When you're putting on live events for close to 20 years, there are bound to be some moments that don't make it onto the highlight reels.
Here are some of the craziest UFC occurences -- in typically haphazard order.
Gerard Gordeau gives Teila Tuli some free dental work
It was the world’s first exposure to the Ultimate Fighting Championship in November of 1993, and what an impression it was, as Gerard Gordeau sent Teila Tuli’s tooth flying from his mouth with a kick (while Tuli was down, no less) that let everyone know that this wasn’t some gimmick – this event was for real.
Said lightweight Dale Hartt, “I watched the first UFC, and I thought it was gonna suck, frankly. I thought it was gonna be like pro wrestling and be fake. I was like 20 feet away from the TV and I was being the cool guy because I was 13 years old and I was being an idiot like every other 13 year old (laughs), and I was half-watching the TV. Then Gerard Gordeau kicks Teila Tuli in the face. 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.”
The ‘Just Bleed’ Guy
Shirtless, with a drink in his hand, and painted
with “UFC” on his forehead and “Just Bleed” on his chest, the ‘just
bleed’ guy probably hit all the bases when it came to the stereotypical
early UFC fan. And luckily, we all got to see him immortalized when he
was put on camera during the introduction of the Mark Kerr vs Greg Stott
bout at UFC 15 in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Mention him to any
longtime fan, and they’ll remember him, with current UFC middleweight
Tom Lawlor even paying homage to him during the weigh-in (left) for his UFC 100
bout against CB Dollaway. See the clip
Jeff Monson channels John Lennon before title fight
The walkout song. Not only does it get the crowd pumped up and ready for the fight, but it can motivate a fighter and / or be a good luck charm. Normally, some classic hard rock, nu metal, or hip-hop does the trick. But on November 18, 2006, Jeff Monson, always one to follow the beat of his own drummer, used John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ to lead him into the Octagon before he challenged Tim Sylvia for UFC heavyweight title. It was easily one of the most bizarre walkout songs ever, but maybe the coolest as well.
Kevin Randleman takes on pipes…and loses
Former Ohio State wrestling star Kevin Randleman was the UFC heavyweight champion following a 1999 win over Pete Williams, and big things were expected from ‘The Monster’. But first he would have to get past Pedro ‘The Rock’ Rizzo in his first title defense at UFC 24. Unfortunately, Randleman had another issue to deal with before he even made it to the Octagon when he slipped on some pipes backstage and hit his head on the concrete floor, knocking him unconscious. Needless to say, there would be no fight that night, and Randleman became the first fighter in history to get knocked out BEFORE his fight. See Randleman inside the ring.
Keith Hackney slays the giant
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 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 seemingly endless array of punches followed, with Hackney eventually winning at the 1:59 mark. David 1, Goliath 0.
Pete Sell snatches defeat from the jaws of victory
Unless it’s a sudden one punch or one kick knockout, you can usually see when a finish is coming in MMA. A guy locks in a submission and it usually takes a few seconds to produce a tap. A guy hurts his opponent with strikes and it takes a few more shots to end matters. But never was there such a swing in emotions than when Pete Sell fought Scott Smith in 2006. It was the second round of what had been an action-packed standup battle, and the two buddies continued to throw caution to the wind, much to the delight of the crowd. And while it looked like Smith was pulling into the lead, 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, and Sell knew it. But in his haste to finish, he got careless, and Smith – who admitted he had only one punch left in him – swung for the fences. Watch fight
Lawlor lets the dogs out
Tom Lawlor ‘gets it.’ He knows that while being a top-notch fighter will keep him employed, move him up the ranks, and get him closer to a title shot, being entertaining can make him a star. So before his UFC 100 win over CB Dollaway, Lawlor not only entered the Octagon to the song “Who Let The Dogs Out”, but he did so while leading cornerman and UFC alum 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.
“Every time you win a fight the perception’s gonna change a little bit more and you gain a little bit more credibility with the fans,” said Lawlor. “You only have so long in this sport, whether you like it or not, so my whole take on the thing is, if you can get out there and get people to know who you are, whether it’s by walking your cornerman out on a leash, coming out to outlandish music, or wearing costumes, people are gonna take notice of that. Best of Lawlor
UFC 151 canceled
When Dan Henderson was forced out of his UFC 151
clash with Jon Jones, scheduled for September 1, 2012, it was expected
that a replacement would be found and the event would go on. But it
didn’t happen that way, as several replacements turned down the late
notice fight, with only one - Chael Sonnen – accepting a bout with the
light heavyweight champion. But when Jones refused to battle Sonnen on
short notice, the UFC made the unprecedented decision to scrap the
event. Jones would defend his title later that September against Vitor
Belfort at UFC 152, while Sonnen not only gets a shot at Jones at UFC
159 in April, he also spent six weeks coaching against the champ on The
Ultimate Fighter. Hear the announcement
Not bad for an old guy
The lead-up to the 2007 bout between Randy Couture and Tim Sylvia was similar to that before 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. Consider that Couture was come off a yearlong retirement predicated by a knockout loss to Chuck Liddell, and that in his two previous bouts at heavyweight, he was stopped by Ricco Rodriguez and Josh Barnett. Add in Sylvia’s 6 foot 8, 265 pound frame, and it was going to be a long night for Couture. And it was a long night, 25 minutes worth, 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. May not fit your traditional definition of a ‘crazy’ moment, but it was crazy that night. See fight
Griffin takes the mic
After the final bell rang in his rubber
match against Tito Ortiz at UFC 148 last July, Forrest Griffin
immediately left the Octagon, unhappy with his performance. UFC
president Dana White left his seat to bring Griffin back for the reading
of the scorecards, but after the former light heavyweight champion was
ruled the winner, things got even more bizarre, as he took the
microphone from color commentator Joe Rogan and conducted his own
post-fight interview with Ortiz. Watch the interview
The Buffer 360
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 to do what was going to be dubbed the Buffer 360? Amazingly enough, 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 in the Octagon. Well, during his introduction of heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, it happened, and the Buffer 360 became the talk of MMA message boards around the internet. Sadly, Buffer hasn’t brought it back out since, but that won’t stop us from asking for it. See Joe Rogan's buildup and reaction
Ebersole’s unique post-fight bonus
When Brian Ebersole stopped Dennis
Hallman in the first round of their UFC 133 bout in August of 2011, it
was impressive victory, but one that wasn’t going to surpass Vitor
Belfort’s KO of Yoshihiro Akiyama for Knockout of the Night honors. And
it didn’t. But Ebersole did walk away with an award that Dana White
described as a “getting those horrifying shorts off TV as soon as
possible” bonus. The reason? Hallman’s blue speedo, which he wore as the
penalty for losing a bet, horrifying the viewing world at the same
BJ Penn has left the building
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. Watch his exit
Bustamante gets two taps for the price of one
Renowned ground fighter Murilo Bustamante has the jiu-jitsu skills to force anyone to tap out. But when he defended his UFC middleweight title against Matt Lindland at UFC 37 in May of 2002, he had to do it twice in one fight. 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 decided to restart the action, but Bustamante was able to pull off the submission again, this time via guillotine choke in the third round.
The Running Man
Sometimes using the Octagon’s real estate and movement is an effective strategy. It wasn’t for Kalib Starnes, who responded to an early-bout broken foot against Nate Quarry at UFC 83 in 2008 by refusing to engage for three rounds. Quarry, who chased his foe in frustration for the 15 minute bout, even resorted to showboating (including the ‘running man’) to try to get Starnes to fight, but to no avail, and he was forced to settle for a decision victory.
Diaz loses fight before the opening bell
Oh that Nick Diaz,
always marching to the beat of his own drummer. It’s an attitude that
has endeared him to his fans, but it hasn’t always been the best thing
for his career. Case in point, the 2011 Las Vegas press conference for
his challenge of UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, a presser
Diaz didn’t show up to. When he didn’t make it, UFC president Dana White
had an emphatic response: he pulled Diaz from the fight. Diaz would
eventually get his shot at GSP, but it took until last Saturday in
Montreal for him to finally step in the Octagon with the champ, a year
and a half later. See announcement
Don’t make Big Daddy mad
In 1996, Gary Goodridge made one of the most memorable debuts in UFC history against Paul Herrera at UFC 8, and what made it crazy was the finish of the bout, where 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 fight, and when I talked to ‘Big Daddy’ in 2001, he told me that it was definitely personal that night because his corner told him that Herrera had been talking trash about him before the bout.
“I didn’t care who I was going to lose to, I just wasn’t going to lose to that guy,” said Goodridge. “I really worked myself up to fight this individual and I don’t really remember too much of the fight. I only remember it when I see it. It just happened too quick. Things happened so fast, that by the time it was done, I was still fighting in my mind.
Who was knocked out first?
In the record books, it will be noted as the night a new era in welterweight MMA began, but back when Matt Hughes defeated Carlos Newton at UFC 34 in 2001 for the 170-pound title, it was one of the more controversial endings to a fight because some believed Hughes was choked unconscious by a triangle choke when he slammed Newton to the mat for a finishing KO. Looking at it again, it appears that Hughes was still awake because he 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. Watch fight
Wallace put his Superfoot in his mouth
Next time you see UFC blow-by-blow man Mike Goldberg, thank him, because the alternative behind the mic just might have been Bill Wallace. A kickboxing legend known as ‘Superfoot’, Wallace was certainly not as accomplished in the broadcast booth at UFC 1, kicking off the first event with the immortal line “Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to see something that you have never seen before. The Ultimate Fighting Challenge.” The follow-up burp while introducing McNichols arena was just gravy on a bizarre night of commentary / unintentional comedy. Watch intro
Aldo celebrates in Brazil
Jose Aldo had reason to celebrate in his return to Brazil at UFC 142 in January of 2012, having just knocked out number one contender Chad Mendes in the first round. What no one expected was for the featherweight champion to sprint from the Octagon and take his celebration to the people, which is precisely what he did, making security sweat while the fans roared and embraced their hero. See his celebration
James Toney gets a wakeup call
One of the best boxers of the modern era, James “Lights Out” Toney is also one of the sport’s best trash talkers. So after harassing Dana White for months, he actually talked himself into an MMA fight with Randy Couture at UFC 118 in August of 2010. But the highly-anticipated Boxing vs. MMA clash turned into a one-sided Couture win by submission, a result that surprised no one – well, maybe with the exception of Toney. Watch fight