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Completed Event

UFC 1: The Beginning

  • Friday 11.12.1993 at 10:00 PM ET
  • U.S. Broadcast: Pay Per View
  • Promotion: Ultimate Fighting Championship
  • Ownership: Semaphore Entertainment Group (SEG)
  • Venue: McNichols Sports Arena
  • Location: Denver, Colorado, United States
  • Enclosure: Octagon
  • TV Announcers: Bill Wallace, Jim Brown, Kathy Long
  • Ring Announcer: Rich Goins
  • Interviews: Brian Kilmeade | Backstage: Rod Machado
  • Attendance: 7,800
  • PPV Buys / Buyrate: 86,000 | TV Ratings:
  • Number of MMA Bouts: 8
  • Event Pages: Sherdog | Wikipedia | The UG

Fight Card


  • Helio Vigio
    Gracie vs. Gordeau (8)Gracie vs. Shamrock I (6)Shamrock vs. Smith (4)Rosier vs. Frazier (2)
  • Joao Alberto Barreto
    Gordeau vs. Rosier (5)Gracie vs. Jimmerson (3)Tuli vs. Gordeau (1)

Tapology Consensus Rankings For UFC 1 Rankings FAQ

UFC 1 Wiki Update Wiki

UFC 1: The Beginning was North America’s first mixed martial arts event broadcast on Pay Per View. Held on November 12, 1993 from the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado, the event featured an open weight, “no-rules” tournament where fighters from around the world could pit their martial arts techniques against one another in a single-elimination eight-man tournament, with the winner awarded $50,000. Although the event was panned by critics and politicians, who saw the UFC as a barbaric blood sport no different from the time of the Roman Gladiators, it was a financial success, drawing a live crowd of 7,800 spectators (far more than an often-reported 2,800) and recording about 86,000 buys on Pay Per View.


Two famous fighters of that day who wanted to enter the tournament but did not were K-1 Legend Ernesto Hoost and judoka Gokor Chivichyan.  it has been debated as to why they were not let in but one theory is that both were seen as having a shot at beating Gracie when this show was meant for him to win.

The Event was originally going to be titled "The War of the Worlds" and was going to be in October on the same day anniversary as the famous Orson Welles 1938 broadcast.

The tournament marked the United States debut of future UFC superstar Ken Shamrock, as well as fellow UFC Hall of Famer and international martial arts sensation Royce Gracie, who swept all three rounds of the tournament, submitting Art Jimmerson, Ken Shamrock, and Gerard Gordeau with flying colors and introducing the world to the dominance of the Gracie family’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighting system.

Last updated 04.15.2015, 11:06 AM ET
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