Ultimate Fighting Championship Debuted in November of 1993

Published on January 19th, 2024 5:37 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

The very first event and how it came about. In 1993, UFC co-creators Rorion Gracie and Art Davie wanted to answer the question - who would win in a fight between a wrestler and a boxer? A jiu-jitsu practitioner and a street fighter? A taekwondo black belt and a judo champion?

The seed of the UFC sprouted in the Gracie Garage Challenge fights, which pitted fighters of different disciplines against each other.

Gracie and Davie wanted to take this concept and bring it to the main stage, while inviting the world's most famous fighters to participate.

Names such as Gene LeBell, Ernesto Hoost and Bart Vale were all invited, but none elected to take part.


UFC 1 featured 8 fighters that were sorted into a bracket.

In order to win the $50,000 first-place prize, you'd have to win three fights in a single night.

There were only a few rules - no biting, no groin shots and no eye-gouging. Everything else was fine.

There were unlimited five-minute rounds. There were no mandatory gloves or uniform. There were no judges. There was no testing for performance-enhancing drugs.


Eight fighters took part in UFC 1. They were:

Gerard Gordeau
Teila Tuli
Kevin Rosier
Zan Frazier
Royce Gracie
Art Jimmerson
Ken Shamrock
Patrick Smith

You had practically every type of fighting discipline covered - boxing, BJJ, kickboxing, boxing and even sumo wrestling.


There were no marathon fights on the card - in fact, the longest fight was just 4:20 long.

Three of the 7 fights ended in less than a minute, and another two fights ended before the two minute mark.

In the end, nobody could deal with Royce Gracie's jiu-jitsu, as he submitted Art Jimmerson, Ken Shamrock and Gerard Gordeau en route to victory.


The PPV did well, drawing a total of 86,000 buys, which was exceptional considering that this was the very first UFC event.

The event was even more popular on video, as many thousands of people rented UFC 1 from video stores such as Blockbuster Video.


UFC 1 was a massive boon for Brazilian Jiu-jitsu over the world, as people were stunned that Royce Gracie could easily defeat opponents like Ken Shamrock using submissions.

The first UFC event attracted a great deal of attention, including the wrong kind from politicians, who took to calling it "human cock-fighting".

As a result, the UFC brought in a bunch of rules over the years to make the sport safer, as well as introducing weight classes, mandatory gloves and more.

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