It’s hard to imagine now, but the UFC used to be pretty much the Wild West of sports entertainment. Back in 1993, there were none of the rules and regulations that have watered down the modern sport; none of the weight categories or tight controls that, while in no way making the sport unexciting, have contributed to a much more slick and less brutal spectacle.
Back when the original championship was held in Denver, Colorado in 1993, there were no such rules. Titanic sumo wrestlers were pitted against skinny martial artists; pro-boxers stepped into the octagon against jiu-jitsu champions. It was a no-holds-barred, anything goes time when fighters would do literally anything to win, as this video shows.
When that first tournament was televised, nobody knew what to expect. the first bout was against man-mountain Teila Tuli and Gerard Gordeau. Gordeau was a mixed martial artist. His opponent was a Hawaain sumo wrestler and actor. On paper it looked like there was going to be a bloodbath, with many people speculating that Gordeau would have to be escorted from the octagon on a stretcher. But then something quite unexpected happened, and history was made.
In this video, sports commentators and fans of the show such as Mike Tyson and Anthony Keidis from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers look back on that first UFC tournament. It was a time when nobody watching those brave men who stepped into the octagon to fight knew what would happen next. It was a time when a skinny jiu-jitsu expert could face down the likes of Art Jimmerson and Ken Shrapnel and come out of the experience alive. It was the first ever UFC, and it was brutal.
Check it out: