The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was first established in 1993 as a tournament-style mixed martial arts (MMA) competition that aimed to answer the question of which martial arts style was the most effective. The first ever UFC event was held on November 12, 1993 at the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado, and it was a groundbreaking moment in the history of combat sports.
The event was called UFC 1: The Beginning, and it was the brainchild of advertising executive Art Davie and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert Rorion Gracie. The two men had the idea to bring together fighters from various martial arts disciplines, including boxing, karate, wrestling, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, to compete in a single elimination tournament to determine the best fighter.
The event was unique in that there were no weight classes, rounds, or time limits. The fighters were only prohibited from biting, eye-gouging, and groin strikes. The only way to win a fight was by knockout, submission, or the corner throwing in the towel.
The first ever UFC match was between Royce Gracie, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, and Art Jimmerson, a professional boxer. The two men came out to the Octagon, which was the new name given to the UFC fighting area, and the crowd was excited to see what would happen.
Jimmerson came out wearing one boxing glove, which he quickly removed before the fight began. Gracie wasted no time taking the fight to the ground, and he quickly secured a mount position on top of Jimmerson. Gracie then took Jimmerson's back and applied a rear-naked choke, which forced Jimmerson to submit.
The fight only lasted two minutes and 18 seconds, and it set the tone for the rest of the tournament. Gracie went on to win three more fights that night, including a victory over Ken Shamrock in the final, to become the first ever UFC champion.
The first ever UFC event was a huge success, and it sparked a revolution in combat sports. The tournament format, combined with the no-holds-barred rules, created a level of excitement and unpredictability that had never been seen before in the world of martial arts. It also demonstrated the effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a martial art, and it helped to popularize MMA around the world.
Since that first event in 1993, the UFC has grown into a global phenomenon, with millions of fans tuning in to watch the world's best fighters compete in the Octagon. The sport has evolved, with new rules and weight classes, and it has become more mainstream, with many of the top fighters becoming household names.
Despite the changes, the spirit of the first ever UFC match lives on, and it will always be remembered as a pivotal moment in the history of combat sports.