(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.