The Fun, Under the Gun, That Was UFC 1 (The Beginning)

UFC 1: Finals

The Royce Gracie win over Ken Shamrock was the highlight of the evening, but there was still another fight to come (two actually if you count the fight between the two alternates Jason Delucia and Trent Jenkins who were brought to Denver in case of injury or sickness to the other fighters; Delucia wins with a rear naked choke).

Royce Gracie vs. Gerard Gordeau

Gerard Gordeau put up a valiant effort but Gracie never let the Savateur use any of his striking abilities lunging for the Dutchman, as he did in his previous two fights, quickly after the bell rang.

Gordeau was able to stay on his feet for a number of seconds but Gracie finally took him to the ground after pinning him against the fence. Once on the ground, Gracie made quick work of Gordeau with another rear naked choke. The fight ended by submission at 1:44 of the first round.

Gracie became the first Ultimate Fighter champion with the win. The spectacle was originally just called The Ultimate Fighting Championship, but was later renamed to UFC 1: the Beginning when reissued onto home video. Although it was the beginning, it was also the beginning of the end for the traditional single disciplined fighter.

Royce Gracie, in showing that groundwork was the most important area for victory, and submission holds were the winning strategy, initiated the expansion of what became known as the MMA fighter. No longer could you ignore any aspect of fighting while horizontal. Those that fought standing up usually lost. Those that could wrestle but not strike or apply submissions while on the ground usually lost as well.

Almost everyone knew how to fight while standing (all the various martial arts taught this) and all the wrestlers knew how to grapple on the ground, but it was rare to find a fighter complete in all areas during the infancy of the UFC. Royce Gracie and the Gracie family made everyone take notice and forever put to death the idea that any fighter could win a Mixed Martial Arts tournament without the ability to defend oneself while standing, and strike or submit opponents while on the ground.

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