you very much for the invitation, but I’m not really interested in competing in anything.’ Adams also mentioned that Boztepe allegedly “often put his life on the line for a friend. I have seen scars on him from knives and even 12 gauge shotgun pellets,” a story which he would later describe in greater detail. [4]

Apparently, Adams also read a post by Pete Rihaczek to Boztepe over the phone, eliciting an angry response due to Rihaczek implying Boztepe was not a “true warrior” for declining the invitation. In a post from 3rd March 1994 [5], Adams elaborated:

Pete Rihaczek posted that in a way that both myself and Sifu Boztepe felt made Sifu Boztepe sound like a chicken, when in fact he had simply said he is not interested in competition. Sifu Boztepe immediately called Arthur Davie back and basically asked him "what the hell was going on" and whether the Gracies were trying to start trouble with him. Sifu Boztepe told Davie that he would prefer to be friends with the Gracies', but that if they wanted to fight him, all they had to do was come visit him and challenge him, and he would fight them for free. Arthur Davie was extremely apologetic and said that neither he nor the Gracies had intended to create trouble and that they were simply looking for good competitors for the Ultimate Fight

Rihaczek apologised in January [6], which diffused the situation. The conflict was reignited on 3rd March 1994 when another poster, Michael Dash, called Boztepe a “poor baby” as he was “unwilling to fight the Gracies in any capacity.” [7] This led Adams, who gave the impression of being close to Boztepe, to insist that his teacher “has a record of over 300 actual street fights in which he remains undefeated,” adding that “he has often had to fight multiple opponents, people with knives and guns, etc.” [8]. The post concluded by giving out Boztepe’s address and suggesting that “if you or the Gracies want trouble, all you have to do is visit him and challenge him.”

Like Rihaczek, Michael Dash also apologised [9] as a result of feedback from Michael Adams, emphasising that “I do not speak on behalf of the Gracies, Art Davie, WOW promotions, or Pete Rihaczek.” Several months passed, until the question resurfaced in October, after Boztepe wrote a letter challenging the Gracies. On 14th November, Michael Dash commented that[10]:

I don't think it's a coincidence that Boztepe and Gene LeBelle are friends of Benny Urquidez. The Gracies did challenge Urquidez, but not LeBelle or Boztepe, because of some remarks he made. Royce Gracie took out a full page ad, and Urquidez responded with a letter that avoided even mentioning the name of the person being addressed. If it wasn't for the fact that Urqudez mentioned "Ultimate Fighting Champion" in his letter, there would be no way of knowing who it was addresed to.

The following day, Dash claimed that in a conversation with Art Davie, the co-owner of WOW Promotions had told him “Emin Boztepe is guaranteed a spot as one of the eight competitiors in UFC 5” [11]. Adams responded with a statement that he had relayed this information to Boztepe. [12] The full text of the original letter from Boztepe is reprinted below along with Rorion Gracie’s response, as posted by Michael Dash to the rec.martial-arts newsgroup on 8th December 1994 [13], which makes it clear that the impetus for Boztepe’s anger was the challenge made by the Gracies to Benny Urquidez:

