On Nov. 12, 1993, the Ultimate Fighting Championship held their first event, later titled UFC 1 “The Beginning,” at the McNichols Arena in Denver.
The event was an eight-man tournament where the winner would receive $50,000. The tournament had no weight classes and no judges to render decisions. Fights were to end by knockout, tapout or a fighter’s corner throwing in the towel. For the inaugural UFC show, there were three rules – no biting, no eye gouging and no groin strikes – which were to be enforced by a $1,500.00 fine for infractions.
The eight men in the tournament were Gerard Gordeau, Teila Tuli, Kevin Rosier, Zane Frazier, Royce Gracie, Art Jimmerson, Ken Shamrock and Patrick Smith. In the end, Gracie outlasted them all, winning the tournament by submitting Jimmerson in the quarterfinals, Shamrock in the semifinals and Gordeau in the finals.
UFC 1 had a buyrate of 86,000 and had 7,800 people in attendance.