A look back at UFC 1: The Beginning #Review

With UFC 200 right around the corner, I decided that I would go back and in time and watch all the UFC events. It’s hard to believe it but the UFC’s first ever show is almost 23 years old and things were a lot different then than what we are use to seeing nowadays. One of the main noticeable differences is that shows back then had an 8 man tournament with a mix of different weight classes facing each other with the winner receiving $50,000, whereas shows nowadays have people from the same weight class fighting against each other. Also, rounds were different. In the early days, there would be one round but there would be a 15 minute time limit. Today, rounds are 5 minutes. With all that in mind, this is the first ever UFC pay per view from November 12 1993


We are live from the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado in front of 7800 fans. “An eight man tournament with no weight classes, no rules, and no judges” is what we are told by the voice over as we are shown all the fighters taking part in tonight’s tournament:-

Royce Gracie – Brazilian & World Light Heavyweight Jujitsu Champion
Patrick Smith – 1993 Sabaki Challenge Heavyweight Champion in Tae Kwon Do
Art Jimmerson – IBF North American Cruiser Boxing Champion
Gerard Gordeau – World Heavyweight Savate Champion
Zane Frazier – WKF Super-Heavyweight Kenpo Champion
Ken Shamrock – Number 1 Ranked Shootfighter in Japan
Teila Tuli – 3yr Pro Sumo Champion in Japan
Kevin Rosier – WKA & ISKA Super-Heavyweight Champion

Those are our competitors.

Cut to a live shot of the cage in darkness as we cut to our commentator team for this evening; Bill Wallace, Jim Brown & Kathy Long. Within ten seconds of talking, Bill belches down the microphone before Jim says the like of Muhammed Ali, Dick Butkis & Joe Frazier wouldn’t last a minute in the octagon. We then meet Kathy Long who is a 5-time World Kickboxing Champion who tells us that speed is the key in this tournament. We then meet Rod Machado who will provide detailed analysis of the fights throughout the show. We then meet Brian Kilmeade who talks about the octagon having a fence with a bit of padding and a padded mat. We then get a good look at the tournament brackets. In the quarter finals we have:-

Kevin Rosier (Kickboxing) vs Zane Frazier (Karate)
Gerard Gordeau (Savate) vs Teila Tuli (Sumo)
Royce Gracie (Jiu-Jitsu) vs Art Jimmerson (Boxing)
Ken Shamrock (Shootfighting) vs Patrick Smith (Tae Kwon Doe)

Bill is constantly calling Teila Tuli “Taylor” and calls Art Jimmerson “a boxing person”.

QUARTER FINAL #1 – Savate vs Sumo – Gerard Gordeau vs Teila Tuli
Out comes Teila Tuli as Kathy says Tuli is wearing a nice robe. We then cut to a pre-tape promo (something that happens for all the fighters in the quarter finals) of Teila who says his strongest part of his body is his heart. Out comes Gerard Gordeau as Bill says Gordeau has a lot of strength in his legs before saying fighters are shirtless so they can’t grab anything. We get a pre-tape promo from Gerard who explains that Savate is kickboxing but with no knee strikes. Tuli is double Gordeau’s weight as Kathy and Bill say all wrestlers were against using taped fists. The bell rings as both men stalk each other until Tuli charges at Gordeau but trips and falls into the cage as Gordeau steps out of the way and roundhouse kicks Tuli in the mouth knocking a tooth out as the referee stops the match

WINNER – Gerard Gordeau at 0:26 by TKO (Head Kick)
We get a replay of the finish of the match as the referee verbally asks Tuli’s corner is he wants to continue to mass confusion as Bill says he’s taking Tuli’s tooth so he can get a dollar from the tooth fairy.

