19 Years to the Date, Royce Gracie Breaks Down His UFC 1 Championship

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Do you remember where you were when you saw UFC 1? Some fans went to bars to watch it, some pooled their money together with their friends and bought the pay per view at home, and 2,800 fans went to the McNichols Sports Arena to watch it live. No matter where you were, you saw future UFC Hall Of Famer Royce Gracie put Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu on the map in 3 fights with the combined time of 4:19. On the 19 birthday of the UFC, Gracie broke down the 3 fights that changed the history of combat sports.

Gracie told MMAFighting.com:

The man with one boxing glove, Art Jimmerson:

“I mean, he was thinking about doing jabs so many times, he didn’t want to break his hand. He wanted to keep me away,” Gracie said. “I thought hey, he has a boxing glove, good, he’s not going to be able to grab me. … He didn’t even touch me. I got in the clinch, took him down, I mount him, and he just waved to stop to quit. I was actually surprised. But then, again, it I thought, hey, he’s a boxer, when he goes to the ground, what is he going to do? He was out of his game, why take a beating?”

On Ken Shamrock:

“My second fight at UFC 1, I fought Ken Shamrock,” the UFC Hall of Famer said. “In the fight I choked him. As soon as he tapped, I let go. He tried to continue, but the ref got kind of stuck like, ”˜should I let it go or stop the fight.’ That’s when I looked at the ref and I said, let it go, we’re going to continue. … then I looked at Ken Shamrock, I said, I know you tapped, you know you tapped, but you want to continue, let’s go. Keep going. But now I was going to hold the choke, I was going to put him out. After that he decided, he said, ”˜You’re right, I quit, so he stopped it.'”

On Gerard Gordeau:

“When I come back for the finals with Gerard Gordeau, he bit my ear when I took him down,” Gracie said. “He wasn’t allowed to bite. When we were on the ground, I whispered in his ear, I said, ”˜You bit me.'” I looked at him, he just gave me a look like ”˜So what?’ That’s when I got the choke. Think of what happened with Ken Shamrock, and with [Gordeau] cheating, there’s one rule, two rules: no gouge, no biting. And he cheated on that, so that’s why I kept the choke a little longer. I sent a message: Don’t F with me.”

Gracie concluded:

“I knew [the UFC] was going to get big,” Gracie said. “But what Dana White and the Fertitta brothers did, they turned it into inspiration for the new generation. Now, the news the kids, they grow up like baseball, like soccer. They grow up thinking one day I want to be baseball player, they want to be soccer player. Today, they train thinking they want to be UFC fighter. They start young now.”


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