Renzo Gracie vs. Ben Spijkers
This is actually the sort of thing that Rampage was talking about when it comes to not trusting other fighters.
Bad Blood: The Dutchman’s pre-fight banter reportedly included references to Renzo’s pretty eyes and promises of Oz-style lovemaking when they hit the mat. The Gracie camp also claimed that Spijkers crank called Renzo’s hotel room throughout the night before the bout like a sixth grader that found his math teacher’s phone number. You have to question the practicality of a plot to deprive your opponent of sleep that requires you to lose an equal-if-not-greater-than amount of sleep yourself, but we can’t all be master prankmasters, now can we?
The fight: Though the UFC had already held seven events mixing all of the martial arts together at this point, the World Combat Championship opted to divide its field into strikers and grapplers, pitting similar disciplines against one another with certain rules and limitations based on styles. As a BJJ specialist, Gracie was pitted against the three-time Olympic judoka in the opening round. Predictably, nearly all of this two minute, thirty eight second bout was contested on the ground. Once Renzo secured Spijkers’ back, he pounded him with brutal elbows to the back of the skull (legal back then) before sinking in the choke. Spijkers didn’t just tap, he double-tapped using a rarely seen arm & leg tapping combo, but it wasn’t enough that night. Renzo held the choke until his opponent was catching z’s, ref be damned. Still not content, Renzo kicked the lifeless corpse before standing up and walking on Spijkers’ neck en route back to his corner.
In his own words: Though I couldn’t find Renzo’s direct comments on the event, he quickly transformed from a man possessed to a proper sportsman moments after the fight. A quick listen to the booing crowds reminded him that he was fighting for prize money in Charlotte, not for blood in Rio. Renzo tried to help Spijkers up by dragging his lifeless arm and rolling him over, and for what it’s worth he was a perfect Brazilian gentleman throughout the rest of his bouts that evening.
Payback’s a bitch: Punishment? Are you kidding? This was 1995, Jack. Renzo went on to fight twice more that evening and win the grappler’s division of the tournament.
Bonus: Take note of how that plucky young ref jerks Renzo’s arm and lectures him for the poor sportsmanship. Keep your eye that fella. Something tells me he’s going to go far in this sport of No Holds Barred.