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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a purple belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2014 Can Sönmez

11 March 1994

UFC II: No Way Out

[started 29/12/2007, last updated 18/08/2009
some rights reserved]


CONTENTS

Background
-Reaction to UFC I
-Changes
-Before the Main Event
The Main Card
-Minoki Ichihara vs Royce Gracie
-Scott Morris vs Pat Smith
-Fred Ettish vs Johnny Rhodes
-Orlando Weit vs Remco Pardoel
-Jason DeLucia vs Royce Gracie
-The Semi-Finals
-The Final


For UFC I, see here

Reaction to UFC I ^

The first Ultimate Fighting Championship provided the world with empirical evidence that an experienced grappler would often be successful against an experienced striker. Royce Gracie had defeated much larger and more powerful men in the course of his victory, men who had no restrictions on how they could respond. Eye gouging and biting would have only resulted in a fine, and indeed Gerard Gordeau attempted to use his teeth against Gracie’s ear in the final match. He merely made Gracie angry, forced to pound the mat in desperation as the Brazilian refused to let him off easily.

On top of that, UFC I also demonstrated that two strikers would frequently take the fight to the mat, even when they had little or no experience outside of stand-up. Every single bout in the UFC I main event had ended with one competitor on the floor, either getting submitted, stomped or kicked in the face. Clearly, skill on the ground was an essential part of fighting.

Following the first show, there was condemnation from some martial arts magazines. In Black Belt, this included the first event’s commentator, Bill Wallace. Clay McBride told Clyde Gentry that Wallace “had to knock this thing down immediately because it was not what he was teaching on the circuit. He knew this would impact him in his pocketbook”. Letters raged back and forth in the pages of Black Belt, but though McBride, a novice in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, went so far as to offer a charity match between himself and Wallace, nothing came of the exchange. Kevin Rosier, also speaking to Gentry, was more direct: “They all want the mystique. People are going to train for realistic stuff, and then all these karate schools with the magazines and marketing are going to lose money. That’s why they badmouth the UFC. They realize that, ‘Oh shit, if our students find out that the shit we’re teaching doesn’t work…that’s going to be bad for karate.” [1] Interestingly enough, you can see several of those martial arts magazines’ logos appearing at the end of UFC 2, which presumably means they acted as sponsors.

While the magazines were not immediately receptive to the lessons taught by the UFC, it was impossible for the martial arts world to ignore its impact. As Todd Hester remembers in his interview with Eddie Goldman:

At that point, martial arts was kinda in a lull, I would say, because it wasn't realism based. There was all this stuff like the death touch, and 'I can't hit you because I'd kill you', and 'one kick to the head, and you're gonna be dead' and that kind of stuff. Then the Gracies came out and said 'Hey, lets really test our martial art against everybody else's martial art and let's see how it goes.' And so when it [the UFC] finally happened, it was an epiphany for everybody, a wake-up call. People didn't die, people could fight, people could compete in open martial arts competition. I think it shocked everybody. [2]
The mainstream press focused on the violence of the event, but contrary to what you might expect from the hysterical articles that came later, some responses were surprisingly thoughtful. For example, the Los Angeles Times’ writer Howard Rosenberg commented that “a curious thing happened after the first two contests. Instead of merely gory and funny, the ‘Ultimate Fighting Championship’ began getting interesting.” He cited the humility of combatants like Rosier and Shamrock, who both applauded their opponent’s skill, and finished his piece by stating that “It was fascinating to watch Gracie strategize and employ his jujitsu moves in his matches, which were all one-sided. ‘I found my sport,’ [Jim] Brown said. Me, too.” [3]

Others were in keeping with the kind of misinformed coverage that would dog MMA for years. Richard Sandomir wrote in the New York Times that:

We can chuckle about how cheap life has become, and how brutal this sort of "entertainment" is. Throw boxing into the mix and you can ask if that's a proper amusement for civilized folks. We can also argue about whether we're a civilized society.

You get the sense that when you dip into promoting this sort of promise-of-blood sport, you're travelling along a different wavelength in a bizarro world, one that is merely a high-tech version of past brutalities. Ready for "The Inquisition I," for $49.95? Torquemada with color commentary. [4]

He also made reference to one of the most infamous pieces of UFC marketing, added by Campbell McLaren: “Each match will run until there is a designated winner – by means of knock-out, surrender, doctor’s intervention, or death”. That last bit of melodrama – McLaren calls it “pure circus” [5] - led numerous pundits to leap to similar conclusions as Sandomir, often without bothering to actually watch the event or talk to anybody involved with the UFC itself. A conversation between Eddie Goldman and Robert Meyrowitz in 2006 is telling (I should note that I don’t think Goldman is referring to Sandomir’s article, as that was from 8th March 1994) :

GOLDMAN: In ‘96 and ‘97 when the New York Times came out and slandered the UFC [...] I asked you - and you had an office on 57 street, its in the phonebook, very easy to find - had any of these people ever contacted you, from the New York Times for this article, and the answer, you said No: I was the first journalist anywhere to contact you, even though this had all been over television and radio and so on. That was almost 10 years ago. Now, there are all these articles about the UFC - have any of these people, today, these many years later, contacted you, or attempted to contact you to find out about what really went on back in the day?

