Cracked Magazine's epic "The 6 Least Sportsmanlike Moments in MMA" has spurred me to highlight a dark chapter of MMA history I've been meaning to feature for a long time: Gary Goodridge vs "The" Pedro Otavio at International Vale Tudo Championships 1 (IVC 1), July 6, 1997.
I've written about the historical context in which this fight took place in my MMA History series:
...the era when Brazil didn't just export talented fighters to the rest of the world, instead Brazil played host to top international talent at major events. With the UFC on the run in the states, and every attempt to compete with the UFC on PPV having failed, there just wasn't an outlet for the sudden explosion of American MMA fighters. Between the "stars" produced by the early UFC's and the discovery of MMA by top American wrestlers, there was a surplus of fighting talent in the states.
Unlike the early events like Desafio, Circuito de Lutas and Brazilian Vale Tudo Fighting which featured only Brazilian fighters. Promotions like the World Vale Tudo Championship, the International Vale Tudo Championship, and Universal Vale Tudo Fighting sprang up and put on many shows featuring top Brazilians and American fighters including UFC vets Dan Severn, Oleg Taktarov, Gary Goodridge, Steve Jennum and Pat Smith as well as top wrestlers (and future UFC and PRIDE fighters) like Dan Henderson, Kevin Randleman, Tom Erikson, and Mike Van Arsdale. (Watch these matches between Marco Ruas and fellow UFC vets Pat Smith and Steve Jennum).
Brazilian stars more than held their own. Whether it was jiu jitsu exponents like Renzo Gracie, Murilo Bustamante, Carlos Barreto, Wallid Ismail and Fabio Gurgel or Luta Livre champs like Hugo Duarte, Johil de Olivera, Ebenezer Fontes Braga, Pedro Otavio and Eugenio Tadeu or muy thai-based fighters like Marco Ruas, Pedro Rizzo, Wanderlei Silva and "Pele" Landi-Jons.
As I detailed elsewhere, the era of Brazil hosting big time MMA climaxed in 1997 with the disastrous Pentagon Combat show, but IVC continued into the 21st Century and even featured big time fights as late as 1999, before they lost Wanderlei Silva to PRIDE.
IVC 1 was a tournament featuring Goodridge and Otavio as well as UFC veteran Cal Worsham. There was also a "Superfight" featuring former UFC champ Dan Severn against Ebenezer Fontes Braga, the most formidable of the Luta Livre fighters of the 1990s.
Here's how Cracked summarized the action:
Gary was under The Pedro in butterfly guard and suddenly his entire offensive strategy centered around The Pedro's dong. Gary snaked his foot into his opponent's tiny trunks. He was wiggling his foot, sometimes feet around in there, switching between massages and attacks. Sometimes he was just trying to pull the trunks completely off, because at this point why not? Make no mistake, fight fans: Inside The Pedro's cup, a second and better championship bout was taking place between Penis and Foot. The crowd booed as Gary's toes wiggled out from under The Pedro's briefs which read "The Pedro" on the butt. It was a celebrity footjob that the executives at Tinactin wish they would have thought of first. This fight inspired a torta shop in The Pedro's home town of Rio de Janeiro to name a sandwich after him. It's a hot dog and a human foot served in a salty cup. Sorry.
Like all romances, the love affair between Gary's foot and The Pedro's balls ended badly. After they stood up, Gary threw a blatant field goal kick into The Pedro's crotch like a rape victim in a self-defense book. Then he reached into The Pedro's trunks and used his battered dong as a handle to throw him to the ground. And it didn't stop. Ever. Gary punched it. He squeezed it. He told the cops it fell down the stairs. Within five minutes, Gary Goodridge was finding more uses for a human dick than I did during two years of puberty. And I grew up on a farm.
In the era in which this fight took place, turning a man's junk into cube steak was technically allowed in MMA rules. The referee practically had a nervous breakdown as he struggled against his instincts to stop this inhuman basket strangling. There was so much testicle damage being done that 20 years in the future, The Pedro's son was shrieking at his own hand while he faded from existence. The crowd booed and whistled and sometimes threw garbage because no one could agree on the proper social etiquette for watching a man legally kill a penis. But legal or not, exploiting the delicate nature of genitals is no way for a gentleman to win a fight.
It's really a testament to the sporting nature of the early NHB (No Holds Barred) fighters that this sort of thing happened as rarely as it did. Other than Royce Gracie kneeing Kimo Leopoldo in the groin at UFC 3 and Keith Hackney pulverizing Joe Son's nuts at UFC 4, I can't recall many instances of groin attacks from the old days.
Presumably since it was in the interest of no one, fan, fighter or promoter for the nascent sport to devolve into a nut shot contest, they held back to protect their own jewels from reprisal.
In the full entry, we'll look at the "blow by blow" as well as a deadly ninjitsu technique that may have inspired Goodridge and the video of the full fight.
In the image above, Cracked breaks down the many and varied techniques Goodridge used to incapacitate The Pedro.
Below is a diagram from Ninja Mind Control by Ashida Kim, a "classic" of "ninjitsu" -- ie hoo ha and hogwash -- of the "Monkey Steals a Peach" technique.
Monkey Steals the Peach
This is the classical name for the upward groin slap. Drop to the right knee, swinging the arms like windmills to distract the enemy and deflect any defense he may offer. The left arm ends in jodan, the rising forearm block, protecting the head as you drop low and slide forward without stepping. The right arm swings up and back, circling from the shoulder. Turn the palm up as it swings between the enemy's feet to stun him.
Application of Monkey Steals the Peach
Whip the arms as described and strike the enemy's groin with the open palm, fingers bent at the first join in a Monkey Paw or Tiger Claw fist. The impact will lift the enemy off the ground. Those skilled in chi kung can direct energy up the Ch'ueng Mo channel of the body and stop the heart. Followers of the Iron Hand styles immediately clench their fists tightly, with a crushing grip, and jerk the hand sharply back to the near hip, effectively ripping away the genitals. Massive blood loss causes death.
One of the truly undisputed good things about MMA is the way it has blown away the haze of humbug from martial arts and given us a laboratory to test what works and what doesn't in a real fight.
Here's the full fight: