Last time I talked about 8 of the fighters in the UFC’s second ever one-night tournament. Most specifically Minoki Ichihara, but Freek Hamaker, Johnny Rhodes, David Levicki, Ray Wizard, Pat Smith, Sean Daugherty, and Scott Morris as well.
Today I’ll go through the remaining 9 fighters offering insights into their pre-UFC careers and post UFC whereabouts as well as their martial arts credentials and any interesting videos or quotes I can find. Enjoy the ongoing odyssey as I continue to search out details on the early fighters of MMA.
Now on to the rest of the fighter from UFC 2:
Fred Ettish – When Fred Ettish, (a Shorinji Kempo Karate school instructor and 5th degree black belt) responded to a magazine ad looking for fighters for the next UFC tournament, he was already too late. The spots had been filled, even the possibility of being an alternate was gone. His dream of competing in the UFC was over before it started.
And then something happened, Kenbroke his hand. One of the already scheduled alternates (I’m entirely not sure who) was brought in to take Ken’s place, and suddenly Fred Ettish had a spot in UFC 2.
Initially, Ettish asked for a chance to fight one of the other alternates on the card, much like Jason DeLucia and Trent Jenkins had gotten at UFC 1. However, given the massive size of this tournament, there wasn’t any time for non tournament bouts (he was promised a shot in one of the upcoming tournaments if he didn’t make it in to the UFC 2 field). Instead, since he was already backstage, he was given the task of helping the other tournament fighters prepare for their bouts; ensuring that they had any last minute items they needed and that they were ready for their fights on time.
It was in this position, that Rorion Gracie found Ettish, just a few minutes removed from helping Minoki Ichihara get ready to fight Royce Gracie, and asked him if he was ready to step in to the cage. Freek Hamaker had hurt his hand in the first round and would be unable to continue. Ettish had all of ten minutes to find his cornermen in the audience, get on his Gi, and get in the octagon. What followed would be short and brutal, and would make him the laughing stock of the MMA world; but that wasn’t the beginning of Ettish’s hard luck, and it wouldn’t be the end.
Ettish was the son of European immigrants fleeing the devastation of WW2. His parents moved to the US in 1952, and would divorce when he was 11. His stepfather was incredibly abusive, Ettish recalled the incident that led him to finally move out of his house and start living with friends.
“My stepfather burned our house down in a drunken rage the same night he chased us with a loaded rifle and tried to run me over with his truck,” Ettish said. “One of my classmates had told me, ‘If it gets too bad, my parents will let you stay with us.’ I went to school and asked him if the offer still stood. That’s the way it went. They never blinked.”
After his UFC debut things would not get better. He was a joke on the internet, notable with the setup of this famous website, and was shunned by both the MMA world and his associates in the martial arts community. Two years later he would lose his infant son and he and his wife would divorce. UFC 2 in many respects was merely the bridge between two parts of a life that was hard lived much of the way through
Eventually things did turn around, he became part of the Miletich family of fighters, even opening his own gym as a Miletich affiliate. In 2009 he re-entered MMA competition and at age 53, won a fight over Kyle Fletcher by TKO in the first round. He was last heard to be the head instructor at Damaebushi Martial Arts Academy and has also done some judging on the regional circuits.
Thaddeus Luster – Another of the “exotic” martial artists featured at UFC 2, Thaddeus Luster had a 7th degree black belt in San Soo Kung Fu. It’s a style of Kung Fu based on practicality and application rather than the devotion to animal forms. Rumor has it he was trained under Chuck Corey, Andre Salvage, and Larry Wikel.
San Soo was introduced to America in the 1950s by Chin Siu Dek (also known as Jimmy Haw Woo). One of the key tenets of San Soo is that it is a defensive martial art only, and should never be used for competitive or aggressive fighting. Apparently fighters who use the art in open competition face the potential of being stripped of their ranking in the community. It is unknown if Luster ever faced any punishment for his appearance in UFC 2.
Robert Lucarelli – Lucarelli was a Union of Wrestling Forces International Snake Pit fighter. A catch wrestling school, based largely in Japan. He trained under Billy Robinson and (at least according to K.J. Gould) had some level of amateur wrestling experience.
His MMA career was incredibly short, with his only recorded fight a loss to Orlando Weit at UFC 2. However since ending his career he’s gone on to competitive grappling and training “up and coming” fighters. Most notably he was one of Seth Petruzelli’s early coaches. Word has it that eventually a series of recurring hip and back injuries forced him to retire altogether.
Orlando Weit – It’s hard to say that Orlando Weit should have done more in MMA, as he fought 5 times and lost 4 of them, but one can’t help but wonder what might have been had he been able to adapt his impressive standup game to MMA. Weit may have been a flash in the pan to UFC fans, but he was a long time regular on the world kickboxing and Muay Thai circuits.
Reported to have competed in close to 180 professional fights, Weit was the 1997 WTC super middleweight world champion, as well as a 1995 K-1 Grand Prix competitor. He also had a short boxing career between 1996 and 1999 going 8-8. He is now retired and owns his own gym, Team Sport Wiet, in France.
Alberto Cerro Leon – Also known as Alberta, Leon is a Pencak Silat specialist from Galdakao, Spain who competed in MMA for the first and only time at UFC 2. He was the 1987 and 1989 Pencak Silat World Champion. Looking to make money as a martial arts instructor he moved to California where he found the opportunity to train in a variety of different martial arts styles including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under the Gracie family. Prior to UFC 2 he claims to have a competed in unregulated MMA matches in Los Angeles’ Chinatown.