MEYROWITZ: Not one. Not one person contacted me. When I used to go on television and do interviews, and they would say “What do you say to your critics,” I'd say “the same thing I'm going to say to you: have you ever seen the show?” And they always, always answer no. They were criticising something they never saw, they were writing about something they never saw. They were saying things without ever simply checking the facts. And it was, as you say, some of the most reputable newsgroups you could find. [6]
Comments similar to Sandomir’s could be found in Dick Kreck’s piece, where he described the UFC as “a revolting, disgusting, turn-your-head bloodbath…It is professional wrestling gone berserk.” [7]. Eddie Goldman presents a quite different view, and unlike the mainstream media, Goldman took the time to watch the events, later becoming, along with writers like Dave Meltzer, one of the most important journalists in MMA (both men were even judges at UFC 18). As he stated in conversation with Todd Hester, “what kept the people coming was not the blood and the violence, but seeing the little guy use the technique: that's what got people hooked on the sport.” [8]

Changes ^

Kreck did at least attend the press conference for UFC II, which would prove to be a much larger event than the first. For a start, the number of contestants was doubled to 16, in response to the suggestion that there was not a full representation of styles. Meyrowitz was not consulted about this increase, much to his irritation upon discovering the change, but as David Isaacs told Gentry, “We went through with it because that was the kind of organisation we were…other[s]…would have just told the other guys to get on a plane and go home”.

That was not the only difference: there were no longer any rounds (not that any fight in UFC I had gone beyond the first), and unlike the previous contest, matches were decided by drawing lots. Groin shots were also included, although the fighters could at least wear a cup. Not surprisingly, Wallace was not asked back as commentator, replaced by Brian Kilmeade (credited as ‘anchor’), who had taken care of post-fight interviews in UFC 1. His old job (credited as ‘rowing anchor’ in this event) was taken over by Herb Perez, a taekwondo stylist with an Olympic gold medal in his sport.

Kathy Long, who had acted as something of a counterbalance to Wallace, was replaced by martial artist and Hollywood stunt man Ben Perry. According to imdb, Perry – listed on the database under his full name, Benjamin J Perry – last worked in 1991 on the romantic comedy Soapdish as a stunt coordinator. He had also trained with the Gracies, so like Rod Machado in UFC 1, provided more informed commentary: he was credited as ‘Martial-Arts Expert’.

Jim Brown was the only member of the original broadcast team (along with Kilmeade) to return, this time credited as colour commentator. Earlier that day, he had attempted to defend the UFC on Good Morning America.

On the 11th March 1994, the UFC returned to Denver, Colorado, but this time at the smaller Mammoth Events Centre, which had a capacity of 8,000. The Brazilian referees, Joao Alberto Barreto and Helio Vigio, were not coming back to Denver. Gentry states this was due to their erratic judgement: in one fight they appeared to stop it too soon, while in the final, Barreto seemed to think Gordeau needed to learn a ‘lesson’, allowing Gracie to hold the choke despite his opponent’s increasingly frantic tapping. [9]

Instead, bouts were to be officiated by a man who would become a central part of the UFC for the next 13 years: John McCarthy, given the nickname ‘Big John’ by Art Davie, due to his 6’4” and 250lbs frame. McCarthy was an experienced police office, and while a tactical instructor at the Los Angeles Police Academy, he served on the Civilian Martial Arts Review Board. Also on the board was a certain Rorion Gracie, with whom McCarthy became good friends, later training at his academy. Big John has since gained his black belt in BJJ, teaching out of Valencia, California at his own Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Academy (the site has a rolling video, so turn the sound off if you don’t want to hear it).

Back in 1994, McCarthy was still new to the sport of MMA, and a fairly recent practitioner of BJJ. He made for an excellent referee, though in his first event, he didn’t have the authority to stop fights. As Gentry relates, McCarthy was not happy about this, only agreeing to referee without the powers he rightly felt he needed as a favour to Rorion. His wife Elaine also got a lucrative deal with the UFC for her travel agency, Katella Travel.

