UFC The Early Years: What You May Have Missed Part 3 (UFC 6-8)

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 by Tony Reid


*Held in Casper, Wyoming…So the answer to the trivia question is yes, the UFC has been to Wyoming.

*The world is introduced to D.L. Abbott, better known as Tank, as well as Pit Fighting, his fighting style and the first real bad boy of mixed martial arts.

*Tank says he will be “The most athletic person to ever step into the Octagon”…ok…

*Buffer is the ring announcer…Michael Buffer, that is.

*Tank Abbott vs. John Matua- Tank’s impact is felt immediately as he scores an 18 second knockout over the 400lb Matua.  He landed his big sledgehammers so heavy that it knocked Matua stiff, arms outstretched on the ground as if he was still in an upright position. Tank infamously mocks Matua as he lays there unconscious. The crowd is equal parts shocked and excited.

*Cal Worsham vs. Paul Varelans- Worsham, being about 2 feet shorter and 100 pounds lighter gets the better of the exchanges with the Trap fighter Varelans. Just as it looks good for Worsham the Polar Bear lands a number of vicious elbows to the neck and back of Cal, putting him down and out.

*Hey that’s Leon Spinks in the crowd!

*Don’t hassle the Hoff! The biggest star sighted yet, David Hasselhoff up in here!

*In his prefight interview, Dave Beneteau might have been the first fighter to thank his sponsors.

*Dave Beneteau vs. Oleg Taktarov- Beneteau lands some big shots on the feet, Oleg goes for a takedown and in transition Oleg sinks in an arm in guillotine for the tap. Again, skill over size!

*Tank Abbott vs. Paul Varelans- This should be good! Tank lands a big takedown, into side control, lands big punches. He rises up and has Varelans face pinned against the cage with his knee and all of his weight behind that knee. Tank in mid fight just looks up and smiles, loving every second of it. Big John steps in after a few more punches to stop the fight. Tank has officially become a huge fan favorite. According to Jim Brown “Tank has no respect, he’s from the streets”. Classic. Tank in return when asked about the fights finish stated “I wanted to tickle his brain” Even more classic.

*Taktarov vs. Anthony Macias- earlier in the night Pat Smith pulled out due to stomach cramps. Really? Anyhow, Taktarov gets a guillotine in a millisecond and taps Macias out.

*Introducing “The King of the Streets” Marco Ruas, who will compete at UFC 7

*If you like you can call the UFC Hotline at 1-900-RUN-4UFC for all the latest UFC action…$1.99 per minute, kids get your parents permission.  Well you probably won’t get far with that now.

*Super Fight time! Ken Shamrock vs. Dan Severn!-Ken has his adopted father and his adopted brother Frank in his corner. They start out wrestling with an over under, Severn goes for a single leg and Shamrock briefly sinks in a guillotine. Severn goes for another takedown, exposing his neck again and Shamrock takes advantage this time, by sinking in a deep guillotine forcing Severn to tap. Shamrock leaves with the big shiny belt as the first super fight champion.

Abbott vs. Taktarov- The finals of the tournament. They start standing and trading and Taktarov goes for another guillotine, putting Tank in top position. After a few minutes they are back on their feet both visibly tired, considering the multiple fights and the altitude that has caught up with them. Back to the ground and Oleg looks like he’s sleeping. I’m not sure if he even knows where he is. Tank is gassed so he is just lying in top position. Restart on the feet and Tank gets out of a tight guillotine and back to the ground they go. In a scramble Oleg takes Tank’s back and sinks in a rear naked choke, for the finish. Both fighters are lying in the Octagon afterwards. Taktarov gets oxygen while Tank gets up and walks out of the cage. This turned out to be one of the better early fights in UFC History.


*The Brawl in Buffalo

*The Octagon is 32 feet across and 5 feet high…in case you were curious.

*Jeff Blatnick quotes Harold Howard in regards to stepping into the Octagon saying “Your sphincter gets real tight” maybe not the best quote to choose to use on the broadcast.

