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Throwback Thursday: Mark Schultz Grinds Out Gary Goodridge at UFC 9


(Mark Schultz vs. Gary Goodridge, UFC 9, 5/17/96)

For most old-school UFC fans, the name UFC 9: Motor City Madness conjures up bad memories of “the Dance in Detroit” — an excruciatingly boring 30-minute headlining match between Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn. (“Fans pelted the ring with garbage after Severn won a split decision in overtime.”) It wasn’t all Dan and Ken’s fault, though; due to a court ruling, fighters at UFC 9 were forbidden from using closed-fisted strikes — a rule that some of the participants broke without repercussions.

But while the UFC 9 main event was completely forgettable, one of its supporting bouts remains a part of combat-sports mythology: The unexpected appearance of Olympic gold medalist Mark Schultz, and his sole MMA fight against Gary Goodridge.

We’ve already told you about Schultz’s backstory — his incredible success in freestyle wrestling, his gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, and the murder of his older brother Dave Schultz, which forms the basis for the upcoming movie Foxcatcher. So how did Mark wind up in the cage that night in May 1996?

Sometime after the UFC’s debut in 1993, Schultz became interested in the new sport and began studying jiu-jitsu under Pedro Sauer in Utah. By 1996, Schultz was working with Canadian UFC old-schooler Dave Beneteau, helping to prepare Beneteau for a slated bout against Gary Goodridge at UFC 9. Less than a month before the event, Beneteau broke his hand. Figuring he could compete despite the injury, Beneteau decided to train through it — but plans changed at the last minute. Here’s what happened, according to a profile on Schultz that was published after the event:

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