The Real First MMA Death

From the April 15, 1981 issue of the St. Louis Globe Democrate.


KOTC 10 Tournament Review

Just a little background: KOTC 10- Critical Mass took place in 2001 and featured a one-night, eight-man heavyweight tournament as well as several regular bouts (Most notably Duane Ludwig vs. Krazy Horse). The tournament utilized one seven-minute round per fight, allowed for grounded knees, and gave virtually no leeway in terms of inaction on the ground. Once you hit the floor, you had to follow the ABC rules: Always Be Coldcocking. If you weren’t ground-and-pounding or going for submissions, you would get stood up even if you had mount.

Here are the players:

Fred Floyd– A 380 lbs PKA kickboxer and “Budokan Kung-Fu” stylist. He was an oldschool NHB fighter who suffered a memorable beating at the hands of I.G.O.R. back in the day. He did have a notable victory against WCW jobber Jerry Flynn, however, and might’ve appeared on an old Seinfeld episode as a bouncer. He’s easily the fattest man in the tournament.

Wade Shipp– A young Lions Den fighter with a shaved head and goatee. He’s making his debut here.

Kauai Kupihea– This dude looks like Pedro Rizzo with the body of Cain Velasquez. He has a fair bit of experience, coming into the tournament on a loss dealt to him by Bobby Hoffman in a title fight at KOTC 9. He claims to be a Muay Thai/BJJ fighter, but it quickly becomes obvious his forte is wrestling. Sneaky bastard.

Josh Dempsey– Jack Dempsey’s grandson, a former professional boxer with a 19-4-0 record. He’s apparently a former state champion wrestler and trained with the likes of Mark Kerr, Rigan Machado, and the McCully brothers (Sean and Justin). The only credential he lacks is having cybernetic limbs. Despite this tournament being his debut, he’s one of the favorites.

Giant Ochiai– A flabby Japanese guy with an afro. He’s a Judoka and pro wrestler managed by Masaaki Satake. He previously fought in Pride 10 and lost to Ricco Rodriguez by smother.

Zane Frazier– A Kenpo stylist who almost died in UFC 1 and later almost killed a man in UFC 9. He once beat up Frank Dux in a hotel lobby, and claims that he’s banned from training BJJ by the Brazilians. He’s 38, asthmatic, and 1-8-0 coming in, but is VERY buff on this particular night.

Eric Kleper- At 6’7″, he’s the tallest man in the tourney. He claims a boxing/kickboxing background, and is the heavyweight champion for Mark Hall’s Cobra Fighting Federation (Remember Mark Hall? I do). His shorts have a smiley face on the crotch.

Mike Bourke– Normally a fatty who fights with his shirt on, but for this tournament he’s yolked himself up and looks like a powerlifter. His background is two seasons of highschool wrestling. Beyond that, he trains once a week in Judo with some guy named Mollen Kramer (Yeah… Only once a week). He’s a KOTC perennial, being their open weight champion, and also fought in Pride 11 where he was double-armbarred by Alexander Otsuka (Just to note: KOTC had pretty close ties with Pride back in the day and a lot of fighters express a desire to fight there). He has an unfinished Tasmanian Devil tattoo on his shoulder.

Keith Richardson– The alternate who fought in a dark match. He’s a pear-shaped dude who sports a matching black singlet and t-shirt. His style is “Vale Judo.”

Fight 1: Fred Floyd vs. Wade Shipp

After a brief stand-up exchange, Floyd makes a sort of awkward lunge and ends up on his back and mounted. Shipp lands a few big punches before submitting him with an armbar less than thirty seconds in. Floyd never fought again.

