Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - Given the intensity and scope of MMA, every event is sure to have some unbelievable occurrences (like the forehead cuts at UFC 110) and characters (think Bisping and Wandy). So we've decided to take a look back in the organization's history to bring you its 15 wildest moments ever -- presented in typically haphazard order.
By Thomas Gerbasi
Given the intensity and scope of MMA, every event is sure to have some unbelievable occurrences (like the forehead cuts at UFC 110) and characters (think Bisping and Wandy). So we've decided to take a look back in the organization's history to bring you its 15 wildest moments ever -- all listed in typically haphazard order.
1. Gerard Gordeau gives free dental work, UFC 1
At the world's first UFC in November 1993, Gerard Gordeau lobbed a kick that sent Teila Tuli’s tooth flying from his mouth... while Tuli was down, no less. “I watched the first UFC when I was 13, and I thought it was gonna be like pro wrestling and be fake," said lightweight Dale Hartt later. "I was like 20 feet away from the TV, half-watching, being the cool guy. All of a sudden I see that tooth flying out. I literally pulled my chair up three inches from a big screen TV and did not move my head for the rest of the pay-per-view. I was sold.” Anyone else in the audience who thought the new Ultimate Fighting Championship promotion was just a gimmick instantly stood corrected. Gordeau vs. Gracie at UFC 1
Not only does a well-chosen walkout song get the crowd pumped up and ready for the fight, it can motivate the fighter himself. Classic hard rock, nu metal, or hip-hop are heavily favored, but on November 18, 2006, Jeff Monson used John Lennon’s can't-we-all-just-get-along-anthem ‘Imagine’ before he challenged Tim Sylvia for UFC heavyweight title. It was easily one of the most bizarre walkout songs ever... and maybe one of the coolest. UFC 65 on DVD
3. Kevin Randleman takes on pipes…and loses, UFC 24
Former Ohio State wrestling star Kevin Randleman landed the heavyweight belt in 1999, and big things were expected from ‘The Monster’. But first he had to prove his worth against Pedro ‘The Rock’ Rizzo in his first title defense. Unfortunately, Randleman slipped on some pipes backstage and hit his head on the concrete floor, knocking himself unconscious. There would be no title bout that night, and Randleman became the first competitor in UFC history to get knocked out BEFORE his fight. A better example of his fighting style here.
4. America falls for the ‘Just Bleed’ guy, UFC 15
Shirtless, with a drink in his hand, and painted with “UFC” on his forehead and “Just Bleed” on his chest, the ‘just bleed’ guy hit every trait of the stereotypical early UFC fan. And we all got to see him immortalized on camera during the introduction of the Mark Kerr vs Greg Stott bout at UFC 15 in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Longtime fans still remember him, and current UFC middleweight Tom Lawlor even paid homage to him at the UFC 100 weigh-in (at left). See the clip.
5. Keith Hackney slays a giant, UFC 3
When 5 foot 11, 200 pound Keith Hackney was matched up against 6 foot 8, 600 pound Emmanuel Yarborough at UFC 3 in 1994, one of three things probably popped into your head: 1) Someone didn’t like Keith Hackney. 2) The matchmaker certainly had a sense of visual humor. 3) How will Hackney avoid getting destroyed by this mountain of a man? But then the bell rang and Hackney dropped Yarborough with the first right hand he landed. A flurry of punches followed, with Hackney eventually winning at the 1:59 mark. David 1, Goliath 0.