As to McCarthy’s now famous slogan, “Are you ready? Are you ready? Let’s get it on!”, he based it on the words of a boxing referee. As McCarthy said to Gentry:

I was thinking of something to say from judo, but Davie insisted that it had to be something American…I knew that Mills Lane had used ‘Let’s get it on!’ not in the fights, but in his fighter presentation at the beginning. He would say, ‘Are there any questions from the challenger? From the champion? Let’s get it on!’ I didn’t think I was infringing on anything; I just thought that was the way to start these fights.[10]
One of the major difficulties with Art Davie’s change to sixteen rather than eight fighters was a restriction on time. There was no way all those bouts could fit into the limited window allotted to the program, so instead, the event began long before the live broadcast started. By the time viewers tuned in to the pay-per-view, there had already been seven fights.

Before the Main Event ^

Kilmeade summarised the action so far, with brief clips of the earlier bouts. Scott Morris, presented as a ‘ninja’ training in the Robert Bussey Warriors International system, defeated the karateka Sean Daugherty with a neck crank: Daugherty would lose another fight to Minoru Suzuki six years later in Pancrase.

Kickboxer Robert Lucarelli took a vicious beating from muay thai champion Orlando Weit in the next summarised match. Having already knocked Lucarelli down with a series of knee strikes, Weit turned away, but as nobody had thrown in the towel, he ran back to launch a barrage of elbows, after which the fight finally ended. Lucarelli would not fight in another UFC, but did enter the ring again in 1997, against David 'Dustin Etan' Tanner. Unlike the UFC, this was a pro wrestling match, though Lucarelli's UFC experience was heavily touted.

Ray Wizard, another practitioner of karate, was quickly dispatched by Smith. Judging by this bio, Wizard left MMA but continued competing in karate, coming 1st and 2nd in 1995 and 1996 respectively in the tournament mentioned on that site. It would also appear that Wizard had a small part in a film called Sci-Fighter (2004). The cast of that film, according to imdb, has several others related to the early years of the UFC, such as Don ‘the Dragon’ Wilson (who took over from Jim Brown as colour commentator) and Maurice Smith (an experienced kickboxer, whose success in the Extreme Fighting and Pancrase promotions earned him a place in the UFC).

Spaniard Alberto Cerra Leon, a pencak silat stylist, was submitted by multiple national jujitsu champion, Remco Pardoel. It took almost ten minutes, during which Leon toughed out several attempts (Pardoel recalls that while Leon didn’t tap to an arm lock, “at the party afterwards, he couldn’t use his arms anymore, so I think the locks were decent in a way”), but Pardoel had accomplished what he set out to do. As he remembers in No Holds Barred, “Alberto was the reason to enter the UFC for me…in Europe, the guys from pencak silat and wing chun are badmouthing all other styles by saying and writing that they are invincible, which [they’re] not. So the best way to prove that they are wrong is to challenge them.” [11]

David Levicki (described as ‘kung fu’, but a wing chun man) lost a long fight to Johnny Rhodes, another kickboxer. Rhodes took Levicki to the mat after a number of strikes, which prompted the exhausted Levicki to tell his opponent “You’re the better man, I’m going to give it to you.” But the fight continued. Levicki, in keeping with a number of confused competitors who couldn’t understand why their styles had failed them in the ring, said that “I could have broken his neck using a hold I learned in the Special Forces…but I couldn’t do it. I didn’t come here to kill anyone”. [12]

Scott Baker, a second wing chun practitioner (and according to internet sources, also a super heavyweight kickboxing champ), was choked out by Jason DeLucia, who had continued to improve his understanding of submissions (through the Gracie tapes) since his alternate bout in UFC 1. He had also already lost a challenge match to Royce Gracie, and was looking for a rematch.

On the rec.martial-arts board (originally posted shortly after UFC 2 but now archived on Google Groups), a poster signing themselves as 'Barney' stated that Levicki had only studied wing chun for "around a year and 8 months". He also mentioned that Levicki was overconfident and trained only an hour a day. Perhaps most tellingly, he "has never been to a competition before". The same poster also claimed to know Scott Baker, who he stated (in contrast to the claims made elsewhere), that he was merely a "crappy kickboxer" rather than any kind of champion, and alleges that he "took wing chun for a few years (before my time, not sure about how long) but could never let go of the kickboxing enough to really learn."