American WingTsun Organization
Los Angeles, 26th October 1994
After having watched your "Ultimate Fighting Championships" held by the Gracie-Family, I cannot find them very "ultimate" but only amusing. These so-called "ultimate fights" may impress layman or beginners, but in fact they are no more real than the professional Wrestling shows on TV.
What depresses me is that I have heard of some rumors that l would not dare to accept your challenge. In fact I have never received any such challenge! Do you want me to appear like a coward? When I talked to Benny Urquidez in Germany, he told me that you people had played him the some dirty old trick for propaganda. Not long ago you even challenged the great man of American wrestling Gene LaBell. A very brave act indeed, since Mr. LaBell is over 60 years old.
Now in the second "Ultimate Fighting Championships"-Show you people even (ab-)used two stupid wing chun men to perform some funny movements so as to represent "Kung-Fu". And at the same time you claimed to have defeated two "wing chun"-fighters in the first bout.
Although I am a WingTsun-Fighter of the Leung Ting WingTsun-System, which is very different from the generic wing chun style in theory and practice and is highly compatible in ground-fighting, I feel bad that you brothers use these kinds of dirty tricks to put down the late Great Grandmaster Yip Man's other students, their schools as well as other respectable martial arts styles or stylists!
I keep the record of over 300 bare-hand fights and have never been defeated. However, I have never talked bad about my losers and all the other styles. But so as to educate you Gracies to respect the others, my students and l hereby turn the tables on you by challenging all you people of the Gracy-Family.
I can send 5 or more fighters from the AWTO to fight the Gracies. lf you have more fighters in the Gracie-Family, just inform me and I shall report this to the International Headquarters and we will satisfy you with as many fighters as necessary.
We like the so-called "No rules at all" Game as advertised in your propaganda. No gloves, no time-limit, the person who knocks out his opponent is the winner. This is exactly the way we WingTsun-people fought in China in the olden times. We do not mind fighting you people in the ring set up by your own organization. The only thing that we want is to fight openly, so all the audience, reporters, TV-people and martial artists can see if you can really fight against us. We only want two conditions:
1) We only fight you Gracies. For we do not want to give you the chance to use any helpful idiots to protect you as "shields". So we will only fight you directly and no others!
2) The winner takes all the money. We only want our expenses paid. The rest of the money will all be used for charity.
If you Gracie-brothers dare not to accept our challenge, I do not mind. But remember: Never put down any other martial art styles from now on.
Emin Boztepe
5th level Practician EWTO/IWTMAA
Headman of the AWTO (American WingTsun Organization)

Rorion Gracie's response was as follows:

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu(R)
Dear Mr. Boztepe:
In response to your open challenge to the Gracie Family, the promoters of the UFC, W.O.W. Promotions and Semaphore Entertainment Group (SEG), are pleased to extend to you a formal invitation to the UFC V to represent your art. You are perhaps the most respected fighter in the Wing Tsun world and we are pleased you are willing to enter.
I must, however, address several points you raised in your letter. First, whatever you may think about "THE ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS(TM)", they are very real bare-knuckle, no-holds barred matches. This is not "professional wrestling". You will find out soon enough.
Second, my brother challenged Benny Urquidez after Benny declared that the Gracie's reputation was a scam developed through a publicity stunt. When invited to be in the UFC, he declined and used his retirement as his reason. If inviting a renowned fighter to enter the Western world's only legal bare-knuckle, no holds-barred tournament is a "dirty trick" - then I don't know "dirty tricks".
Thirdly, regarding the two Wing Chun fighters that participated in the UFC II, I want to see the record straight at this point - they were defeated by fighters other than my brother.
Regarding fighting the Gracies:
The promoters of the UFC have invested a lot of money in the single elimination concept. This includes a random drawing for the first round match ups. It would not be fair to the other martial arts organizations worldwide to change the format of this tournament to satisfy your request.
Also by entering the UFC V, you will have the opportunity to draw Royce Gracie in the 1st round, or given your claim of fighting superiority to face him in the championship match.
Last but not least, let me remind you that while you preached respect for other martial arts, your reference to the UFC competitors as "helpful idiots" is not only an obvious contradiction, but is grossly disrespectful to Champions such as Gerard Gordeau, Orlando Weit, Minoki Ichihara and Ken Shamrock - who unlike yourself, have already competed for the title of "The Ultimate Fighter". For your information, the promoters are more than willing to pick up all travel and accommodation expenses for you, a trainer and a manager, so there is no excuse for your absence from the next tournament.
Enclosed from the promoters of the UFC, is an application for you to complete. Upon receipt, the promoters will send you an agreement to sign.
Hope to see you in the UFC V.
Rorion Gracie
The Head of the Gracie Family
Dave Cater, CFW Publications
Jose Maria Fraguas, Budo International

