Our journey through the weird world of Brazil's MMA history continues today as we get ready for UFC 134: Rio this weekend. Today, we take a look at something a little bit different - the No Holds Barred world of the IVC.
Gary Goodridge vs. Pedro Otavio
International Vale Tudo Championship 1
July 6, 1997
One of the trademarks of Brazil's style is their insistence on having fights with as limited rules as possible. This was reflected in the way the Gracies set up the early UFCs. When rules started to be introduced, Royce Gracie felt it was no longer becoming a true fight, and left the UFC for years. But down in Brazil, that tradition was kept alive for much longer, and one of the main companies keeping it alive was the International Vale Tudo Championship, or IVC.
Started in 1997, IVC was planned to be much like Brazil's UFC, with international, top level talent competing in one night 8 man tournaments. They kicked things off in the summer of 1997, and here we have the finals of that inaugural tournament.
On one side: Gary "Big Daddy" Goodridge - UFC veteran who, despite his 5-5 record, was still considered one seriously bad dude at the time. He came into the finals with two quick wins earlier in the night totaling just over a minute, including a fast submission over fellow UFC veteran Cal Worsham.
His opponent: Pedro "The Pedro" Otavio - a tough Brazilian fighter with a weird nickname, who would be involved in all manner of odd fights over the years. He came in at an impressive 11-2, but had also had a much tougher road to the finals, competing for 27 minutes already that night before meeting Goodridge.
At first, you have all the hallmarks that make for a fun IVC fight - knees that may or may not be low, headbutts, a rabidly pro-Brazil crowd, Mark Coleman yelling "BREAK IT!!" when Goodridge gets a keylock. But as the fight progresses, something odd happens that brings this one into its own territory of craziness.
With Otavio in the mount, Goodridge looks to push him off but gets his foot stuck in The Pedro's trunks. Then he leaves it there. Then he puts his other foot in. THEN (and you can't really see this, but it would later be confirmed in interviews) he squeezes The Pedro's testicles with his toes. Yes, you read that right, Gary Goodridge shoves his foot in his opponent's trunks and squeezes his balls. That folks, is no holds barred fighting.
They get back to their feet, and this testicular assault leads to a sequence where both men just try to grab each other's package. But Goodridge is, for whatever reason, more skilled in this area, and it's The Pedro who recoils in pain.
It's a truly singular moment in MMA history, as never before or since has one man waged such an all out assault on his opponent's most sensitive area, though many have tried.
And for more IVC goodness, check out this post about Wanderlei Silva's rise through the IVC ranks, including some great fight footage.