Finally, the magnificently named Thaddeus Luster, a practitioner of kung fu san soo, faced sambo champion Freek Hamaker. Kung fu san soo was described on rec.martial-arts as founded "150 years ago" by "a monk [who] left a Quan Yim Temple […] He taught his family members the martial art that he learned at the temple (San Soo) and it became a family tradition to pass down the art. This monk's great-great-great grandson (Jimmy Woo) brought San Soo to America." Apparently, Luster was a high ranking exponent of the system, given that he claimed to hold a 7th degree black belt, although a poster going by the name 'jalvear' stated:

concerning UFC 2. Bill Lassiter put sent out a flyer to all the San Soo schools in the area stating that (1) Kung Fu San Soo was a martial art meant solely for self-defense (and therefore not for competition),and (2) any San Soo practicioner who does use San Soo in competition will face censure by the International Kung Fu San Soo Association and will probably be sued as well. I'm not kidding about this. When I mentioned to Len this evening that someone claiming to represent San Soo was supposed to be competing in UFC 2, he was really upset. He immediately showed me the letter that Bill Lassiter had sent out, and speculated that if "Thaddeus Luster" (if that's his real name) actually studied San Soo, "Mr. Luster" would find himself ostracized from the San Soo community.
Hamaker had been brought in by fellow Dutchman Gordeau. Whether or not Luster faced repercussions for competing, Hamaker had little trouble dominating the San Soo fighter. Mike Naimark stated that Hamaker took Luster down several times, eventually forcing him to tap out via keylock (though Naimark's article is rather tongue-in-cheek, so may not be entirely reliable as an accurate portrayal of events). Unfortunately, Hamaker had no intention of continuing past his fight match, so pulled out claiming an ‘injured hand’. It would have been interesting to see how the skilled sambo stylist might have done against others later in the tournament.

The Live Broadcast

Minoki Ichihara vs Royce Gracie ^

Minoki Ichihara against Royce Gracie was the first televised match of the evening. Ichihara was a 2nd degree blackbelt in daido juku karate, and was well regarded as a fighter in his native Japan: in his introduction he was referred to as both a ‘living legend’ and a ‘national hero’. Unsurprisingly, he was accompanied by numerous members of the Japanese press, and was a tip for the final. At 5’7, 178lbs, he was the least physically imposing fighter in the UFC since Royce, but noted “My body may be small, but my spirit is big”. He also stated that the reason he was there was because “I saw Royce Gracie win last year. He looked dangerous. I thought to myself, I would like to fight this dangerous man”.

That ‘dangerous man’ had now established himself as the fighter to beat, called ‘amazing’ by the commentary team. Perry, like Rod Machado before him, was also a Gracie student, and would similarly enthuse about his instructor’s skills.

After Rich Goins, who by the second event had acquired the contrived nickname of ‘G-Man’ (he would also be referred to as Rich ‘Go-Go’ Goins), announced the fighters and McCarthy got things underway. Ichihara was swiftly taken down by Gracie. The Japanese fighter tried desperately to elbow from his defensive position, then clamped his arms round the Brazilian. Gracie kept punching and cross-facing Ichihara for some time, Ichihara putting up plenty of resistance, but nevertheless Royce eventually worked his way round to the side. While Ichihara continued his brave efforts, Royce made some space, let Ichihara turn underneath him, then finally choked him out with his gi while in the midst of applying an armbar.

Perry had stated midway through the fight that Royce wanted to win with a choke rather than an armbar, allegedly because its ‘more dramatic’. He made the point that the Gracies perfected their style of jiu-jitsu, which originally came from Japan, in opposition to Kilmeade’s statement that the Gracie’s invented their own style: the latter view was propagated in the first event.

Perry also insisted that Royce “probably broke [Ichihara’s] arm,” then decided instead that “he probably popped the capsule in [Ichihara’s] arm”. Royce quite clearly did nothing of the sort: the arm wasn’t even extended, as Ichihara was already tapping from the gi choke. I’m not sure how much BJJ training Perry had at this point, or if he was simply trying to make the victory more dramatic for the TV audience, but either way, broken arms and ‘popped capsules’ proved to be a running theme in his commentary.


Scott Morris vs Pat Smith ^

Next up in the live event came Scott Morris, having submitted his first opponent. His trainer, Robert Bussey, was a major force in the ‘ninjitsu craze’ of the 1980s, after he became a licensed instructor of Togakure-Ryu Ninjutsu under Masaaki Hatsumi in 1979. In addition, Bussey held a black belt in taekwondo, and was also the sole American representative of the Yong-Bi Kwon Hapkido system. [13].

