Today is the 19th anniversary of the first ever Ultimate Fighting Championship, held in Denver, Colorado on November 12, 1993. Bloody Elbow looks back at UFC 1.
On the occasion of the 19th anniversary of the first ever UFC, I thought we'd honor the historic moment with some linkage.
From the UFC.com's remembrance:
Fight of the Night (unofficial) - Gracie Wsub1 Shamrock
Knockout of the Night (unofficial) - Gordeau TKO1 Tuli
Submission of the Night (unofficial) - Gracie Wsub1 Gordeau
One Hit Wonders - Teila Tuli, Art Jimmerson, Trent Jenkins, Gerard Gordeau
Art Jimmerson fared better in combat sports with two gloves, compiling a 33-18 record as a pro boxer from 1985 to 2002. And though he never won a world title, he did face off against future champions Jeff Harding, Dennis Andries, Orlin Norris, Vassiliy Jirov, and Arthur Williams. Jimmerson was never going to morph into a mixed martial artist, but Gerard Gordeau may have had a future in the game. Yet after one more post-UFC 1 bout, he called it quits.
"It was just the right time," Royce Gracie said in 2006. "I was the right size. I wasn't bulked up and big and I didn't look very scary, so to speak. It was just the right timing for me."
"It was very different from the way it is now," recalled Gracie. "You draw the fighter right before the fight and your strategy is done right there on the spot. You train for everybody. When you're in training camp you train for a big guy, little guy, fast guy, slow guy, heavy guy, strong guy, everybody. So when you get an opponent, you say, ‘okay, that's the guy - here's the strategy for him. He's a boxer, so I'm gonna shoot.' It was a lot more on the fly. You have to be prepared for everybody. Now, you get an opponent, you know who he is, you have the footage, and you train for him. It's different."
From our own Tom Grant's MMA Origins series:
By 1993, Rorion Gracie had been living in the United States fifteen years and in that time he had established a firm foothold for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Southern California. He had gone from teaching one-on-one lessons out of a garage to heading up an academy that was bursting at the seams with students. But this growth had been hard fought, literally. The established martial arts community in California was resistant to the this new comer, and Rorion had revived the Gracie Challenge to prove his art's worth.
Even though the art was growing quickly east of the Rocky Mountains few Americans had even heard of Jiu Jitsu, much less had access to a school. The Gracies were also combating the American media's image of the martial artist being a striker training in an Eastern art. Fighting this pre-conception of the American people and proving that grapplers could compete and defeat strikers. Rorion wanted a way to show the whole United States how effective Brazilian Jiu Jitsu really was and thought of the televised Vale Tudo matches in Brazil.
I didn't get hip to the UFC until 1995 when a VHS copy of UFC 3 fell into my hands. UFC 6 was the first event I saw live on pay-per-view.
When was your first UFC?