The Official Scorecard - UFC 1 - The Beginning
Spec·ta·cle - Noun
1. anything presented to the sight or view, esp. something of a striking or impressive kind.
2. a public show or display, esp. on a large scale.
3. UFC 1 – The Beginning.
What else can be said about UFC - The Beginning that hasn't been said already? It forever changed martial arts in America; it showed that technique can beat size and aggression every time; the world was introduced to Royce Gracie; a brand new sport was born; and a million other things. Yeah, yeah, we get it!
So let's just get to the review and go to the scorecard.
GERARD GORDEAU (0-0) VS. TEILA TULI (0-0)
The first fight in UFC history and it doesn’t disappoint. In less than 30 seconds, Gordeau renders Sumo obsolete as a martial art with the first ever head kick to a downed opponent as his foot sent one of Tuli’s teeth into the cheap seats.
Gerard Gordeau wins by TKO – RD 1 0:26
Fight Score: 9 – The first fight and it set the tone for the entire sport: This is for real and people are going to get hurt. It’s still brutal to watch years later.
KEVIN ROSIER (0-0) VS. ZANE FRAZIER (0-0)
Rosier treats MMA fans to the first come from behind victory in UFC history. Frazier spends the first two and half minutes of the fight throwing a one-sided ass whupping on Rosier, but then learns the lesson that hundreds of fighters will come to learn: cardio (or lack thereof) is a killer. Frazier runs out of gas and Rosier finishes the fights will some gnarly head stomps against the fence.
Kevin Rosier wins by TKO (Stomps) – RD 1 4:20
Fight Score: 10 – Obviously not a 10 by modern standards, but a fantastic fight nonetheless.
ROYCE GRACIE (0-0) VS. ART JIMMERSON (0-0)
Very few things in MMA are mocked more than the 2:18 Art Jimmerson spent competing in mma. He will forever be known as the guy who wore one the boxing glove. Perhaps, had he not fought Royce Gracie, Jimmerson and his glove might’ve been forgotten… maybe. Royce begins his redefinition of martial arts in America by taking the boxer down and quickly gaining the full mount until Jimmerson taps.
Royce Gracie wins by Submission – RD 1 2:18
Fight Score: 10 – This is history, people.
KEN SHAMROCK (3-0) VS. PATRICK SMITH (0-0)
Smith is introduced at having a record of 250 – 0. Shamrock makes quick work of that “streak” by tossing Smith to the mat and falling back into a heel hook in less than two minutes. Smith tries to counter with a foot lock of his own but it isn’t to be. Instead he slams his hands into the mat for the tap out. Then, in all sincerity, Smith gets back to his feet and acts like he was robbed. The crowd chants “Bullshit.” Even in the beginning, controversy is a noisy roommate for “The World’s Most Dangerous Man.” Shamrock’s post-fight mean mug sets the early standard for looking tough.
Ken Shamrock wins by Submission – RD 1 1:49
Fight Score: 8
GERARD GORDEAU (1-0) VS. KEVIN ROSIER (1-0)
Someone’s “0” has got to go in the first match of the semi-finals. Commentator Kathy Long notes that their pre-fight handshake is “very nice,” but that’s where the niceties stopped as Gordeau wipes out Rosier in a minute with leg kicks, elbows, and a stomp to the ribs.
Gerard Gordeau wins by TKO – RD 1 0:59
Fight Score: 8
ROYCE GRACIE (1-0) VS. KEN SHAMROCK (4-0)
Who’d have guessed that it would only take six fights into the history of the UFC for two future Hall of Famers to square off? A fight that had the makings of a good ground battle ends in under a minute as Shamrock falls back for another heel hook and Royce counters to mount and gets the RNC sunk. Ken taps. Ref misses it. Royce lets go. Controversy again for Shamrock. Royce is pissed. To his credit, Ken doesn’t deny his tap.
Royce Gracie wins by Submission – RD 1 0:57
Fight Score: 8.5 – The stage is set for the first ever “Superfight” between Shamrock and Gracie down the line at UFC V.
ROYCE GRACIE (2-0) VS. GERARD GORDEAU (2-0)
The Gracie Train makes its final stop for the night in the finals against Gordeau, who looked like he might have a real shot against Royce in the fight. But alas, we all know what happens and Royce makes history this evening, giving birth to the legend of the first ultimate fighting champion, Royce Gracie… Gracie!
Fight Score: 10 – The first final of the first UFC. It has to be a 10.
Total – 63.5 out of 70
Average Fight Score: 9.07
Clearly UFC 1 – The Beginning is an event best viewed through rose-tinted glasses. Even still, all the fights are pretty exciting and hold up extremely well after nearly two decades. With the exceptions of Gracie and Shamrock, no one else really belonged in this event, but that being said, no one knew what to expect (well, besides the Gracie family of course – after all, this was a pretty effective infomercial for their family business) and every fighter on the card put it all on the line in every fight. They fought as if it was their last fight... even though in many cases it looked like their first.
Can you say that about a modern day mma event?
Wrapping up the event, Jim Brown said it best: What we thought was fighting was wrong.
NOTE: Jason Delucia (0-0) defeated Trent Jenkins (0-0) at this event, but it was not recorded. If it was, I sure haven't seen it.