Royce Gracie Vs Kazushi Sakuraba
So far we’ve only focused on the towel being thrown into the Octagon, but we’ll round off this article with some classic examples from PRIDE, starting with perhaps the most famous one of all.
Gracie had left the UFC in 1995, still undefeated, and reappeared in PRIDE for their open-weight tournament in 2000, where he found himself going up against Japanese star Kazushi Sakuraba.
It proved to be a legendary fight in which the two battled for no less than 90 minutes, over six 15-minute rounds. It would have gone on longer (there was no time limit) if Sakuraba’s leg kicks hadn’t finally worn Gracie down, leaving him barely able to stand in the fifth and sixth rounds.
Back on his stool after the sixth stanza Gracie told his corner that he would be able to get back up, but he couldn’t walk, and at that point his brother Rorian famously threw in the towel.
That marked Gracie’s first ever loss, with the fighter later revealing that a cracked shin bone and partial tear of a tendon had left him unable to continue.