These days the UFC is a well-oiled machine, but back then in the very darkest ages of the sport of MMA it was anything but, making it a white-knuckled rollercoaster ride from start to finish for everyone involved.
As such, UFC 1 has become an endlessly fascinating breeding ground for behind-the-scenes stories regarding the crazy things happened that night, and in the days leading up to the show, both inside and outside of the cage, and in this article we’ll delve into ten of the best.
Family Dispute Left Rorion Gracie Fearing For His Safety
As Rorion Gracie was a co-founder of the UFC, and his brother Royce was due to compete at the first event, there was a lot at stake for the famed Gracie family, and tensions were running high between them in the lead-up to UFC 1.
Originally, Rickson Gracie had been seen as the man to represent the family in the Octagon, but when he had a bitter falling out with Rorion it led to Royce Gracie being chosen instead.
As the event drew close, other members for the Gracie family were due to fly in from around the world to watch the show, and some were reportedly angry with Rorion for his business dealings, which had included trademarking the ‘Gracie Jiu-Jitsu’ name in North America.
Rorion began to fear for his safety after being threatened by one unnamed member of the family, to the extent that he asked future UFC referee ‘Big’ John McCarthy, who was a policeman by trade, if he could get him a gun so that he could protect himself.
McCarthy refused to give him a firearm, and thankfully the family feud didn’t boil over at the event, with everyone being too busy celebrating Royce’s success.