Bussey had opened his first school at only 15 years of age, in partnership with his 22 year old friend, Jim Rosenbach, in 1977. He studied in Japan a few years later, which is how he got involved with Hatsumi. In 1984, Bussey’s ninjitsu academy was the largest of its kind in the world, a 12,000 square foot facility in Omaha. However, in 1988 Bussey disassociated himself from the Japanese origins of his style, as he had converted to Christianity and took umbrage at the associations with ‘Eastern mysticism’. Instead, Bussey set up Robert Bussey Warriors International. [14]

According to Norman Leff, Bussey “created a sub-culture of no rules, reality-based techniques well before it was vogue”, and indeed “his multi-faceted concepts stretched past the normal boundaries of no-rules fighting to include weapons and multiple opponent fighting”. Bussey’s brother Michael stated that “RBWI was Robert’s vehicle for exposing the inefficiencies of martial arts by discovering new ways to train and defeat aggression.” [15]

The UFC, particularly in those early days, would therefore seem an ideal choice to advertise the efficacy of such a style to the world. Bussey was even due to receive a lifetime achievement award later in the event, much like Helio Gracie had a plaque presented to him in UFC I. Morris had already won his first fight, and in his introductory video gave a growling demonstration of RBWI techniques.

His opponent was Pat Smith, looking to redeem his performance from the first event. He was especially determined to avoid tapping to an ankle lock again, and to that end had been learning about submissions. Having beaten karateka Ray Wizard earlier on, Smith was every bit as confident as he had appeared at UFC 1, and again he was the hometown favourite.

Morris rushed across the octagon to engage with Smith, driving him into the fence. After a brief clinch, they fell to the floor, with Smith on top. That put the powerful kickboxer in position to unload a brutal flurry of punches right into his opponent’s face. According to Gentry, Bussey was incapable of accepting that his style could possibly be at fault. As John McCarthy, unable to stop the fight until he got a signal from the fighter or corner, remembers:

I had the mistaken belief that people were going to take care of their fighters, they were going to do the right thing. It quickly became evident that fighters were telling their corners "don't you ever stop the fight." It was supposed to be in the beginning that a fighter tapped out or the corner threw in the towel, that was it. It quickly became evident that was not enough because you had fighters who truly were not skilled in a true fight – some of them – and they might have been going against somebody who was, but their corners believed in them.

I told the fighters and the corners in the rules meeting that we would have before that, if I see your fighter in trouble, I'm going to point to that corner and I'm going to say, "watch your fighter." That's a clue that hey, you might want to start thinking of throwing the towel, this guy is starting to have a problem. If you see that he's continuing to have a problem, I need you to throw the towel so I can stop the fight and get your fighter out of there. They would all say "no problem".

Well, Scott Morris, the guy going against Pat Smith, he ends up trying to take Pat Smith down, his foot slipped out, and Pat Smith ends up in a mount on him, then starts hammering him with big punches and starts hammering him with elbows. I was screaming at his corner, "watch your fighter! Watch your fighter!" Then I was telling them "throw the towel! throw the towel!" They looked at me and shook their heads, took the towel and threw it into the audience. The camera was on me, and my mouth was wide open, like "oh my god, I can't believe you just did that."
[16]
The same story is confirmed by Gentry, on page 67 of his book. Fortunately for Morris’ health, Smith stopped the fight himself, raising his hands in victory. Morris, streaming with blood, struggled to stand up: he needed McCarthy’s help to leave the octagon.

This didn’t seem to do any damage to RBWI’s reputation, as the organisation was a worldwide success by the time Bussey retired in 1997, three years after UFC 2. Leff writes that “RBWI boasted an estimated 10,000 enthusiasts with 200 instructors, most recently expanding to South Africa, the Bahamas, Australia and Belgium”, while Bussey had numerous appearances in various martial arts magazines. Interestingly, Leff’s glowing article makes no mention of the UFC or Scott Morris, stating simply that Bussey “avoided tournaments”. The ex-head of RBWI now offers services in personal protection.

As to Morris himself, I haven’t been able to find much further information. However, there is somebody on the net claiming to be his sister (she posted up pictures of her with Scott as proof), who states “that was the one and only fight Scott ever lost […] he asked Pat Smith to fight again, and he refused!” [17] It should be kept in mind that while he received a beating from Smith, Morris took a mere 40 seconds to defeat Sean Daugherty.

Fred Ettish vs Johnny Rhodes ^

The following bout featured the infamous Fred Ettish. He was initially an alternate, so not due to fight. Instead, he was asked to act as a ‘gopher’, helping to get the fighters ready. This revealed that the accommodation (presumably due to the forced late change of venue from an 8,000 auditorium to the 3,000 seat Mammoth Arena) was a motel that “didn’t smell so good. Things were broken, doors didn’t always lock or close, and people were making sidewalk pharmaceutical deals in the rooms.” [18]

Ettish had been training in martial arts since 1969 (at the age of thirteen), later finding his lifelong art of choice, Shorin-Ryu Matsumura Kempo. Ettish had also been a marine on active duty from 1973-1977. His only previous experience of martial arts competition was in point-fighting karate tournaments: “I always hated ‘point-fighting’ because it was such bs, and often got disqualified for ‘hitting too hard’, throwing people down, knocking people out of the ring area, etc.” Upon seeing a Black Belt advertisement for UFC II (not having seen the first event, merely read about it), he decided to enter: “I thought an event like the UFC would let me fight without being encumbered by stupid rules and politics.” [19]. In an interview with Gentry, Ettish stated that “I had been training for a long time and just wanted to put myself to the test.” [20] That ambition looked set to be unfulfilled, as the card was already complete.