Fight 2: Kauai Kupihea vs. Josh Dempsey

A brutal and exhausting back-and-forth ground battle. The gist of the fight is that Kupihea would score a takedown and the two would then take turns being on top and pounding each other. It wasn’t a technical masterpiece, but it wasn’t a sloppy shitfest either. Kuiphea hit some nice switches and landed a few big grounded knees. Dempsey’s grappling training shone through and he had Kupihea turtled up at several points. After seven minutes, Kupihea would end up getting the split decision based mostly on his takedowns a grounded knees. Dempsey only had one other MMA fight, a victory over Cyrille Diabate.

Fight 3: Giant Ochiai vs. Zane Frazier

Right off the bat it becomes apparent that Frazier is substantially faster, more powerful, and more technical than his Japanese opponent. Despite having “Giant” in his name, he’s three inches shorter than Frazier and forty pounds lighter (As a matter of fact, he’s one of the smallest guys in the tourney). Ochiai can offer little in the way of offense for most of the fight, as Frazier effortlessly shrugs off his takedown attempts and picks him apart with strikes. The announcers compare the one-sided affair to Gary Goodridge vs. Osamu Kawahara (Where Goodridge uppercutted the shit out of him).

After a while, however, Frazier’s asthma, age, and heavily muscled physique conspire against him and he gases hard. He takes mount at one point but is too exhausted to do anything, an the two are stood up. With about a minute left, Ochiai hoists Frazier up in the air and drops him to the ground (The impact is mitigated by Frazier’s fence-holding). The rest of the fight would see Ochiai just wailing on his American opponent. If he had only managed to do that a little earlier, he could’ve gotten the stoppage. In the end, however, it went to decision and Frazier’s hand was raised.

Judging from this fight, it seems that Frazier’s record doesn’t do him justice. He had an impressive amount of talent and ability, but was hindered by a severe physical limitation. After pulling out of the tournament due to exhaustion he would go on to fight well into his forties, only scoring two more victories (To his credit, he at least won the title of some Z-level promotion). Ochiai would go on to rack up a string of three victories in Pride, but would tragically die in 2003 while training. In life, he looked like a chubby Weird Al Yankovic and was awesome.

Fight 4: Mike Bourke vs. Eric Kleper

Bourke’s primary mode of attack is charging forward face first with no clear idea of what to do after that. We’ll call this the Rhino Charge, being that his nickname is in fact “The Rhino.” Anyway, Bourke Rhino Charges Kleper into the fence, who responds by spazzing back with straight punches. Kleper attempts a flying guillotine, but Bourke pops out of it and goes ape-shit with ground-and-pound until Kleper taps out.
The two would meet again a few months later in Gladiator Challenge, both in substantially worse shape than in this tournament. Bourke KO’d him after four minutes of inaction.

Fight 5: Wade Shipp vs. Kauai Kupihea

I’m impressed Kupihea is even coming out after his tough fight in round one. Shipp comes out aggressive clonking him with some good strikes standing up. He’s sharper than Kupihea. Kupihea gets it to the ground at various points, but it’s still pretty close. Eventually, though, the larger Kupihea nails him with a barrage of grounded knees that open up a cut on Shipp’s head. From that point on, Kupihea mounts him and pounds him for the next several minutes. The ref really lets this go on for WAY too long. He even misses the towel thrown in at the six minute mark, so the timekeeper rings the bell prematurely to stop the fight.

Shipp would go on to have a respectable record of 10-5-0. He would even make it to UFC 47, but would lose to Jonathan Wiezorek. Wiezorek entered the fight with a broken back, but Shipp’s defeat is more of a testament to Wiezorek’s uncanny balls than Shipp’s ability. On the subject of broken backs… Well, we’ll get to that (Hint! Hint! Spinal injury coming up!)

Fight 6: Mike Bourke vs. Keith Richardson

This is easily the funniest fight of the night. Bourke looked like a frustrated father trying to give his son a whooping, but realizing that his boy has grown too big for him to kick his ass like he used to. After a Rhino Charge, Bourke attempted to throw Richardson to the ground using no semblance of technique, but this didn’t work because Richardson is 270 lbs. After a while, Bourke finally managed to hit a blast double, but gets caught in a sidemounted guillotine choke that makes him spit his mouthpiece out. Bourke eventually escapes but gets stood back up.