*Jim Brown is no longer the color commentator. That role now belongs to Don “The Dragon” Wilson.

*Paul Varelans vs. Gerry Harris-The Polar Bear returns to take on newcomer Harris, who is listed as a former security guard for the Milwaukee Brewers. So Varelans ends the fight with a flurry of 12-6 elbows on the back of Harris’ head in just over a minute.

*So you might ask if Joe Silva is on board as a matchmaker…In a word, no. Hell, Bruce Beck tells us that there was a draw at Boomer’s Restaurant in NYC on the Wednesday before the show to work out the bracket and fights.

* Harold Howard vs. Mark Hall- The bigger meaner looking Howard ends up a bloody mess and taps due to strikes. Mark Hall looks like an accountant but came to beat some ass!

*Hey that’s Jim Kelly in the crowd.  We are in Buffalo after all.

* As a side note, many of the fighters are showing a great deal of sportsmanship after the fights, win, lose or draw.

* We are introduced to “The King of the Streets” Marco Ruas. He makes his debut against Larry “Thunderfoot” Cureton, afro rat tail and all. Ruas lands a big slam and transitions to numerous sub attempts and eventually Cureton taps to a heel hook.

Varelans vs. Hall- Varelans, with an 8” and 110 lbs advantage, takes Hall down and taps him out with a keylock in just over a minute.

Pardoel vs. Ruas- Ruas is cornered by a future familiar face in Pedro Rizzo. After six minutes of leaning against the cage, the fight goes to the ground with Ruas in top position. Pardoel taps due to being mounted and/or exhausted.

Super Fight Time! Ken Shamrock vs. Oleg Taktarov- Hold on just one minute…Oleg and Shamrock were buddies in Denver at the last event, now they are “Superfighting”? Well, this super fight begins with Shamrock lying in Taktarov’s guard, similar to the Gracie fight. The fight is finally restarted on the feet but it goes right back to the ground. Make that 20 minutes of Shamrock lying in Taktarov’s guard. The ref brings them back to the feet gain only to have a bit of circling and back to the ground…laying in guard as the 30 minute time limit expires. Off to overtime…Circling, circling, (I think in my head “Why did I agree to watch all of the old events start to finish? Not only did I agree to it, it was my idea! What the hell was I thinking?”) and the 5 minute OT expires. Another Super Fight draw.

Varelans vs. Ruas Final-Ruas uses a plethora of leg kicks to neutralize Varelans. The Polar Bear uses his size and brute strength to pick up Ruas by his neck for an attempt at a guillotine choke. Ruas uses foot stomps effectively, make that crazy foot stomps. After the accumulation of a ton of leg kicks the big tree begins to show signs of falling. Varelans is limping, more and more with each leg kick. Ruas literally chops Varelans down to the ground and quickly pounces on him and finishes with some vicious ground and pound.  Ruas is the new Champion!


*Called “David vs. Goliath” and held in Puerto Rico. Every event to this point could have been given this title.

*Its so hot in the building that sweat is running off the faces of the announcers.

*The time limits drop to 10 and 15 minutes, for regular fights and championship/super fights, respectively.

*Stephen Quadros is one of the judges this time around.

*Holy lip hair! The legendary Don Frye makes his debut with Dan Severn and Richard Hamilton (both also sporting the moustache) in his corner.

*Don Frye vs. Thomas Ramirez- The 400 plus pound Ramirez, is the hometown favorite and, ahem, undefeated in his 500,000 or so street fights.  Yeah we have heard this song and dance before. Ramirez is all smiles as he gets a standing O during the introductions as Frye gets booed. Ramirez won’t be smiling for long, as he wont be upright very long either. Frye lands a few punches and knocks him out cold in 10 seconds. The crowd is silent.

*Insert here: The first mention of hitting someone “on the button”.