However, after Ken Shamrock injured his hand, the previous alternate – Johnny Rhodes – was now on the main card. That left a spot for Ettish to take Rhodes' place as the back-up. All the fighters seemed healthy on the night, until Freek Hamaker pulled out (despite not being injured). Ettish would get his chance, although as Gentry puts it in the interview, he had merely 10 minutes notice: nevertheless, Ettish was willing to fight.

Interestingly, Gentry also mentions in his interview with Ettish that Rhodes had considered pulling out after the 15 minute bout with Levicki. Upon hearing that Ettish, a much smaller man (roughly 35lbs lighter than the solidly built Rhodes), would be taking Hamaker’s place, Rhodes decided to stay in the competition. [20]

Ettish stood in a stiff traditional stance, attempting front and turning kicks, but was clearly unused to full contact. Falling to the ground, he then tried the same tactic as Antonio Inoki against Muhammed Ali (kicking at the legs), but unlike Ali, Rhodes soon followed his opponent to the floor and began pounding on his head. Ettish had little idea what to do, covering his head with his hands, but was sufficiently tough that he kept going, blinking blood out of his eyes, even after taking several solid knees to the face.

Rhodes didn’t know any ground fighting either, so simply held on to Ettish. He later tried a choke with a basic headlock, but clearly wasn’t aware of how to close it off. Ettish eventually tapped, stopping the fight, drenched in blood. He got the deserving accolade from Rhodes that “He’s a tough guy”. Ettish was able to recover, and appeared behind Rhodes during the post-fight interview, looking to shake his hand and congratulate him, but unfortunately Rhodes didn’t see him, leaving Ettish waiting by the octagon apron.

Yet despite his admirably courageous (if ineffectual) performance, Ettish later became what Gentry calls “the sacrificial lamb of traditional martial arts in MMA”. People on the internet coined the phrase ‘Fetal Fighting’, and several websites sprang up with variations on ‘Fred Ettish Fetal Fighting’ as the title. Ettish was subjected to this treatment for years, and speaking to Gentry, in response to the “sacrificial lamb” label, he said “That’s one of my biggest regrets because it’s not fair to lay that on me. I’m one person. I’m not the spokesperson for traditional martial arts. I didn’t do what I should have done, but does that mean all traditional martial arts are bad? No, it certainly doesn’t.” [20] In the compiled MMA.tv posts on whaledog.com, Ettish is even blunter:

After it was all over, I felt awful. I did a shit job, and despite all the bullshit from others that I have endured from then until now, no one could ever be harder on me than I have been on myself. I had my one shot, a shot that a lot of people would have loved to have had. I had a chance to be a productive part of something I believed in and I blew it. Not because TMA sucks, my training sucks, etc., because I sucked on that night. […] I could fight better back then, and I could damn sure fight a whole lot better now. I completely froze up mentally and psychologically. It was like a nightmare. Nothing worked, I got hit, completely lost my vision in one eye (temporarily), and couldn’t shake it off. I came to fight. I had been in fights before, but never in front of so many people, never with a TV camera in my face, with smoke, loud music, a hundred […] screaming fans all around. […]

For just a bit over 3 minutes out of my life, I put up with over a decade’s worth of shit. All my training, the thousands of hours of blood, sweat and tears I’d invested were distilled down to those few minutes. That is all anyone ever saw of me and I was judged and labelled because of it. There was no redemption, the UFC did not respond to my request to bring me back, although they had promised me they would (SEG, not ZUFFA). There were no other shows at the time. After a while other shows started coming and going, but for a variety of reasons, I was never able to make a come back. [19]

Ettish also makes sure to give credit to Johnny Rhodes in those MMA.tv posts. Since UFC II and suffering through the adolescent jibes of ‘Fetal Fighting’, Ettish has been a judge at several MMA events, such as the one mentioned in the whaledog.com piece, as well as a guest at UFC 45. Most impressive of all, Ettish was able to make a victorious return to mixed martial arts on the 15th August 2009, when he defeated his larger and younger opponent three minutes into the first round. The demons of 1994 were finally laid to rest.