On their feet, Bourke clocks Richardson with a few wild right hands (The announcers say Bourke has a boxing trainer, which I doubt). Richardson immediately looks like he doesn’t want to be there, but Bourke refuses to follow it up either due to fatigue or lack of confidence. Most of the rest of the fight is spent in a clinch up against the fence, and would end with Bourke getting a very exhausted arm raised.

Fight 7: Mike Bourke vs. Kauai Kupihea

The climatic final fight advertised on the front cover of the DVD case! Bourke’s back gives out after getting taken down and he submits 40 seconds in. Kauai Kupihea is the tournament champion!

Bourke would eventually get into some real training, but his youth passed him by and he would still end up losing a lot of fights. He was once slated to fight Kimbo Slice, but was replace by Bo Cantrell (Who previously defeated him). Late in his career he lost to Tank Abbott but retired on a high note by beating Ken Shamrock. For his part, Kauai Kupihea would get knocked out by Eric Pele on the next card and would go on to have a 15-11-0 record. His most notable victory was against Travis Wiuff.

Summary: For an early 2000’s heavyweight tournament in a B-promotion, this is about as good as you can get. The stalling rules seemed to effectively increase action despite abating what would otherwise be called bullshit standups. My favorite fight of the night was Frazier vs. Ochiai, because it was a David vs. Goliath match and Ochiai’s near-comeback towards the end had me bonering. Over all, I’d give the show a 15 out of 10.

Reasons to watch:

– Ring girl’s ass

– Grounded knees


– Keith Richardson’s bulge

– Ludicrious ruleset made the fights pretty head punch-centric

Obscure MMA Facts

Here’s a list of every absurd, pointless, and downright retarded┬áMMA fact you’ve ever wanted to know:

– Art Jimmerson has fought four known MMA fighters/kickboxers in his career: Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Royce Gracie, William Knorr, and Arthur Williams. Out of the group, he only managed to defeat Knorr.

– Not counting Oleg Taktarov’s worked nine second guillotine choke victory over Anthony Macias at UFC 6, the record for the fastest UFC submission is tied between Joe Charles (Armbar over Kevin Rosier at UFC 4) and Justin Martin (Ankle lock over Eric Martin at UFC 12) at fourteen seconds.

– At least two future sexual offenders were involved with UFC 1: Pat Smith (Sexual assault on a child in 1999) and John Nimock (Listed as the “Wrestling Consultant” in the credits. Apparently was a high school wrestling coach who was arrested in 2000 after exposing children to pornography and wrestling with them in their underwear).

– Jonathan Wiezorek entered his UFC 47 bout against Wade Shipp with a broken back and won. Because he had refused to tell the promoters of his situation in order to prevent the fight from being scrapped, however, he ended up not being invited back to fight again because they thought his performance was awful.

– Marcus Marriott Lee was a Pagua stylist and 2-2-0 boxer who was once slated to fight in the main draw of UFC 6. Had he competed that night, he would’ve been the first fighter in UFC history to come out of the UK. While bouncing at a nightclub in 2005, he killed an unruly patron with a single punch and was jailed for three years after being convicted of manslaughter.

– Ring announcer Rich Goins was forced to part ways with the UFC after contracting scabies from Dan Severn following sexual intercourse.

– Although pure boxers Art Jimmerson, Melton Bowen, and Sam Adkins went down relatively quickly in their UFC forays, 13-3-0 Latvian cruiser/heavyweight Yuri Vaulin managed to last the full fifteen minute round against 6th degree BJJ blackbelt and Marco Ruas student Joe Moreira. In boxing, Vaulin was most famous for giving Tommy Morrison a tough fight before succumbing to the future WBO champion’s body blows. At UFC 14, Moereira rested in the mount position for the entire duration of the fight and initiated zero offense.

