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Tag: Mark Schultz

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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The Five Best MMA Fighters Who Only Fought Once


(Photo via Susumu Nagao)

By Mark Dorsey

One unfortunate aspect of MMA is that far too many fighters continue to compete long after they should have hung up the gloves. It’s hard to watch once-great athletes tarnish their legacies and put themselves at risk for dementia pugilistica. That’s why it’s so refreshing when fighters decide to retire at the right time. Even rarer are the ones who taste success just once before walking away. Here’s our tribute to a few legendary fighters who were literally one-and-done.

Rulon Gardner has faced more hardship throughout his life than most men could ever survive. As a kid, he was punctured in the abdomen by an arrow during show-and-tell at school. As an adult, Gardner survived crashing into a freezing river in his snowmobile after getting lost; he wasn’t rescued until almost two days later, by which point he had suffered hypothermia that would later cost him a toe. Gardner also survived a motorcycle crash and a small plane crash that plunged him into Lake Powell, Utah, and forced him to swim for an hour in order to reach safety.

Despite these tremendous survival stories which could earn any man a made-for-TV movie, Gardner is best known for wrestling the most dangerous man to ever don a wrestling singlet. In one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history, Gardner defeated Aleksandr Karelin in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. What made the upset so incredible was that Karelin, the three-time defending gold medalist, was undefeated for 13 years going into the match. Hell, Karelin hadn’t even given up a single point in six years. Yet somehow, Gardner, a pudgy farm boy from Wyoming, managed to shut down Karelin’s offense, making him an unlikely Olympic Gold Medalist.

After winning Bronze four years later at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Gardner left his wrestling shoes on the mat in a symbolic gesture of retirement. However, the competitive urge persisted and Gardner was convinced to compete in an MMA match at Pride Shockwave 2004. His opponent in that classic freak-fight was Hidehiko Yoshida, a judoka and a fellow Olympic gold medalist. Yoshida was a serious submission threat who entered the fight coming off a win over Mark Hunt and a draw against Royce Gracie. However, Gardner had been training with Bas Rutten which paid off, as he managed to win a rather boring unanimous decision victory over Yoshida. Gardner controlled the match and showed that he had a promising combination of raw skills and incredible strength. However, despite his potential as an MMA fighter, Gardner never competed in the sport again. In an interview with Ariel Helwani, Gardner admitted that he didn’t have the killer instinct for MMA because he didn’t really enjoy hitting people or getting hit.

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Channing Tatum to Play Olympic Gold Medalist/UFC Fighter Mark Schultz in ‘Foxcatcher’


(Oh yeah. The resemblance is just…uncanny.)

In 1984, freestyle wrestling legend Mark Schultz won a gold medal in the 82kg division at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. His older brother Dave Schultz also won freestyle wrestling gold that year, in the weight-class directly below his (74kg).

Twelve years later, Dave was shot dead by millionaire philanthropist — and stone-cold crazy-dude — John duPont, who had turned his family’s sprawling estate in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, into a training camp for amateur wrestlers. (duPont was later convicted of third-degree murder.) At the time of the shooting, Dave was coaching duPont’s “Team Foxcatcher” wrestling squad, and preparing for another Olympic bid.

Four months after his brother’s death, in May 1996, Mark Schultz entered UFC 9 and defeated Gary Goodridge by TKO due to cut, after 12 minutes of combat. Mark never competed in MMA again.

That’s the basic story behind Foxcatcher, a movie slated for release later this year that is based on Mark’s biography and is already drawing absurdly-premature Oscar buzz. The film is directed by Bennett Miller (Moneyball, Capote) and its cast includes Mark Ruffalo as Dave Schultz, Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz, and eccentric millionaire Steve Carell as eccentric millionaire John duPont.

The exact release date hasn’t been locked down yet, but it sounds like a hell of a story, and we figured we’d pass along a piece of vaguely MMA-related Hollywood news that doesn’t involve Gina or Ronda. All we can say is that C-Tates + six months of sprawl training sounds like a deadly combination.

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