Orlando Weit vs Remco Pardoel ^

Then came the chiselled Orlando Weit, against the far less muscular Remco Pardoel. Perry laughingly predicted “this may be a very quick fight here: I don’t think Remco has a chance with him”. Weit, a French muay thai fighter with a world title, had destroyed his first opponent, and his physique made him even more imposing. Many had tipped Weit to possibly win the event. That included his next opponent, Pardoel, who remained quiet and humble throughout his participation in the UFC.

Especially compared to Weit, Pardoel did not fit the typical picture of a combat athlete. He was a big man, but looked to be pudgy rather than powerful. However, this impression was misleading, as the Dutchman was a multiple national champion in ju-jitsu: he had titles in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. He had also already begun his involvement with Brazlian jiu jitsu, having invited Romero 'Jacare' Cavalcanti over to his gym for a seminar in November 1993. On his website, he states that he was the man responsible for first bringing Brazilian jiu jitsu to Europe.

Shortly after the fight began, Pardoel took Weit down with a straightforward hip toss. With a firm grasp on the arm, Pardoel brought his full weight to bear in order to control Weit on the ground. It soon became obvious that despite his athletic prowess, Weit had no idea what to do with Pardoel lying on top of him. Getting some space, the man who had appeared so unthreatening suddenly started launching a series of elbows at Weit’s head, soon resulting in a knockout. To everyone’s surprise, Pardoel had blasted his way past one of the early favourites.

Another angle revealed that Pardoel’s apparently brutal attack was carefully controlled. After the first two or three elbows, Pardoel pulled his strikes and started hitting Weit on the shoulder instead. He could see his opponent was helpless, so ceased his attack and looked up at McCarthy, who stopped the fight.

In keeping with his demeanor, Pardoel’s immediate comment in his after fight interview was “I didn’t expect to win. I thought he was a tough guy.” Weit, unperturbed by his loss in the UFC, went on to win a muay thai championship a few days later.

Jason DeLucia vs Royce Gracie ^

DeLucia had already fought and lost against Gracie in a challenge match, and according to Ben Perry was now learning from the Gracie Academy itself and their instructional tapes. Both men were therefore familiar with eachother, and the match didn’t last long. In his introductory video, DeLucia had introduced himself as a “red sash in the Chinese gung fu five animal system”, then was shown entering the ring with a ‘Gracie train’ (where the fighter and his team enter the arena in single file with their hands on eachothers shoulders’). The same entrance, presumably as a result of Royce Gracie’s success, was similarly adopted by numerous others in the early days.

Royce took DeLucia down without much trouble, put him into guard, then rolled to mount. At that point, DeLucia seemed to escape, reversing Gracie and standing up. However, Royce had his arm locked, so applied an armbar as DeLucia got to his feet. DeLucia tapped whilst still upright, falling to the floor, where Royce continued to maintain the hold.

True to form, Perry insisted “He’ll break his arm. He’s going to break his arm. He did too…that’s what snaps the capsule in the elbow right there.” This time it did at least look more likely, as Royce had the arm at full extension, but judging from DeLucia’s appearance after the fight, it would seem that Perry was, once again, being overly dramatic.

DeLucia learned from his experience, going on to a long and successful career in Pancrase, also becoming considerably more muscular after his training in Japan. He would rack up a 33-21-1 record in mixed martial arts, during which he appeared in UFC 23 (in its second visit to Japan), his last fight for that organisation.

The Semi-Finals ^

The first semi-final matched Pat Smith - described by the commentary team as having become a ‘complete fighter’ – with Johnny Rhodes. Both primarily strikers, the two exchanged kicks and punches, looking strong and technical. However, Smith was younger and more powerful. He drove Rhodes into the fence, kneed him in the stomach to get Rhodes to lean forward, then finally caught Rhodes with a guillotine, forcing him to tap out using his foot. Smith was very confident in his post-fight interview, announcing that “It took the number one shootfighter to beat me last time…no-one can really take me down”.

Pardoel faced Gracie in the next semi-final. After sizing each other up, Royce struggled to drag down Pardoel from behind, until eventually he took the bigger man to the mat. Immediately moving to Pardoel's back, Royce gripped round the front with one arm. The Brazilian then tried to finish the fight with a collar choke. Pulling hard, Royce couldn’t understand why Pardoel wasn’t tapping: unknown to Gracie, the gi was digging into the Dutchman's chin, not his neck. However, it was still visibly painful, and would prove sufficient to get the submission.

Pardoel would go on to become an important proponent of BJJ in Europe, his enthusiasm redoubled after the meeting with Gracie. Pardoel would return in UFC VI, and then for various other MMA organisations up until 2003, developing a respectable record of 9-6-1. Despite being "basically a white belt", he fought in the first Mundials in 1996, losing to the highly respected Ricardo Liborio. According to this interview from 2000, Pardoel was the top European BJJ competitor at the time, and had also taken part in the prestigious Abu Dhabi tournament. Remco continues to train and compete, having earned his black belt in BJJ from Vinicius 'Draculino' Malgaes in May 2007. Pardoel's site can be found here.

