Weight: 190 lbs-210 lbs
Hometown: Walthan, Massachusetts-USA
Style: Jeet Kune Do, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
Years Active: 1995-1997
Career Overview: David Hood was Boston-based fighter with a background instructing Jeet Kune Do. Prior to making his official MMA debut, Hood claimed an undefeated 72-0-0 record in bareknuckle fighting. Credentials such as these were often fabricated in the early days of MMA by the promoters and the fighters, although it’s possible Hood may have had some bareknuckle experience prior to his first recorded fight. He made his official debut as an alternate in UFC 7 against former football player fighter Scott Bessac. Interesting to note was that Taimak, the martial arts movie actor who starred in The Last Dragon, was the referee of this bout:
Bessac, a Lion’s Den fighter and Pancrase veteran with a 3-4-0 record at the time, was four inches taller and fifty pounds heavier than his Bostonian opponent. The two met in the center of the cage, briefly exchanging strikes before clinching. Both fighters attempted to hit each other with groin strikes before Bessac grabbed a hold of a power guillotine and forced Hood to tap out at 0:31. It would be Hood’s last appearance in the UFC and Bessac’s last victory in MMA.
Following his defeat, Hood apparently began training with Rickson Gracie to prepare for future no-holds-barred fights. His new skills would be put to the test a year after his UFC appearance when he fought in World Vale Tudo Championship 1 inTokyoBay. The promotion, founded by Vale Tudo pioneer and Marco Ruas affiliate Fredrico Lapenda, featured an eight-man tournament which Hood took part in. His first fight of the night would be against Okinawan karate stylist Todd Butler, who claimed kickboxing and wrestling credentials along with his point karate experience.
The fighters started off with a quick striking exchange before tying up against the ropes. They struck each other with short blows while jockeying for position, with Hood showing evidence of his jiu-jitsu training by attempting several standing guillotine chokes (In the manner Bessac had finished him off in the UFC). Butlereventually brought the fight to the ground, and from this point on the match looked more like Wrestling vs. Jiu-Jitsu than Jeet Kune Do vs. Okinawan karate. The two traded strikes from inside Hood’s guard for several minutes untilButlereventually tapped out at the 9:33 mark. There was no finishing hold employed;Butlerjust seemed uncomfortable working from the guard and didn’t know how to stop being hit by Hood’s short punches. He later went on to fight Olympic gold medalist wrestler Kevin Jackson in the UFC and fought Jeremy Horn twice, dropping all three fights. Butlereventually picked up a lone win against one Adam Harris in 1999.
Advancing to the quarterfinals, Hood next took on Irish-American grappling stylist Richard “Red” Heard. Heard was similar to Hood’s earlier opponent Scott Bessac in that he was a former football player and had a height and weight over the Jeet Kune Do stylist. Claiming experience in Judo, SAMBO, and wrestling, he took on Hood after having submitted his previous opponent, Scott Grof, via strikes in little over a minute.
Heard started off that match with a strong double-leg takedown that put Hood on his back. Hood quickly climbed to his feet, however, with Heard still holding a single leg. While Heard attempted to kick his leg out from under him, both fighters fell to the ground and rapid scramble occurred. Hood got to his feet first and kicked his opponent in the face, bloodying the grappler’s mouth. Hood spent the next several minutes in Heard’s guard, landing some effective ground-and-pound before both fighters slipped from the ring and out onto the floor. The Jeet Kune Do fighter seemed slow climbing back into the ring, but when the match was restarted standing he opened up with a flurry of punches before pulling guard. This proved to be a mistake, as Heard quickly latched on to an Achilles lock and forced Hood to tap at 4:26.
Heard would end up winning the tournament that night by defeating superheavyweight Fred Floyd. The damage Hood had done to him in his previous fight came into play during his championship bout, as the match had to be paused to reclose several of the cuts Heard had accrued on his face. Despite being submitted, Hood’s training with Rickson Gracie was very evident in his performance that night.
“The Boston Strangler’s” final MMA fight occurred in 1997, when he took on wrestling coach John Bechthold in the IFC:
Bechthold started out by bulling his smaller opponent up against the fence. Following an exchange of sideways headbutts, the wrestler took Hood to the ground with a straight headlock but quickly got his back taken. After an armbar attempt, Bechthold escaped and managed to scramble to a dominant position. Hood attempted an ankle lock, but Bechthold kept a stable position and landed some steady ground-and-pound until Hood relinquished the hold. Bechthold held the top position and landed several headbutts until the referee initiated a stand-up. The reset in position did not prove to be an advantage for Hood, who was quickly taken down and submitted via Cobra Choke at 6:55.
Bechthold would go on to lose to Judoka Robert Lalonde later that night in his only other MMA bout.
In my opinion, David “The Boston Strangler” Hood was a quick and athletic fighter whose record does not necessarily serve him justice. He had a solid striking game and was in the right company to make good strides in grappling. Being more of a natural middleweight, he might’ve been more successful had he not been matched up with all of those beefy wrestlers. The rugged grappler “Red” Heard, who only lost to Pedro Rizzo in MMA, had his hands full with the scrappyBostonfighter.
Fighters I would’ve liked to see him up against:
– Fred Floyd
– Erik Paulson
– Don Frye