This is the new title of my "Remembering a Legend" series. So you guys don't think the former objects of your unabashed nuthuggery have passed away untimely. For those who didn't read the first article, the point of these is to remind ourselves that the modern jokes of MMA are past legends of the sport. Today, we're gonna take a look at the greatness of Don "The Predator" Frye and his Mustache (yes, it's capitalized for a reason).
Don Frye's interest in MMA was piqued after helping his friend and former coach Dan Severn prepare for Ultimate Ultimate 95. With Frye's help, Severn won the UFC tournament after a quick arm triangle submission of Paul Veralens and two decision victories over David "Tank" Abbot and Oleg Taktarov. Following his wins, Severn would return the favor and manage The Predator heading into the next UFC event.
At UFC 8, Don Frye was a true American badass. He first stepped into the octagon with a background in wrestling, boxing, and judo (and a mustache that would make Magnum PI jealous). In his MMA debut, Frye set the record for fastest knockout in UFC history in just 8 seconds against Thomas "Fat Guy in a T-shirt" Ramirez. The record would stand for over 13 years, before one-hit wonder Todd Duffee knocked out Tim Hague in 7 seconds.
Dan Fry vs Thomas Ramirez (via hairyheinfeld)
Frye decimated his competition that night, winning the entire tournament in only 3:10 of fight time. In his second bout, Frye met alternate Sam Adkins, a replacement Severn's former opponent Paul Varelans, who was injured after his first round bout. Frye scored a quick takedown and finished Adkins in less than a minute with brutal ground and pound, including several shots to the back of the head that would be considered illegal in modern MMA. In the tournament's final, Frye would fight another UFC newcomer in Gary "Monkey Steals a Peach" Goodridge. Goodridge was coming off of two TKO's, as well, including one of the most brutal displays of elbow violence ever seen. His toughest test of the night, Goodridge, was the only fighter to take The Predator past the first minute of the fight. Gary threatened early with a back clinch and an impressive throw, neither were enough to slow Frye down. Goodridge continued the pressure attempting strong double, but Frye countered by hooking both his arms on the fence (not illegal at this point). Frye soon capitalized on a reversal and finish the fight with ground and pound from half mount.
Don Frye enjoyed amazing success in the UFC. At UFC 9, he defeated Amaury Bitetti by TKO (elbows) in a ten minute bout in a superfight and went on to compete in the tournament at UFC 10. Unlike his debut, Frye was unable to secure a quick victory in the first round - taking more than ten minutes to win by technical knockout over Mark Hall. In the second round, Frye defeated Brian Johnston relatively quickly, scoring a TKO in under five minutes. However, in the final round of the tournament The Predator would lose to former Olympian Mark Coleman in a grueling affair. Coleman used his elite wrestling and vicious ground and pound to neutralize Frye and eventually secure a TKO victory. This would be Frye's only loss in the UFC.
Following another win over Mark Hall, Frye competed for the last time under the UFC banner at Ultimate Ultimate '96. After once again finishing former competitors Gary Goodridge and Mark Hall, The Predator was set to face-off against the angry and vicious David "Tank" Abbott in a Battle of the Brawlers. Tank struck early, hurting Frye with his winging punches. However, Frye capitalized on a slip by Abbot, took his back, and sank in a rear naked choke.
After spending some time as a professional wrestler in Japan, Don Frye returned to MMA at PRIDE 16. Frye faced off against the notorious Dutch kickboxer Gilbert Yvel, winning by DQ, because Yvel is a dirty effing cheater. Within the first couple minutes of the first round, Yvel received two yellow cards for flagrant rope grabbing. Additionally, a replay during one of these pauses showed him using an eye-rake to defend Frye's body clinch. Shortly thereafter, Yvel would once again use eye gouging to weaken Frye's position on the ground and set up an armbar attempt, although the referee couldn't see it. Later in the round, Gilbert once again grabs the ropes and is finally disqualified.
Frye's next fight would be against Ken Shamrock. These two legendary fighters faced off in a bout that would change the trajectory of both their careers. There are few fights fueled by legitimate hatred and even fewer that deliver on that animosity - this is one of those fights. I can't say it better, so I'll look to Todd Bergman to describe it:
This was a match up of the World's Most Dangerous Man vs. the World's Sexiest Mustache, and boy did it deliver in a big way. Much like Wandy and Rampage, this fight was brewed out of pure hatred that each fighter had for one another. If you watched and followed the sport during this time you knew that both guys were walking time bombs around each other, and several times they nearly came to blows outside the ring. The mixture of Shamrock's horrible trash talk mixed with Frye's cool one-liners made this fight even more electric. The intense stare down was a sign of things to come as both guys went out there and put on a show. The two traded heavy punches both standing and on the ground. Shamrock was nearly able to finish the fight a few times with his trademark leg locks, but ultimately Frye took the close Split Decision victory due to his striking and the pace that he set in the fight.
You can find an epic highlight video here. This fight and the Shamrock/Frye rivalry was recounted by BE's own Kid Nate in Classic Feuds: Ken Shamrock vs Don Frye (wherein I found the Bergman quote). And I thank him for providing this highlight gif:
Despite the warrior's performance put on by both Frye and Shamrock, The Predators most famous bout is a berserker's brawl against Yoshihiro Takayama. By all appearances, these to brutes met in the center of the ring with an unspoken agreement to bash each others' faces until the other man dropped.
This gif pretty much tells the story of the fight. From the opening bell, both men proceed to beat the crap out of each other in the most awesome way possible for as long as they could. This is a definite must see for every fight fan ever. If you haven't yet, Watch. It. Now.
Following the Takayama battle, Frye would go 5-6--1(1) - one No Contest with a total career record of 20-8-1 (1). Today, he's most often thought of for some of his hilarious commentary for the Shark Fights promotion. However, the real story of Don "The Predator" Frye is his ineffable spirit, indomitable will, and his predilection for combative violence.