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On This Day in MMA History…June 23

(“Listen, Dana…Do you think you can say I was with you the night the heist went down?”)

Lee Murray was released from a Morroccan jail 2 years ago.

Why it matters:

Although his freedom was short-lived (as in two days), it may be the only time the former UFC middleweight, who was sentenced to an additional 10-25 years for his part in the publicized Securitas heist in the UK, may taste freedom in the next two decades.


Ivan Salaverry retired from MMA three years ago…sort of.

Why it matters:

Salaverry announced that he was done fighting on this day in 2008, but later revealed (as illustrated in the interview above from Matt Lindland‘s ‘Fighting Politics’ documentary) that his decision was brought on by the way he felt he and other fighters were mistreated by UFC president Dana White. Since there was a loophole in his UFC contract that stated that retirement nullified his agreement after a specified amount of time, after sitting out for nearly three years from his last bout at UFC 84, Salaverry pulled a Randy Couture and returned to action May 21 of this year to face Matt Ewin at Bamma 6. Unfortunately for the 40-year-old whose version of the mounted crucifix holds a special place in the heart of UFC commentator Joe Rogan, the long layoff and his age did him no favors as he lost the bout by unanimous decision.

Alistair Overeem made his heavyweight MMA debut 4 years ago.

(Video courtesy of YouTube/StillW1ll)

Why it matters:

“The Reem” made his successful heavyweight MMA debut at the K-1 World Grand Prix in Amsterdam in 2008 by defeating Michael Knaap by guillotine. Although Knaap was by no means a world beater, a draw with Cheick Kongo and a win over Roman Zentsov proved he was no pushover. In spite of criticisms that the only truly competitive opponent he has faced since moving up in weight was Fabricio Werdum and that, sure he beat him, but he didn’t win convincingly (seriously, some people will complain about anything), Overeem has only lost once since becoming “Ubereem.”

“The Demolition Man” has finished all but two of his opponents (Sergei Kharitonov, who he lost to by KO and Mirko Filipovic, who he notched a no-contest against after several knees to the groin left “CroCop” unable to continue) in that span. His heavyweight victims list includes Todd DuffeeBrett Rogers, Kazuyuki Fujita, James Thompson, Gary Goodridge, Mark Hunt, and Paul Buentello.

Kimbo Slice made his MMA debut 4 years ago.

(Video courtesy of YouTube/Kimbosliceschannel)

Why it matters:

Had he lost against Ray Mercer at Cage Fury Fighting Championship 5, we may never have seen the former backyard brawler crash and burn as an MMA fighter when pitted against apt opponents. In spite of being a 4-2 can-crusher, Slice, AKA Kevin Ferguson was one of MMA biggest draws. Still, infamy couldn’t help him keep a job with the UFC.

After tallying a 1-1 official and 1-0 exhibition record in the Octagon with a debatable win over Houston Alexander, a TUF 10 prelim loss to Roy Nelson and a UFC 113 routing by Matt Mitrione, Slice was given his walking papers by the UFC. The 37-year-old hasn’t fought since and is said to be waffling over starting a pro boxing career.

The Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale went down 4 years ago.

Why it matters:

• The event marked Jens Pulver‘s last UFC fight in which he lost by rear-naked choke to longtime nemesis BJ Penn. Penn was criticized for holding on to the sub longer than necessary.

Nate Diaz (who handed Gray Maynard his only loss of his career, albeit an unofficial one, via guillotine in the semi-finals)  became the season’t Ultimate Fighter with a win over Manny Gamburyan in the final. Gamburyan injured his shoulder and was unable to continue the bout.

• Of the 16 contestants on this season of the show, only six are UFC fighters. They are Gray Maynard, Matt Wiman, Joe Lauzon, Nate Diaz, Manny Gamburyan and Cole Miller.


PRIDE 21 went down 9 years ago.

Why it matters:

• Although the match-ups were nothing to write home about, the card that took place in 2002 in Saitama, Japan featured a list of notables including Anderson Silva, Fedor Emelianenko, Don Frye, Gary Goodridge, Semmy Schilt, Jeremy Horn, Renzo Gracie and Gilbert Yvel.

• Emelianenko defeated Schilt at the event, but was unable to finish the big Dutchman.

• Frye’s win over Yoshihiro Takayama claimed the number one slot Fox Sports Network’s “Best Damn 50 Beatdowns” and was named “2002 Shoot Match of the Year” by Dave Meltzer’s The Wrestling Observer newsletter.

(Video courtesy of YouTube/jaruswiatekmma)

Nick Thompson was born 29 years ago.

Why he matters:

Although he isn’t to be mistaken with The G.O.A.T, The Goat had some respectable wins in his eight-year 53-fight MMA career over the likes of Brian Gassaway, Josh Neer, Eddie Alvarez, Mark Weir and Paul Daley. Although he came up short against fighters like Yushin Okami, Jake Shields, Tim Kennedy and Karo Parisyan, the former BodogFight welterweight champion was a gamer who was known for taking whatever fights were offered to him. Thompson retired earlier this year to focus on managing fighters and his career as a licensed attorney.


Cagepotato Comments

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ReX13- June 24, 2011 at 11:08 am
Frye fought Takayama like he was getting royalties from the DVD.
Fried Taco- June 24, 2011 at 7:25 am
Don Frye fought Takayama like he was Godzilla tearing up Tokyo. Godzilla with a mustache, that is.
Crap Factory- June 24, 2011 at 5:06 am
I saw Don Frye in a Godzilla movie I was watching with my son the other night.
sevvi- June 24, 2011 at 4:46 am
I like it. And yea, only six participants? I think thats a pretty decent amount of fighters.
RSparrow- June 24, 2011 at 2:46 am
walking away... my bad... just sayin'...
RSparrow- June 24, 2011 at 2:31 am
They're very well written articles... no disrespect in that sense.
RSparrow- June 24, 2011 at 2:21 am
Hate to be a dick... but can we do away with this whole past mma news shit?? We all follow this shit religiously, we don't need to be reminded of old mma events. If you need to be reminded why things are important, this site isn't for you. Come on guys...
KINGMADE- June 23, 2011 at 9:20 pm
^^^^ Is like the song that never ends. Don't read if fuckers or you will never be able to stop.
KINGMADE- June 23, 2011 at 9:18 pm
Don Frye fought Takayama like Don Fry fought Takayama.
Susan B. Sandwiches- June 23, 2011 at 7:45 pm
Don frye fought Takayama like he didn't have a very good game plan. Wait, what are we doing?
Trouser Snake- June 23, 2011 at 7:19 pm
Don frye fought like takayama shaved his moustache, fucked his daughter and burned an american flag
suunyab- June 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm
--Something unexpected surprise--

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intercept440- June 23, 2011 at 6:33 pm
don frye fought takayama like takayama called tom selleck a fag
hooligun- June 23, 2011 at 5:34 pm
Lee Murray = Awesome
ReX13- June 23, 2011 at 5:23 pm
Frye fought Takayama as if his mustache depended on it.
parchy mcthirst- June 23, 2011 at 4:56 pm
Frye fought Takayama as if he were the only actor responsible for the bombing of Pearl Harbor
Spicymeatball- June 23, 2011 at 4:45 pm
Don Frye fought Takayama like he raped his daughter.
Koeikan- June 23, 2011 at 4:35 pm
"Of the 16 contestants on this season of the show, only six are UFC fighters."

Only? I suggest taking a look at how the seasons after this one faired...
Lopes- June 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm
Frye vs. Takayama is still the greatest fight I have ever seen. I'll probably be telling my grandchildren about how epic that shit was.