The Gracies contacted him to compete in UFC 1, but unsure of the nature of the competition and success that the promotion would have, he declined. After the unprecedented success of the first event he was quick to sign on to fight in the second UFC tournament.
For some time after his UFC debut he worked as security to the rich and famous in California, but eventually returned to Spain. Currently he is the head of security at the nightclub Lemoa.
He described his training regimen at the time in an interview for Combat Cross magazine:
“I did not use weights, since the first I knew were in the United States. I trained in the mountains of my town and on the sands of the beach, in summer or winter. The workouts were not as scientific as now, one trained until tired, three or four hours. With regard to food and training, I ate a bowl of beans and in the evening I burned it off. Doing things like, sprinting up the Port of Barazar every night after work.“
In 2013 he made his return to TV on the Spanish reality show ‘Conquistador del Fin del Mundo 2013’. You can check out his profile video here.
Remco Pardoel – Of all the traditional martial artists competing at UFC 2, Pardoel had perhaps the most technically suited background of any of them. A junior national champion in Judo in 1988, a Tae Kwon Do black belt, and competitive BJJ grappler, Pardoel had the perfect mix of size and technique to take him far in the early days of MMA. He was even a competitor at the first ever Mundials in 1996, competing as a black belt by invitation of Carlos Gracie Jr., despite only being a blue belt at the time. Eventually he would go on to work under the tutelage of Vinicius ‘Draculino’ Magalhaes.
It’s strange then that actual success mostly eluded him in his MMA career. He competed for many of the worlds biggest early MMA organizations compiling a record of 9-6 and fought Marco Ruas, Vernon White, and Minoru Suzuki, as well as Royce Gracie, but never quite managed to make it over the hump from memorable fighter to MMA star. He retired from professional competition in 2003.
After his MMA career ended Pardoel would go on to become a certified instructor in the Gracie-Barra Network. He claims to be responsible for bringing Shooto to Holland telling Bjj Eastern Europe:
Don’t forget that i also brought Shooto to Europe at that time…. They all started in my academy in between 1993 and 1995. Harold Harder, Mathieu Peters, Max Leijdekker, Martijn de Jong.
Currently he is a professional trainer, heads a Jiu Jitsu team in Amsterdam and spends his spare time as a professional House DJ.
Scott Baker – When Scott Baker entered UFC 2 he had a background in Wing Chun and kickboxing, training under by Master Tam Hung Fun and SiFu Peter Yu in New Zealand. He also spent time training under acclaimed surfer David Nuuhiwa who was known for his individual style of Shoshin Ryu Yudanshakai, called Kaito Gakko.
His MMA career was largely inconsequential consisting of his single UFC appearance (which he lost) and a string of semi-pro bouts for Extreme Challenge MMA in the late 90’s.
Outside of MMA he claims to have a Ph.D. in Social Psychology, and is author of the book “Chi Kung, Development and Practical Application in Wing Chun Kung-Fu.” He was formerly teaching Wing Chun in a small school in the Chicago area, but is now one of the principal instructors at Maine Wing Chun Kung Fu.
Jason DeLucia – DeLucia was born in Woonsocket Rhode Island July 24, 1969. He claims to have been inspired into martial arts training by the death of Bruce Lee, and to have taught himself to play piano and guitar by ear.
I’ve already mentioned much of his martial arts career in my UFC 1 post, but a particular incident stands out as recounted by DeLucia:
“Around about 1991 Steven Seagal said in Black Belt Magazine that if anyone wanted to challenge him, that they should go to his dojo and do so. So I did. Haruo Matsuoka, headmaster at that time, received me and said that he would pass the word. And so I stayed and studied every single class while I waited. Incidentally, it was the same dojo seen in “Above the Law.” I went morning and night to every class. He never honored his open challenge. The Dojo finally closed and moved mid 1992; that was that.” (via Mike McCann interview)
Following the end of his MMA career he opened his own martial arts academy specializing in Aiki Kenpo, Aikido, and sport Karate.
Royce Gracie – Royce stared training in Jiu Jitsu at the age of 4. He was promoted to black belt by his father and Rickson Gracie together as an 18th birthday present. His father was a major part of Royce’s promotion process, and since his father’s passing Royce has stopped moving up the belt levels of BJJ. In point of fact he no longer wears his own black belt at all, instead donning the blue belt which his father always wore.
He spoke to Inside BJJ in 2010 about his vision of the BJJ grappling:
What ruined most martial arts was tournaments if you stop and look at it. What are they teaching today? How not to punch. How not to kick. They touch, and they score points, and they win. That’s not how it was supposed to be. That’s not how Tae Kwon Do was made. It was made to punch right through your chest. Karate…Judo…The old Judo was made to throw head down first. You do that and you get disqualified today. Now, you have to throw in a certain way. What ruins most martial arts is tournaments; the points. Teaching a guy to score points? There are no points on the street.
My father was always against tournament competition. You want to compete you get in the ring, Jiu-Jitsu is not a points game. It’s a self defense. Like most martial arts are a self-defense… “MARTIAL ARTS” not a points art.
As Royce will be a central figure for several more of these pieces I will focus mostly on delivering pieces of interesting information, rather than in-depth overviews.
It’s been a heck of a ride, but that’s all for the fighter’s of UFC 2. Watch out for UFC 3: The real downside of tournament MMA coming soon. I’ll talk about why alternate bouts are an awesome idea, why Emmanuel Yarborough wasn’t a real Sumo, and Harold Howard.
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