Aside from the rare one-punch knockout, you can usually see a finish coming by the way the mometum is shifting in a fight: A sub attempt leads to a tap; a flurry causes the ref to step in. That wasn't the the case when Pete Sell fought Scott Smith in 2006. In round two of an action-packed standup battle, the two buddies continued to throw caution to the wind. Smith appeared to be pulling into the lead, until Sell fired back with a shot to the body that hurt Smith and sent him reeling backwards. The end was probably a punch or two away, but Sell got sloppy, and Smith – who admitted he had only one punch left in him – swung for the fences... and won. TUF 4
7. Lawlor lets the dogs out, UFC 100
Tom Lawlor knows that while being a top-notch fighter will move him up the ranks, being entertaining can make him a star. So before his UFC 100 win over CB Dollaway (aka "The Doberman"), he entered the Octagon to the strains of “Who Let The Dogs Out" while leading cornerman Seth Petruzelli in on a leash. It was a classic entrance and if you didn’t know Lawlor before, you certainly did after the night of July 11th. “Like it or not, you only have so long in this sport," say Lawlor. "My take is that if you can get people to know who you are, people are gonna take notice of that." UFC 100
The lead-up to the 2007 bout between a fortysomething Randy Couture and Tim Sylvia echoed the buzz prior to Evander Holyfield’s first fight with Mike Tyson. People weren’t concerned that Couture might lose; they were concerned that he was going to get seriously hurt. Couture was coming off a yearlong retirement predicated by a knockout loss to Chuck Liddell, and his two most recent heavyweight bouts were stompings by Ricco Rodriguez and Josh Barnett. Sylvia’s 6 foot 8, 265 pound frame threatened to make it a long night for Couture. It was, but in those 25 minutes, Couture turned back the clock with a dominating performance that had the fans in Columbus, Ohio on their feet from start to finish. Still at it
9. The Buffer 360 makes its first and last appearance, UFC 100
UFC 100 was the biggest event in UFC history, and in the weeks leading up to the bout, many wondered whether Octagon announcer Bruce Buffer would up the ante on his 180 technique of introducing the fighters. Would he perform a full spin, dubbed by fans as the Buffer 360? This idea took on a life of its own as the event drew closer, with Buffer playing it close to the vest, saying that he would only do it if it came spontaneously. Inspiration hit during his introduction of heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, and the Buffer 360 became the talk of MMA message boards around the internet. See the buildup by Joe Rogan
How do you top an 11 second knockout over a world-class contender like Caol Uno? If you’re BJ Penn, you finish the job and immediately run out of the Octagon and back to your locker room without interviews, congratulatory handshakes or poses for the camera. This was Penn getting caught up in the emotion of the moment and it firmly established him as one of the UFC’s legendary free spirits. He's gotten used to winning since then
Renowned ground fighter Murilo Bustamante showed off his tap-inducing jiu-jitsu skills twice in one fight when defending his middleweight title against Matt Lindland in 2002. Early in the bout, he caught Lindland in an armbar, and after an apparent tap, he released the hold. Lindland protested and referee John McCarthy restarted the action, so Bustamante pulled off another submission -- this time a guillotine choke in the third round. Bustamante vs. Liddell
Some men use Octagon real estate as a tool for cornering their opponents. Kalib Starnes, however, used the space to run away. After an early-bout broken foot against Nate Quarry, Starnes refused to engage for three rounds. Quarry chased his foe in frustration for the 15-minute bout, even resorting to a highlight-reel running man dance. It was to no avail, and Quarry had to settle for the decision; while Starnes earned a lifetime of derision. See the .GIF
13. Big Daddy gets mad, gets personal, UFC 8
In 1996, Gary Goodridge made one of the most memorable debuts in UFC history against Paul Herrera at UFC 8. During the the finish, Goodridge locked Herrera in the crucifix position and proceeded to knock him out with a series of elbows to the head. It didn’t look like a sporting event that night; it looked like a street beatdown -- probably because his corner had told him that Herrera had been talking trash about him. "I just wasn’t going to lose to that guy,” said Goodridge. “I worked myself up and I don’t really remember too much of the fight. It just happened too quick. By the time it was done, I was still fighting in my mind."
Record books note UFC 34 as the dawn of a new era in welterweight MMA; but many fans only remember the near-double knockout. Matt Hughes slammed Carlos Newton to the mat for a finishing KO; but some believed Hughes was choked unconscious by a triangle choke before he fell. A replay shows that Hughes at least had the presence of mind to step back before lowering the boom, but he was certainly on his way to la-la land before he pulled off the miracle finish. Hughes' bio
15. Superfoot forgets who he works for, UFC 1
Next time Goldie and Rogan make you laugh, take a moment to consider how lucky we are to have them instead of the original play-by-play guy, kickboxing legend Bill ‘Superfoot’ Wallace. He was a little rough around the edges at, UFC 1, starting the promotion's first-ever event with the immortal line “Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to see something that you have never seen before: The Ultimate Fighting Challenge.” His follow-up burp was just gravy on a bizarre night of commentary / unintentional comedy.