The Brazilian won the decision but was somehow diagnosed with a concussion before his tournament finale with Olympic gold medalist wrestler Kevin Jackson. It’s unclear if Moreira had lied about his injury to avoid the next fight, if he had entered the tournament with a concussion in the first place, or if Vaulin had used telekinesis to pop a vein inside the Brazilian’s head. Either way, the intriguing clash between a world-class wrestler and BJJ player was scrapped and Jackson fought Tony Fryklund instead.

– Joel Sutton, a Praying Mantis kung-fu fighter, earned a 2-0-0 UFC record after defeating Aikidoka Jack McLaughlin in UFC 6 and pro-wrestler/Dan Severn sparring partner Geza Kalman in UFC 7. He was perhaps the last big hope for the traditional martial arts community to win an event, but never ended up fighting in the main draw of a tournament. In his next four fights outside of the UFC, he lost every time in less than two minutes. He finished his career with a draw in 1999.

– Geza Kalman was a Canadian professional wrestler who had initially contacted Dan Severn to learn some shootfighting holds to incorporate into his performance style. After becoming his sparring partner, however, he ended up taking an offer to fight as a UFC tournament alternate and accumulated a 1-1-0 record in the promotion. His last professional MMA fight was in 2008.

– Pressure point stylist Ryan Parker was perhaps the first MMA fighter to actively participate in internet discussions regarding himself. Prior to his UFC 7 loss to Remco Pardoel, he spent months and months discussing the intricacies of his style and how he could use Chi to win a fight. The application video he sent to the UFC promoters featured him enduring strikes to his groin and throat without exhibiting pain, much like the Combat Kiai people we see nowadays. Against the Dutchman, he put up very little fight and was choked out easily.

– The Lions Den fighter who had initially sent in an application for UFC 1 was Ken Shamrock’s student Scott Bessac. He eventually got into the UFC two years later after accumulating a 3-4-0 record in Pancrase.

– Nail trimming became standard pre-fight before every UFC event after Trent Jenkins cut Jason DeLucia’s face with his toenail in UFC 1. That’s the grand contribution to the sport from modern MMA’s most mysterious pioneer. Last I heard he was working for the Denver Nuggets. Somebody, please track him down.

Interesting to note that, despite never having won an MMA match, he did dominate KOTC veteran Tyson Johnson to a draw in a cage-boxing match at the Bas Rutten Invitational.

– Heavyweight TUF 2 veteran Brad Imes scored two consecutive Gogoplata victories a month apart back in 2007. His victims were Kimbo sacrifice Bo Cantrell and TUF 10’s Jason Thacker, Zak Jensen.

– Zak Jensen killed a man with his bare hands prior to TUF 10 and ejaculated on the shower floor during the course of the show. Wes Sims stepped in his semen. This is a truthful entry.

– Roger Moore beat up Lee Marvin during the filming of Shout at the Devil.

– Jose Canseco was once slated to fight Rodney King in a Celebrity Boxing match. Before he died, King accumulated a 2-0-0 Celebrity Boxing record, one victory of which came against a disgraced ex-police officer.

I’m talking about the black dude who got beat up, by the way, not the Crazy Monkey guy.

– Royce Gracie’s UFC 1 victory dinner was some Ritz crackers and apple juice he got from a 7-11.

– Relson Gracie was accused of repeatedly exposing himself to Royce’s opponents before walk-ins in order to disrupt their mental games.

– Mike Bernardo was, of course, a K-1 legend who had died in 2012. Another prominent martial artist from the 90’s, however, shared his name and caused quite a bit of confusion back in the day. Stunt man Michael Bernardo starred in Shootfighter: Fight to the Death alongside Bolo Yeung and played Turbo in WMAC Masters. Because their respective careers both took off sometime around 1995, people sometimes expected to see Turbo Bernardo fighting in K-1.

