Bill Viola Jr

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Bill Viola Jr.
William "Bill" Viola III

(1977-04-09) April 9, 1977 (age 43)[1]
OccupationMartial artist, author
OrganizationPresident: Kumite Classic Entertainment[2][3]
Notable work
Godfathers of MMA[1][4]
Parent(s)Bill Viola Sr.

William “Bill” Viola Jr. (born April 9, 1977) is an international martial arts champion, promoter and author.[4] He is the producer and founder of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania based Kumite Classic.[5][6]

Early life[edit]

Bill Viola Jr. was born in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. He was introduced to the art of Shotokan Karate by his father Bill Viola Sr. who is the founder of Allegheny Shotokan Karate and co-creator of the modern sport of MMA.[2][7][8] Viola Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps beginning martial arts lessons at the age of 3.[9]


Viola was one of the most consistent sport karate competitors in the country recognized as a United States of America Karate Federation (USAKF) national champion and All American Athlete. In 1998 he was recognized by Arnold Schwarzenegger as a World Champion at The Arnold Classic Sports Festival, Columbus, Ohio.[10][11][12]

Competition retirement[edit]

In the summer of 1999, Viola was involved in an automobile accident on US Route 30 in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. He sustained a serious cervical neck fracture injury that effectively ended his competitive karate career (1981-1999).[13][1]


Viola has remained active in martial arts serving as head coach of “Team Kumite,” an all-star karate team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The team is noted as the most successful sport karate competition team in the Pittsburgh region, winning 12 National Black Belt League (NBL) World titles in 2013.[8][14][15][16]

Kumite Classic Entertainment[edit]

Viola graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh in 1999 and moved to Hollywood, California to work in the entertainment industry. He earned acceptance into the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and American Federation of Television and Radio (AFTRA). After working with top industry professionals he established his own production company, Kumite Classic Entertainment in 1999.[17][18] The company's signature event is the annual self-titled Kumite Classic, a multi-sport and fitness expo regarded as the mecca for martial arts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[19][5]

Viola has served as an independent consultant for a number of major motion pictures, including Warrior (2011). He is credited as an associate producer for the mixed martial arts-inspired film Tapped Out (2014),[20] starring former Kumite Classic champion’s Nick Bateman and Cody Hackman and former UFC champion’s Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva.[20]


Viola is the co-author of the mixed martial arts-inspired Godfathers of MMA.[4][1][18][21][22] The book chronicles CV Productions, Inc., the first mixed martial arts league in America[22] and the introduction of the Tough Guy Contest.[23][9][24]

Godfathers of MMA is the subject of the documentary film Tough Guys (2016) produced by MinusL Inc.[24][25][26]

He established Kumite Quarterly Magazine in 2003, serving as publisher with distribution throughout North America until 2007. As a freelance journalist, he was contracted by Sport Karate Magazine to cover The National Black Belt League (NBL) World Games on location in Canada, Mexico and across the United States.[23]


  1. ^ a b c d Pickels, Mary (February 8, 2015). “Martial arts are a family affair”. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, p. B3.
  2. ^ a b Hunger, Brian (July 22, 2001). “Viola poised to provide karate scholarships for youth”. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, p. B3.
  3. ^ Kelly, Jack (April 16, 2007). “Festival puts emphasis on physical fitness”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  4. ^ a b c Latest, MMA. "A Review of Godfathers of MMA: The Birth of An American Sport". MMA Latest. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
  5. ^ a b Kelly, Jack (April 16, 2007). “Festival puts emphasis on physical fitness”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  6. ^ MacGregor, Adam (March 4, 1998).“Fivesome may kick its way to a title”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  7. ^ Cartey, Richard (November 2012). “Tough guy Contest: The Real Beginnings of MMA in America”. Fighters Only. 3: 72.
  8. ^ a b Jones, Rachel (March 2015) “Family Traditions”. Whirl Magazine, p.38.
  9. ^ a b Dopirak, Dustin (June 16, 2002). “Karate instructor passionate about foundation”. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, p. B7.
  10. ^ “Schwarzenegger Selects Allegheny Shotokan Karate Demo Team #1 in U.S.”. (June 1998). Inside Karate, p. 19.
  11. ^ “North Huntingdon Karate Club Wins National Title”. (March 10, 1998). Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  12. ^ Wertz, Majorie (November 4, 2000). “North Huntingdon Township man hopes to hit it big in Tinsel Town”. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, p. 5. Standard Observer Section
  13. ^ Iovino, Jim (August 15, 1999). “Karate duo’s dreams crash before nationals”. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, page 6. Westmoreland Sports
  14. ^ “Norwin junior claims a sport karate world title”. (January 14, 2011). Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  15. ^ Gulasy, Doug (January 16, 2014). “Team Kumite has ‘unprecedented’ success”. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,. p. 28.
  16. ^ Adamski, Chris (January 25, 2013). “Leader earns top karate honor”. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  17. ^ Schofield, Melissa (November 1, 2000). “Former karate champion makes transition to music video”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, p. E5.
  18. ^ a b Zuchowski, Dave (February 12, 2015). “Karate kids: Viola family keeps kicking at World Games”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette p.EZ-4
  19. ^ Schrecengost, Dave “Kumite Classic kicks it up a notch” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 23, 2013
  20. ^ a b "Bill Viola Jr". IMDb.
  21. ^ Panian, A.J. (January 23, 2014). “Mt. Pleasant Author helps examine mixed martial arts”. Mount Pleasant Journal Archived 2016-02-15 at the Wayback Machine, p. 1.
  22. ^ a b "Who really invented MMA in America mixed martial arts history". MMA History - Mixed Martial Arts.
  23. ^ a b Solomon, Marlena (December 23, 2003 ). “Bill Viola Jr. named ‘NBL Promoter of the Year’”. The Advisor, p. 1. Volume 27 No. 13
  24. ^ a b Kanew, Jeff (1986-10-03), Tough Guys, retrieved 2016-02-24
  25. ^ "From Pittsburgh roots, MMA, UFC have grown to staggering heights". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  26. ^ Steele, Jerin. "Before MMA, Tough Guys wowed fans in A-K Valley, throughout state". Retrieved 2016-02-24.

Further reading[edit]

  • Allegheny Shotokan Karate Club Excels”. (April 26, 1998). Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, p. B6.
  • Harvath, Les (December 19, 2008). “An athlete for all seasons”. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. (Ali, 1969).
  • Organopoulos, Mike (September 3, 1996). “Irwin karate club wins national title”. Tribune-Review.
  • “Sport Karate International Rankings” (Nov-Feb 1992/1993). Sport Karate International, p. 53. Issue 38/39
  • “1997 Sports Champions List”. (December 26, 1997). Slam Sports.
  • Cloonan, Patrick (May 25, 2005). “North Huntingdon Twp. Promoter heads Pittsburgh Sports and Fitness Festival”. The Daily News, p. 11.
  • Gordon, Diane (March 19, 1998). “Karate athletes still dreaming”. Standard Observer, p. 1.ion)
  • Gordon, Diane (March 4, 1998). “Karate team is hopeful”. Standard Observer, p. 1.
  • Love, Mike (May 20, 2012). “Fitness and martial-arts enthusiasts pack Monroeville Convention Center for Kumite Classic”. Tribune-Review.

External links[edit]