Joe Moreira vs. Paul Varelans- Varelans pre fight breakdown graphic consists of: 1. Power over Technique 2. Limited Submissions 3. Heavy Elbows and my personal favorite 4. Thinker. Moreira stars out circling and circling and circling, he eventually lands a punch or two but Varelans picks up the decision.

Jerry Bohlaner vs. Scott Ferrozzo- Bohlander an early member of the Lion’s Den, makes his debut, as does Ferrozzo, who walks out with his manager Bruce Buffer…yes that Bruce Buffer. Ferrozzo, a poor man’s Tank Abbott, is short stocky and cocky. Bohlander on the other hand is well trained in most of the disciplines and looks like a body builder. Bohlander’s skills are too much for Ferrozzo and he ends the fight with a guillotine choke.

Paul Herrera vs. Gary Goodridge- And I quote Bruce Beck “Herrera has put his modeling and acting career on hold because its going nowhere”. Goodridge arm wrestling career is legendary as he once beat 1,000 men in a row in 2 hours. Goodridge is wearing his black gi, which makes him look that much more intimidating. This fight in a word was vicious. The ending of this fight has been permanently burned into my mind. This was one of those early fights where you could have sworn that one of these guys was going to die. Unfortunately for Herrera, it turns out he was the guy we were worried about in this particular fight. Goodridge got Herrera in a crucifix position and delivered a number of vicious and when I say vicious, I mean VICIOUS, elbows to the side of Herrera’s head and face, knocking him out cold in 13 seconds. Hererra looked like a crash test dummy bouncing off the dashboard of a fast moving car.

Don Frye vs. Sam Adkins- Bruce Beck tells us that Don Frye is Pennsylvania Dutch, Irish, Scottish and Cherokee.  Thanks for sharing. Sam “The Experience” Adkins looks like he just cam from a Grateful Dead concert, or a pro wrestling match with his tie dyed pants. The fight is stopped quickly as Frye lands a number of punches to bring a halt to the fight.

Jerry Bohlander vs. Gary Goodridge- Both men advanced from previous wins and face off in the semi finals. Goodridge lands a takedown in to side control. Bohlander executes a beautiful reversal and ends up on top, mounting Goodridge landing punches and head butts. With a show of pure strength Goodridge reverses back, lands big right hands and is standing over Bohlander as time expires. Goodridge by decision.

*Dan Severn joins the broadcast team and explains the importance of cross training in the many different styles and disciplines of the various martial arts.

*Super Fight Ken Shamrock vs. Kimo- Kimo broke ties with Joe Son! Say it ain’t so! After his walk to the cage he stops with his team for an extended prayer. To the fight! Shamrock lands a quick takedown, really working on the ground from half guard to side control to mount. Shamrock goes for a guillotine and Kimo reverses position and ends up in top position. Shamrock goes for an ankle, then a leg and Kimo is forced to tap to a deep knee bar. The Lion’s Den is in full effect, with Ken, Frank Shamrock, Tra Telligman, Guy Mezger, Matt Hume, Dan Freeman and others up in there!

*Frye vs. Goodridge Final- They start by trading punches on the feet, with Frye landing some good right hands in the clinch. Goodridge, using his brute strength starts rag dolling Frye around a bit. The fight goes to the ground and Frye lands a number of big punches as Goodridge’s corner throws in the towel. Goodridge actually tapped due to strikes. In the post fight interview Goodridge throws out the first after party shout out. The David (actually the Don) beat the Goliaths. The legend of Don Frye is born.

UFC 8 Takeaways: It appears that you must bring a sign to gain entrance to the event as everyone is holding ridiculous signs in the crowd from “Severn Heads” to “We want Tyson vs. Gracie”. The Lion’s Den is the first super camp, minus the marshmallow roasting and sleeping bags. Masa Funaki, the founder of Pancrase, was in attendance and mentioned by the announcers, giving legitimacy to the organization. A number of new talent made their debuts on that night such as Don Frye, Gary Goodridge and Jerry Bohlander.