– Andy Anderson and Paul Herrera actually got into a bar fight in Japan, which Anderson won. Herrera was one of Tank Abbott’s cronies, but Abbott let his friend take his lumps without retribution because he had started it.

– Harold Howard almost knocked himself out walking into a piece of lighting equipment prior to his fight with Steve Jennum.

– Steve Jennum was supposed to fight Ken Shamrock in the semi-finals of UFC 3, but Felix Lee Mitchell got put in instead when the promoters couldn’t find Jennum in the crowd. Jennum thought he had fucked up his only opportunity, but the lucky bastard hit the jackpot twice that night.

– Felix Lee Mitchell’s was advertised in the UFC 3 trailers as “America’s Toughest Prison Warden.” His favorite tactic was reaching into his opponent’s cup and banging on his testicles. He did that to Ken Shamrock and also appeared to try it against Judoka Robert Lalonde. All he managed to achieve with Lalonde, however, was exposing his buttocks and prompting catcalls from female members of the IFC audience. This is a truthful entry.

– Muhammad Ali was once seriously slated to fight Wilt Chamberlain.

– Jim Brown once expressed interest in fighting Ali, but was deterred after the champion privately schooled him in a light sparring match at a park.

– Douglas Dedge, the victim of MMA’s first fatality, seemed to base his entire fighting strategy around strangling his opponents with his handwraps. He tried doing that to Sean Brockmole in his lone amateur fight and Yevegeni Zolotarev in his fateful last match.

– Big John McCarthy never got fight in UFC 1 like he wanted, but he did school Art Jimmerson in an impromptu sparring match before the event.

– One of the earliest fights between a prominent boxer and mixed martial artist occurred in 1987. Former contender and Muhammad Ali opponent Alfredo Evangelista defeated future Pancrase pioneer and Bas Rutten cornerman Andre van den Oetelaar by TKO in five rounds.

– Before Butterbean and Roy Nelson were the “People’s Champions,” overweight former salesman Claude “Humphrey” McBride found success as a fighter in heavyweight boxing’s golden era. Garbed in polka-dot trunks and sporting a shaved head, McBride accumulated a 36-8-0 record in the 1970’s with victories over former contenders Terry Daniels and Henry Hank.

– The Dog Brothers petitioned the UFC in the 90’s to host stick fights, but were deemed to extreme for the organization.

– Rudy Eugene, the Miami Cannibal, was once knocked out in a street fight by former heavyweight boxing fringe contender and UFC 4 veteran Melton Bowen. Bowen once held the title of World Boxing Federation Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion, a belt later won by former WBC titleist Oliver McCall.

– In addition to having 300+ recorded fights in MMA, Travis Fulton has also fought in over 50 boxing matches and at least 10 kickboxing bouts.

– The Zuffa Myth is the commonly-referenced misconception that Dana White and the Fertitta brothers were responsible for drafting the modern Unified Rules and changing MMA from an unregulated bloodbath into a legitimate sport. In reality, the vast majority of the rules utilized in the UFC were implemented by the franchise’s original owners, SEG. The Unified Rules were implemented during SEG’s tenure. Chuck Liddell actually propagated the myth in his own biography, despite the fact that he should’ve known better due to having fought in the UFC before the promotion was sold.

Before the Zuffa Myth, interestingly, there was the SEG Myth. Semaphore Entertainment Group president Bob Meyrowitz was not the one who came up with the idea for the UFC, but he sure took the credit for it after the event became a groundbreaking PPV smash. Even while Art Davie, the UFC’s real co-founder, was still under his employment, he still insisted on having dreamt up the idea for a style vs. style cage tournament. Funnily enough, this myth was propagated by Ken Shamrock in his biography.

Articles Black Belt Magazine printed after the first UFC:





Celebrity boxing/MMA fights that almost happened:

Joey Buttafuoco vs. John Wayne Bobbitt

Jose Canseco vs. Rodney King

Wesley Snipes vs. Joe Rogan

Elvis vs. Jerry Lawler