The Final ^

That meant the final was Gracie against the new improved Pat Smith. Before that, there was a brief interview with Ken Shamrock, who had been unable to compete due to a broken hand. He said “I think the level has kinda bumped up a bit here, you know,” pointing to seasoned competitors such as Remco Pardoel. Like the commentators, he also declared “Patrick Smith, he’s a changed man.” Shamrock had accurately picked Smith and Gracie for the final, and there was no question who he thought would win: Royce Gracie. “I want to see him in Japan” was a wish which would technically come true, when both he and Royce entered the inaugural Pride Grand Prix in 2000.

Ben Perry wasn't finished with his capsule obsession, as a replay of DeLucia's loss to Royce gave Perry the chance to yet against insist the 'elbow capsule' had 'popped'. However, there would be no popping in the final, which was over quickly. Smith tried to throw a kick, then attempted to transition to a throw, but instead ended up under mount, his arm round Royce's head. After a few strikes – probably meant to set up a submission rather than cause much damage – Smith was already tapping, perhaps because he felt there was nothing he could do to escape.

As with his first championship victory, Royce remained humble. In response to a question asking if he’d win the next one, Royce wasn’t cocky, responding simply “We’ll see.” He then added, “I hope they have some more tough guys, more good guys that claim to be tough out there. I want them to show up. This, being here, is tough. You see a lot of guys in the magazine saying they’re tough, but they don’t show up in the ring.”

This was quite possibly a reference to 'tough guys' like Emin Böztepe, a practitioner of wing tsun, who had earlier backed out of a challenge with Royce. He was initially contacte on January 6th 1994 with an offer to compete (according to Pete Rihaczek), which he declined. Things restarted in March, where Michael E. Dash claimed "if the Gracies (or you) really do want trouble, all you have to do is visit Sifu Boztepe in Los Angeles or in Munich and he will gladly fight for free." After considerable back and forth, with letters and magazine articles (most notably Böztepe's inflammatory letter sent in October 1994, a copy of which, along with Rorion's response, can be seen here), nothing happened. Böztepe refused to face a Gracie in the UFC, wanting 'neutral territory', also turning down several other locations: the fight came close to happening in 1995, at the Los Angeles Police Academy, but again things fell through. It might have been an interesting fight, given Böztepe's extensive wrestling background, but the world will never know.
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[1] No Holds Barred (UK Paperback Edition), Clyde Gentry (London: Milo Books, 2005), p61-62

[2] ‘No Holds Barred with Eddie Goldman’, interview with Todd Hester, 12th November 2007 [retrieved from here on 3rd January 2008]

[3] ‘Ultimate Fight Lives Up to Name’, Howard Rosenberg, Los Angeles Times, 15th November 1993

[4] ‘Death is Cheap: Maybe It’s Just $14.95’, Richard Sandomir, New York Times, 8th March 1994

[5] Gentry, p64

[6] ‘No Holds Barred with Eddie Goldman’, interview with Bob Meyrowitz, 19th July 2006 [retrieved from here on 3rd January 2008]

[7] ‘Don’t underrate power of “deadly assault as entertainment”’, Dick Kreck, Denver Post, 11th March 1994

[8] ‘No Holds Barred with Eddie Goldman’, interview with Todd Hester, 12th November 2007 [retrieved from here on 3rd January 2008]

[9] Gentry, p61

[10] Gentry, p63

[11] Gentry, p67

[12] Gentry, p66

[13] ‘Book Explores Martial Arts’, The Omaha World-Herald, 29th October 1989

[14] ‘Fremont Pair Teach Christ in Martial Arts’, The Omaha World-Herald, 5th November 1996

[15] ‘The Reign That Was RBWI’, Norman Leff, reprinted on robertbussey.com, retrieved from here, 4th January 2008.

[16] John McCarthy interviewed by Josh Gross, 28th January 2008 [retrived from here on 14th March 2008. No longer available, I think]

[17] Fight Forum, posted by Texanne_25 on 24th August 2006 [retrieved from here on 4th January 2008]

[18] Gentry, p65

[19] On whaledog.com, Jeff Thaler has compiled several of Ettish’s posts from MMA.tv into a single article (dated 16th June 2006), which is what I’m quoting. The original thread is here.

[20] ‘Old School: The Return of Fred Ettish’, interview with Clyde Gentry, Ultimate Athlete, 2002 [Retrieved 7th January 2008, from here]

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