Gerard Gordeau: Stories from UFC 1

The UFC held its first event 20 years ago this November.

Ahead of the anniversary, the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Rewind” show is working through the promotion’s history, beginning with UFC 1. “No Holds Barred: Evolution” author Clyde Gentry joined host Jack Encarnacao and shared some interesting anecdotes from that first show.

Gentry on Art Jimmerson, who famously wore one boxing glove into his fight against Royce Gracie: “He was really, really upset I think with the way everything went down with the UFC. … His story was, a friend of his had gotten a lot of money and given him part of that to work some B.S. job. He really wasn’t training all that much. Even though they did have, on paper, very much a reason to bring him in as a boxer, he really just kind of showed up with a lackadaisical kind of attitude.

“… [UFC co-creator] Art Davie had his brother go out and get Art Jimmerson a pair of boxing gloves, but at the end of the day, actually making his way to the Octagon, [Jimmerson] felt because there was going to be grappling and other stuff, I’m only just going to wrap one hand and just go out with one hand wrapped that way. He basically just did not want to get hurt. He didn’t want to get injured at all. Actually you can read in the book, if memory serves me correct, at the first sight of anything even happening, they tried to throw the towel over the fence and it actually got stuck on part of the fence, so the referee couldn’t see it. … Art had no desire to be in there. He didn’t know what to really expect, and he was really pissed off about that. He felt that for whatever reason, that really completely destroyed his career.”

On Ken Shamrock: “I remember Art [Davie] telling me, he said, ‘As far as where I was going to put my money, it was Ken Shamrock.’ He said when he saw him walk in there, he was like, ‘This guy is just going to take everything.’”

On tournament finalist Gerard Gordeau, who won his opening-round matchup over Teila Tuli after kicking out his teeth: “The other interesting thing about Gordeau, and this was one of the things where they really couldn’t understand what to do, is he had a couple of Teila Tuli’s teeth lodged in his foot. It was one of those things where they couldn’t believe he was actually going to go back out there and fight … . He said he actually spent about two or three months in the hospital back in Holland when he got back because of an infection over that.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 2:13).

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