The letters were followed by a copy of Art Davie’s fax to Emin Boztepe[14]:

DATE: 12/01/94
I have a copy of your letter to the Gracies being published in Cinturon Negro in Europa. You expressed an interest in entering the UFC, but I have some concerns with your letter:
1. The UFC, which is owned by my company in partnership with Semaphore Entertainment Group in New York, is not a staged exhibition like professional wrestling. Your letter's assertion "...in fact they (UFC) are no more real than professional wrestling shows on TV" is not only false but is, in the opinion of our attorneys, clearly libelous. Be advised that we have made a substantial investment in the UFC as a business, and will do everything, within our legal means to protect it.
2. The UFC is not controlled by the Gracies; they do not select the competitors nor arrange the bout order. The opening round bouts are done by a random draw. A fighter may be matched against a Gracie in the opening round or be matched against a Gracie in the second or final round. This is the way the tournament is structured.
You may remember that I spoke to you on the phone a year ago asking you to fight the first UFC. You declined, saying you were retired from such competitions. I am, however,aware of and respect your reputation as a Wing Tsun stylist; I would suggest to you that a simple resolution to this issue would be for you to enter UFC V, scheduled for April 7, 1995. I am sure that a Gracie brother will be a competitor and your stature is such that I will guarantee you a selection as one of the eight UFC competitors. I have attached a UFC application for you to return to me, indicating your decision.
Please call me with any questions. We will, of course, take care of your travel and accommodations as we do for the other fighters.
Over 1 million people watched the UFC live on TV. Millions more saw it on delayed broadcast or video. I am sure that you will appreciate the opportunity to display your art before the millions who will view the UFC V. Please advise me as soon as possible.
Arthur Davie

The letters appeared in various martial arts magazines, as mentioned by certain postrs on rec.martial-arts, such as ‘Reinhard’ [15]. Having the fight take place as part of the Ultimate Fighting Championship was a bone of contention for Boztepe. Several members of the rec.martial-arts newsgroup suggested that an exhibition match be held instead, which (as before, according to Dash) Art Davie initially declined. [16] [17]. However, in an additional paragraph to Rorion Gracie’s letter, posted by Michael Dash on 23rd January 1995 [18], the counter-offer of a fight at the Torrance Academy is made:

If you do not want to compete in the UFC, I will be glad to set up a date for you to come here, to the Gracie Academy in Torrance, and have a match with Royce Gracie for the press to view.

Despite posts indicating that this new offer was apparently missing from the published version of the letter [19], Michael Adams followed Dash’s information with a response from Boztepe, posted on 1st February 1995 [20]:

Dear Rorion,
I will be glad to accept your suggestion for a press match - separated from the UFC at any time.
The fight must be a "no rules" one and it must take place on neutral grounds.
And to point out how dead serious I am in terms of respect for my personal friends in the martial arts, I insist on the "Benny Urquidez Jet Center" or the "Gene LeBell Gym."
Actually you, dear Rorion, are my first choice, and I would prefer to fight you, since you are the head of your martial arts clan. But looks like you have decided to retire in time (a favor you never granted 60 years old all-time-great Gene LeBell - as everybody knows). Your younger brother Royce will be OK with me, too.
It is really sad to see things happen that way.
So let me just have your confirmation of date and to get us through these things pretty soon. The bally-hoo in the press and the exchange of vague letters is just not my style and is beginning to annoy me - in fact there are some much more important items on my agenda.
Looking forward to meeting you in the best of shape.
Emin Boztepe
5th Degree Master of Wing Tsun (WT)
Leung Ting System
WT-Chief Instructor USA

Bullshido Threads

(2002) The Boztepe vs. Cheung Attack Video... WE HAVE IT!

(2004) Question about Emin Boztepe

(2005) Boztepe goes MMA

(2005) Challenging Emin Boztepe

(2006) Bullshido talk after Boztepe seminar

(2007) Ever heard this story? Emin Boztepe vs. a Gracie?