Fight Facts Flashback is a branch of the Fight Facts series that
takes a look back at historic events and noteworthy moments in the
sport of MMA. These jaunts down memory lane serve as snapshot
reviews of what the landscape looked like when they occurred, while
also analyzing what happened afterward for those involved.
The ordering process for Ultimate Fighting Championship
pay-per-views has changed: UFC 249 is only available on ESPN+ in the
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TOTAL NUMBER OF UFC FIGHTS: 466
TOTAL NUMBER OF UFC EVENTS: 57
Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2005 went for broke by
putting on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show. The season
“The Ultimate Fighter 1” Finale, which introduced a whole new
generation of fans to the sport and arguably saved the company. We
now celebrate the 15th anniversary of this groundbreaking event
that put the UFC on the map once and for all. Congratulations to
the section of the fanbase once considered “TUF Noobs,” as you have
now been following the sport for 15 years.
NEW NAME, SAME GREAT TASTE: “The Ultimate Fighter
1” Finale marked the first time the promotion did not list the
letters “UFC” in the event title. Two unnumbered events occurred
earlier but were billed as UFC “Ultimate Ultimate 1995” and UFC
“Ultimate Ultimate 1996.”
THE LAST KNOWN SURVIVOR STALKS HIS PREY IN THE
NIGHT: Every fighter on the card besides the two
headliners competed on Season 1 of the reality show, and of those
16, only one is actively competing in MMA as of April 2020:
Sanchez. Of note, Chris Leben
currently fights in bare knuckle boxing.
THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF UFC FIGHT NIGHT: The 16
fighters who made their organizational debuts at this event went on
appear inside the Octagon a combined 148 more times. The only
fighter of that group to win a title was Forrest
SOME STILL HAD GREAT CAREERS: None of the six
fighters that lost in non-tournament final bouts ever fought under
the UFC banner again.
MORE KNOCKOUTS THAN UFC 76 ‘KNOCKOUT’: “The
Ultimate 1” Finale set the record for the most knockouts at a UFC
event with seven. This total was not matched until UFC Fight Night
13 in 2008 and not passed until UFC 92 later in 2008.
A 10-YEAR STREAK: The first five fights of the
night all ended by knockout. The five-fight knockout streak joined
similar stretches from UFC 9 and UFC 36. No event featured six
consecutive knockouts until UFC Fight Night 68 in 2015.
WE AVERAGE ALMOST 11 NOW: Since the modern era
began at UFC 28 in 2001—when the promotion adopted the Unified
Rules of MMA—only two events other than “The Ultimate Fighter 1”
Finale held nine bouts: UFC 44 and UFC 51.
‘THE ICEMAN’ COMETH: The coaches of the two teams
faced off one week later at UFC 52, where Randy
Couture attempted to defend his light heavyweight throne in a
rematch against Chuck
Liddell. “The Iceman” won by first-round knockout and later won
the trilogy match at UFC 57, also by knockout.
TALK ABOUT OWNED: Liddell served as the coach for
both Griffin and Sanchez and went on to knock out Couture in “The
Ultimate Fighter” Season 1 coaches’ fight. Several other fighters
later achieved this same feat of running the table and defeating
their opposing coach, including Tito Ortiz,
Hughes and Frankie
FRANKLIN PLAYS THE GAME: In arguably his biggest
win to date, Rich
Franklin knocked out Shamrock in the first round to improve his
record to 19-1 with one no contest. The only bout Franklin had lost
at the time was a heavyweight contest against Lyoto
NOT JUST A MATH TEACHER: All 19 of Franklin’s
victories had come by stoppage, including 15 in the opening
FRANKLINWEIGHT CHAMP: Franklin officially made his
185-pound debut at UFC 50, but his match with Shamrock was
contested at 205 pounds. Despite this victory, Franklin’s next bout
was for the middleweight title, which he won in a rematch against
legendary but often-overlooked Evan
A REGULAR CHIN-CRACKER: Although Shamrock had
twice suffered defeat by technical knockout, both came by corner
stoppage. A 36-fight veteran at the time, Shamrock had never been
stopped by strikes until Franklin finished him in the opening
round. Shamrock later went on to lose eight of his next 10 bouts by
THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS HEAVYWEIGHT: Shamrock
made a name for himself, not only for his lengthy Pancrase
tenure but also for his early UFC success. Despite the success,
“The World’s Most Dangerous Man” never won a bout contested below
heavyweight inside the Octagon.
A TOP OF THE MORNING TO BOTH OF YOU!: The titanic
battle between Griffin and Stephan
Bonnar was so thrilling that UFC President Dana White awarded
both men six-figure contracts. Both fighters competed 14 more times
with the promotion, and each later suffered knockouts from Anderson
NOT BLESSED WITH A FOURTH ROUND: While considered
by some outlets to be the “Fight of the Year” in 2005,
Griffin-Bonnar trailed Mauricio
Rogerio Nogueira by a single vote in the
WHAT A NIGHTMARE: Sanchez improved his unbeaten
record to 12-0 by knocking out Kenny
Florian in the opening frame. Eleven of those 12 wins came by
finish, with nine taking place within the first round.
MULTIPLE WEIGHT CUTS IN SIX WEEKS IS NO BUENO:
Sanchez and Florian squared off for the middleweight tournament
final at this event, and neither man would ever compete at
middleweight again. Later, both briefly fought all the way down to
featherweight, 40 pounds lower than their UFC debuts.
NOT PREPARED FOR MIDDLEWEIGHT POWER: The knockout
Florian suffered at the hands of Sanchez marked the first and only
time that “KenFlo” ever lost via strikes.
AT LEAST HE HAD BATTLEBOTS: Florian never won a
tournament, nor did he take home a championship in his career.
Although he went down to welterweight briefly, the majority of his
time came in the lightweight division. The Massachusetts native
fought three times for a title, losing to Sean Sherk,
Aldo in those three championship affairs.
THE ORIGINAL REDHEAD: Leben dispatched Jason
Thacker via knockout in 95 seconds, earning his ninth stoppage
in his 11 wins. Thacker, meanwhile, never competed again.
BIRTH OF ‘QUICK’: Mike Swick
scored the eighth-fastest knockout in promotional history when he
Schoenauer in 20 seconds. It was also the third-quickest in UFC
middleweight history at the time, trailing only Mark Weir’s
10-second knockout of Eugene
Jackson and Phil Baroni’s
18-second demolition of Dave Menne.
NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: Coming into “The Ultimate
Fighter” 1 Finale, Bonnar (eight fights) and Bobby
Southworth (nine fights) had never dropped decisions, Chris
Sanford (four fights), Lodune
Sincaid (six fights) and Schoenauer (seven fights) had never
lost and Sam Hoger had
never fought out of the first round (four fights).
EVERYTHING IS UP TO HIM: Griffin made his walk to
the cage accompanied by “Take It!” by the
Insane Clown Posse, making his use the first in UFC history
from this unique hip hop duo. Griffin later walked out to it two
more times, and he remains the only recorded UFC fighter to ever
use a track from ICP.
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