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Read This Now: “Starting a Fight”

(Gerard Gordeau stomps Kevin Rosier in the semi-finals of UFC 1. Image courtesy of Real Fighter.)

In honor of the upcoming 15th anniversary of UFC 1, Real Fighter magazine has published an incredible oral history called “Starting a Fight,” where all the fighters and organizers involved share their memories about the watershed event. You can (and should) download the article at BloodyElbow. Our favorite bits are below…


“Big” John McCarthy: I had put in my application for it. Rorion said, “What are you doing? You can’t fight. You’re with us. When Royce is done, we’ll put you in there.”

Rorion Gracie: We thought of a ring that had a moat and we could put alligators on the outside, [or] chariots running around the ring and dropping the fighters off, people with trumpets and Roman togas announcing them. This is Hollywood.

Art Davie: I don’t think I came up with the moat idea. But the electrified copper fence was mine.

McCarthy: Jimmerson said, “How in the world do you think Royce is going to beat me when I’m flicking out a jab? He can’t get past that.” We went into a back ballroom area and I grabbed him in a double leg and put him on the ground. He looked up at me and said, “Oh, my God. He’s going to break my arms and legs, isn’t he?”

Ken Shamrock: Tuli goes down to his knees and Gerard kicks him in the mouth and his teeth go flying into the front row. Prior to that, everyone [backstage] was hitting pads and trying to hide their fear. It went dead silent.

Gerard Gordeau: I broke my hand and a little bone in my foot. If his head was farther away from the fence, I could kick with my shin. And then I think maybe he would be dead.

Jason DeLucia: Gordeau’s foot was broken in two with teeth lodged in the side of it. He fought the next two fights with teeth in his foot.

Gordeau: You have to take medicines for six weeks because the teeth are very dirty.

Art Jimmerson: My managers at the time, who were not really boxing people but lawyers, looked at that and said, “Listen, if you don’t want to do this, don’t do it.” What a confidence builder to go backstage and have your guys say, “Don’t do it, man. You’ll get hurt.” I wore a glove on one hand to protect my hand and also to sucker Royce in. They [the Gracies] were, like, “You sure you don’t want to wear two of them?” They loved it.

Royce Gracie: He said he was going to hit me so many times that he didn’t want to break his hand.

Jimmerson: When he got me down, my whole thing was to just hold him. I knew it was a five-minute round.

Royce Gracie: It surprised me that he didn’t even put up a fight, but it didn’t surprise me he quit because he didn’t know anything. I could see he was lost, out of his environment.

Jimmerson: It’s like a phobia, like you’re in a closet or scared of heights. I started getting nervous. I’m used to moving around.

DeLucia: Royce had his own room with closed-circuit TV, that kind of thing. He had his own oxygen tank. We all had to share an oxygen tank.

Rorion Gracie: I thought it would be a great idea to have a couple of kids mopping the blood off the canvas. One was my kid and one was my nephew. We did it one time and people went, “Oh, my God!”

Davie: Monday morning, I got a call from New York and they said, “We’re through the roof.” We started to get preliminary numbers in from the cable operators. We knew by Wednesday that we had done 86,000 buys.

Check out the rest of the article here.

Cagepotato Comments

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lilpo0ts- August 5, 2008 at 1:45 pm
lol @ the "omg he's gonna break my arms and legs isnt he" classic...kinda miss the old days
Bootylam!- August 4, 2008 at 7:45 pm
15 years? What up all the old skoolers! Love watching people when they find out it used to be "no eye gouging, no fish hooking, now FIGHT".This shit used to be seriously brutal. I miss it. Royce pulling ponytails off fools, rupturing their eardrums with that palm strike, that heel kick... AWESOME! My wife still uses that short heel kick on me when I jump on her!
andres- August 1, 2008 at 9:38 pm
Rorion Gracie: I thought it would be a great idea to have a couple of kids mopping the blood off the canvas. One was my kid and one was my nephew. We did it one time and people went, “Oh, my God!”

if cage potato had tits id tity fuck it beat its ass then make it cook then leave
slapjaw ackrite- July 31, 2008 at 4:12 pm
fuckin a. if cagepotato had tits and could cook, i would marry it. (cooking optional)
Busarider- July 31, 2008 at 3:22 pm
Holy Sh&t! I remember it well. My girlfriend and my buddies girlfriend ran screaming from the room saying it is to violence and they were not gonna watch it. She is a hardcore fan now. Thanks for the link. That was great.
KG- July 31, 2008 at 2:19 pm
This is an awesome post... I would love to see kids mopping the blood off the canvas in future UFC fights... hahah... imagine little 12 year old Timmy mopping up the mess from the BJ Penn / Stevenson fight... lol
Vrax- July 31, 2008 at 1:20 pm
That was a seriously awesome read. Thank you very much for linking to it.
Maod- July 31, 2008 at 5:55 am
Many memorable quotes. "When Royce is done, we’ll put you in there". They knew exactly what was going too happen :)
Anonymous- July 31, 2008 at 3:47 am
where can i find the Real Fighter Magazine isit not that popular
nice- July 30, 2008 at 10:43 pm
haha the crazy things people come up with!
Patrick- July 30, 2008 at 10:38 pm
Moat w/ alligators > Electric fence.
Fedor Emelianenko DVD- July 30, 2008 at 10:00 pm
rofl, +1 for an electrical fence :)
Ronnie Dobbs- July 30, 2008 at 9:18 pm
These days, we all know it was setup for Royce to humiliate everyone. But it had to be a shock for all of these toughguys to slowly realize they were in over their mulleted and afroed heads and were about to be punished on national ppv.
Kim Couture is a cunt- July 30, 2008 at 8:07 pm
Lmao, at the electrical fence idea. The funny thing is, is they are all dead serious.