The Event Almost Derailed 24 Hrs Before It Began
At 7 pm on the eve of UFC 1, UFC officials and the fighters gathered for a pre-fight meeting in a hotel conference room in Denver, Colorado.
Hard as it is to believe, at this late stage in the day the fighters still didn’t know exactly how the event was going to work, and they hadn’t yet signed the necessary paperwork in order to compete.
So, when co-founders Art Davie and Rorion Gracie announced that the three main rules were, “No eye-gouging, no biting and no groin strikes,” it sparked off a heated debate among the competitors, who were also confused as to whether gloves, hand wraps, gum shields, shin-guards and various other equipment would be allowed.
Unhappy with some of the answers they were being given, things got heated, and the particularly outspoken Zane Frazier even accused Rorion of trying to rig the tournament in Royce Gracie’s favor.
It wasn’t long before everyone in the room was arguing among themselves, and the meeting was on the verge of turning into a riot.
It was at that point that the giant sumo wrestler Teila Tuli suddenly spoke up loud and clear, declaring that he’d just signed his fight agreement.
”I don’t know about you guys, but I came here to party,” Tuli stated. “If anyone else came here to party, I’ll see you tomorrow night at the arena.”
Tuli’s words hit home with the fighters and they broke out into spontaneous applause. The arguments evaporated and everyone followed suit in signing the contract.
UFC 1 would go ahead after all.