Morris Pincus Sigel was born on October 31, 1898 in New York to Ike and Annie Sigel in a
Russian-American household.  His brother Julius was three years older.  By 1920, the
family had migrated to Houston where Ike and Julius worked as junk dealers in a
junkyard.  21 year old Morris was an invoice clerk at a lumber company.  He would also
work in the office of the Houston Post before joining his brother in promoting sports.  
Morris and Julius promoted both boxing and wrestling in cities throughout southeastern

Around 1927, Julius took his operations into Louisiana and Northeastern Texas, leaving
the south for Morris to prosper.  His Houston promotion became the most stable, big
market wrestling business between the 1930s and the ’60s anywhere in the United
States.  He brought all of the big names to town and gave his fans a mix of top talent and
creative booking.  He incorporated different styles of matches including tag team and
battle royals into the frey to spice things up.

In November 1933, six of the biggest promoters in the United States formed the famous
“Trust,” a talent and profit sharing agreement.  Within two years, the number of World
Champions traveling the countryside had diminished slightly, and Irish fan favorite Danno
O’Mahoney was wearing the most respected championship.  By February of 1936, O’
Mahoney was well into his run as titleholder, and it was clear that the belt was soon going
to be passed to a wrestler with a little more potential at the box office.  Unfortunately for
the promoters behind O’Mahoney, a series of individuals with grudges against the
champion and the way things were being run were plotting behind-the-scenes to derail
the champion before he could successfully pass the title to another “Trust” controlled

Before controversy arose at Madison Square Garden, O’Mahoney was caught up in a
web in Texas.  The situation arose during a tour in early February 1936 and he was not
going to leave the state with the same regard as he had going in.  O’Mahoney was
booked to defend his championship against Leo “Whiskers” Savage in Houston on
February 7 at the City Auditorium.  At the 21:42 mark, the champion heaved Savage to
the arena floor with a back body drop, knocking him out.  O’Mahoney was given the
match.  Immediately, Fred E. Nichols, the Texas Boxing and Wrestling Commissioner,
called for a court of inquiry to review the situation and Danno’s purse was held.  O’
Mahoney testified before Nichols and said what he had done was an accident.  Nichols
finally agreed and ordered the purse to be handed over to the champ.

Before the meeting was adjourned, a rematch between O’Mahoney and Savage was
signed for May.  That night, the World Titleholder had a match in Galveston against Juan
Humberto.  Prior to the bell, O’Mahoney left the building.  His controversial move forced
John Galiano, a Texas Boxing and Wrestling Inspector, to declare the World
Championship vacant in Texas.  Galiano’s decision await a final proclaimation by Nichols,
which was made on Sunday.  Both O’Mahoney and his manager Jack McGrath were
suspended in Texas until they defended their actions with an explanation.

Research by Tim Hornbaker
November 12, 2010
Morris Sigel Wrestling History