By Johnny Griffith
PSDC Stat Man
The UFC is everywhere these days. What was once a footnote in Pay-Per-View scheduling has become a dominant sports media juggernaut that is now valued around a billion dollars (give or take a few million).
But most casual fans these days wouldn’t recognize the UFC back in its origins at McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado on November 12, 1993. Billed as a “War of the Worlds”, UFC 1 was an 8-man tournament style event that took place over the course of a single day. The winner, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu master Royce Gracie, had to win three events over the course of the day to claim the title.
With over 80,000 PPV subscribers, it was a surprising success that eventually launched the gaudy empire that it has become today.
And now for our stat of the day:
The first fight in UFC history, was a 30-second knockout of sumo wrestler Telia Tuli by savate fighter Gerard.
And to illustrate just how much the event has changed over the years:
During the fight, a kick from Gordeau removed three of Tuli’s teeth one of which flew into the crowd, the other two became lodged in Gordeau’s foot. With doctors advising against an open wound in the ring, Gordeau decided to proceed with the tournament with the teeth still in his foot and fought in two more matches that evening. The toothy Gordeau eventually lost by submission in the championship match to Royce Gracie.