QUARTER FINAL #2 – Kickboxing vs Karate – Kevin Rosier vs Zane Frazier
Out comes Kevin Rosier as we quickly cut to his pre-tape promo where he calls himself “Kevin Ros” and says no one gets up from his overhand right handed punch. Out comes Zane Frazier as his pre-tape promo tells us that God will help him win this tournament. We are told that Rosier’s record is 66-8 with all 66 wins being from KO’s. The bell rings and Rosier starts by chasing Frazier and taking him to the ground with elbows until Frazier gets back up and knees Rosier, clearly, in the groin which Kathy calls. Frazier then continues with knee strikes while pulling Rosier’s hair pressing him against the cage. Uppercut by Frazier followed by a right hand before both men go back in the clinch against the cage. More clinching against the cage until both men head to ground which results in Frazier hitting more knees. Both men are tired as both are back on their feet swinging wildly with strikes and kicks at each other until Rosier knocks Frazier down with a shot to the back of the head followed by stomps against the cage as Frazier’s corner throw the towel in to stop the match which Bill confuses as “the 2 minute rest period”

WINNER – Kevin Rosier at 4:20 by TKO (Corner Stoppage)
Bill realises that there is no rest period as Rosier’s corner celebrate his win in the cage as we get a replay of the stomps against the cage. We then cut to Rosier post-match being interviewed by Brian Kilmeade. Rosier says the 5 minutes felt like an hour in the cage and says he’s not the best at interviews. All the commentators then talk about fatigue and how Denver is one mile above sea level. Bill then tells us that Kevin Rosier will take on Gerard Gordeau in the first of our semi finals fight taking place later tonight

QUARTER FINAL #3 – Jiu-Jitsu vs Boxing – Royce Gracie vs Art Jimmerson
Out comes Royce Gracie as fans explode with excitement and airhorns. Gracie’s pre-taped promo tells us that his family invented jiu-jitsu. Out comes Art Jimmerson who is wearing one boxing glove. Art’s pre-taped promo tells us that you can’t hit what you can’t see. The bell rings as the commentators talk about Gracie wearing a gi. Both men stalk each other to start as both hesitate to strike first. Gracie then take Art down and wraps his legs around Art’s. Art then ends up tapping out as everyone is confused.

WINNER – Royce Gracie at 2:18 by Submission (Mount)
As Royce Gracie quickly leaves the cage, we get a replay of the finish of the match as Bill says fans don’t know how Art lost. Jim says he isn’t surprised that Art tapped out because boxer’s don’t know how to defend on the ground

QUARTER FINAL #4 – Shootfighting vs Tae Kwon Doe – Ken Shamrock vs Patrick Smith
Bill says this will be match of the night as Ken Shamrock makes his entrance. Shamrock’s pre-taped promo tells us that he will win because he can fight both on the ground and on his feet. Out comes Patrick Smith with a massive entourage. Smith’s pre-taped promo tells us that he is the craziest man in the tournament and because he’s from Colorado. Smith has a record of 250-0 as Bill talks about both men’s attire. Smith is in Tae Kwon Doe shorts while Shamrock is in “very simple swimming trunks” which Bill really likes seeing Shamrock wearing. The bell rings and Shamrock quickly takes Smith down from the clinch but Smith has his legs wrapped around Shamrock while pulling down on his head. Shamrock then quickly locks in a heel hook as Smith kicks away trying to force Shamrock to break the hold but to no avail as Smith ends up tapping out

WINNER – Ken Shamrock at 1:49 by Submission (Heel Hook)
We get a replay of the finish of the match as Smith gets in Shamrock’s face wanting the fight to continue but we don’t see that because of the replay. We then cut to Shamrock post-match who tells us that this fight was easier than the ones he had in Japan as a loud “bullshit” chant rings around the arena. We then get more replays of the finish of the match as Bill tells us that those last two matches didn’t last long. We then get a look at the semi final brackets as Bill says that we have a match of the night contender in our second semi final between Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock.  The commentators then talk about how fans can’t see submissions because of where they are seated compared to the announcers who are sat next to the cage.

SEMI FINAL #1 – Gerard Gordeau vs Kevin Rosier
Out comes Gerard Gordeau as Bill points out that Gordeau didn’t get tired in his match compared to Kevin Rosier. Out comes Kevin Rosier as all the commentators talk over each other. Bill then tells us that Gordeau’s right hand has been broken and Kevin’s left eye has a lot of vaseline and tape on it so both men are feeling the effects from their quarter finals matches. The bell rings and Gordeau starts with several leg kicks to Rosier’s knee before knocking him down with strikes. A forearm to the back of Rosier’s head plus a stomp to the ribs by Gordeau is enough for the match to be stopped

WINNER – Gerard Gordeau at 0:59 by TKO (Corner Stoppage)
As Kathy tells us that a towel was thrown in by Rosier’s cornermen, we get a replay of the finish of the match while the commentators talk about how short the matches are. We then cut to Kevin Rosier for a post-match interview who challenges all the super-heavyweight champions now that he’s out of retirement. He then tells us that spent 3 weeks training and lost 45 pounds in weight. He then tells us that Gordeau is retiring after tonight and hopes he wins the tournament. Back to the commentators as Bill calls our next match “match of the year”.

SEMI FINAL #2 – Royce Gracie vs Ken Shamrock
As the commentators predict that this match will have lots of grappling, out comes Royce Gracie as  the commentators question whether Gracie will continue to wear his gi. Out comes Ken Shamrock as Jim hopes that this match has strategy. Shamrock is sporting a black eye while Gracie looks fine. Fans are still behind Gracie as fans whistle and boo Shamrock during the ring introductions. The bell rings as Gracie charges at Shamrock and the two sprawl until Shamrock goes for a heel hook but Gracie rolls free and locks in a rear-naked choke for the submission victory

WINNER – Royce Gracie at 0:57 by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
As the two men shake hands after the match, we get a replay of Shamrock tapping out to the rear-naked choke. We then cut to Shamrock post-match who admits that he didn’t protect his neck and gives credit to all the Gracies. He then tells us that that was the first time he’s ever thought a jiu-jitsu fighter and wishes he had a better match. We then get another replay of the rear-naked choke that ended the match before looking at the tournament bracket finals.

We then cut to inside the cage to honour Helio Gracie, the founder of jiu-jitsu. Fans start booing the announcer, Rorian Gracie, who is talking about Helio. The fans then boo again when Rorian hopes Helio enjoyed the show.

FINALS – Gerard Gordeau vs Royce Gracie
Out comes Gerard Gordeau as the commentators talk about his broken hand. Out comes Royce Gracie as the commentators all agree that Gracie is the favourite to win. The ring announcer then tells us that these men are fighting for $50,000 while Kathy tells is that Gordeau’s foot has been taped up. Both men shake hands as the bell rings. Both men start by stalking each other until Gordeau blocks Gracie’s takedown attempt. Both men are in the clinch against the cage until Gracie trips up Gordeau and headbutts him. Gracie then has Gordeau’s back and goes for a choke as fans boo because they can’t see what’s happening until Gordeau eventually taps out

WINNER – Royce Gracie at 1:44 by Submission (Choke)
Both men shake hands after the match as Gracie tells the referee off for not seeing Gordeau tap out. As the Gracie Family celebrate in the cage, Royce isn’t smiling as he gives a post-match interview where he thanks his brothers and family for their support. Royce says he doesn’t want to get hit and says he wore his gi because his opponents are covered in sweat and vaseline as the camera shows a close-up of his ear that is red. He then says that he’s taking his winning and spending it all at Disneyland and says money means nothing to him. The show ends with Royce being awarded the check and medal as fans are quickly leaving the arena.

Quarter Final – Gerard Gordeau def Teila Tuli (0:26) (Head Kick)
Quarter Final –
Kevin Rosier def Zane Frazier (4:20 (Corner Stoppage)
Quarter Final –
Royce Gracie def Art Jimmerson (2:18) (Mount)
Quarter Final –
Ken Shamrock def Patrick Smith (Heel Hook)
Semi Final –
Gerard Gordeau def Kevin Rosier (0:59) (Corner Stoppage)
Semi Final –
Royce Gracie def Ken Shamrock (0:57) (Rear-Naked Choke)
Finals –
Royce Gracie def Gerard Gordeau (1:44) (Choke)

Venue – McNichols Sports Arena
City – Denver, Colorado
Attendance – 7800
Buyrate – 86000


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