Submissions were something of a rarity in the older days of the UFC. There were very fighters capable of executing the holds since few had actual training. Aside from the obvious men like Ken Shamrock, Royce Gracie, and Dan Severn, a legit finishing hold was a beauty to see in the octagon. On the flip side, while technical finishing holds were uncommon, fighters would often tap out due to, well, not knowing what the hell to do. Be it confusion, exhaustion, anxiety, or something else, there were plenty of matches that ended rather oddly, and this category celebrates those oddities.
Here are the nominees for Best Tapout… to nothing in particular:
Royce Gracie VS Art Jimmerson – The stories about Art Jimmerson’s entry into the world of No-Holds-Barred combat are many, but Art Davie has summed it up best with his explanation. Jimmerson began his boxing career in 1985, and by the time he retired, held a respectable record of 51-33. In 1993, Jimmerson had the honor of being part of the first-ever eight-man tournament at the debut of this odd little event called “The Ultimate Fighting Championship”. Sadly for him, his first opponent was BJJ black belt, Royce Gracie.
Art had already been paid in advance just to show up to the event, more than most fighters would get for actually fighting, and when Art heard who he was fighting, he made an odd decision about his fight gear. Jimmerson decided the best way to deal with Royce would be to use his jab to keep him at bay, and eventually knock him out for the win. To do so, Jimmerson wore a single boxing glove on his left hand to protect himself while pummeling Gracie. Unfortunately, things did not turn out as planned, and Royce easily took him down and mounted him to the point that Jimmerson realized he was helpless and tapped out to positional superiority. The man, the myth, the glove.
Todd Medina VS Larry Cureton – Here is an obscure one for you. In a fight that pitted Jeet Kune Do against American kickboxing, these two debuting fighters met at UFC 5 in the first round of the tournament. Medina easily took down Cureton, and spent most of the match inside his guard, pounding at his sides and occasionally landing a soft headbutt, similar to how a cat rubs its head on someones leg. Cureton held on with a tight closed guard, and later half-guard, with neither fighter doing too much.
As the fight approached the three minute mark, Medina slid his forearm across Cureton’s throat in a move to probably distract his opponent so that Medina could get a better position. In a more fortuitous turn of events for Medina, the pain was enough for Cureton to tap out and quit. Who knew that transition moves could be so dangerous?
Don Frye VS Mark Hall – One of the few fixed fights in the early days of the UFC, Frye and his people made an agreement with Hall backstage before their fight. The story goes that both Hall and Frye had the same managers, and Frye wanted an easy way into the finals of the tournament against Tank Abbott at the Ultimate Ultimate 1996 tournament. Since Frye had already beaten Hall before, they arranged that Hall would be paid a sum to take a dive.
The fight lasted 20 seconds, with Frye easily overpowering Hall and catching him a weak-looking achilles tendon hold that caused Hall to tap in visible pain. Even the commentators noticed something was funny with this one, but comparatively speaking, at least this nominee had an actual submission hold being used.
Thanks to June M. Williams for our Awards graphics.
Place your vote by writing in the comments, and let us know why you made your decision. Best answers will get read during our OSMMA Review Award Show episode!
“The OSMMA Review Awards, Volume 1” only represents UFC 1 through Ultimate Ultimate 1996, so remember that when placing your vote, as anything other than what was listed in the categories will be ignored, and the voter shall be promptly flogged. Stay constantly vigilant as more categories become announced, or take a peek at the stream to make sure you placed your vote in all twelve categories!
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