Story By: Tracey Russell
November 07, 2003
ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP TO INDUCT GRACIE, SHAMROCK AS FIRST MEMBERS OF NEW UFC HALL OF FAME, NOV. 21
Both Legendary Fighters To Receive Special Recognition During Live Pay-Per-View Telecast of UFC 45: Revolution 10th Anniversary Show From Mohegan Sun Arena
Top 10 Most Popular Fighters As Voted By Fans To Win Viewer’s Choice Awards; Legends To Sign Autographs For Fans, 3 p.m. To 6 p.m., Prior To Fight Show
LAS VEGAS, November 5, 2003….The two legendary mixed martial arts fighters most closely associated with the popular history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock, will become the charter members of the new UFC Hall of Fame on Friday, November 21, in special ceremonies that will be telecast LIVE on pay-per-view during the international telecast of UFC 45: Revolution from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Ct. The induction ceremony and the creation of the Hall of Fame will be part of the celebration of the UFC’s 10th anniversary.
Anniversary ceremonies also will include the recognition of the 10 most popular UFC fighters in its history as voted by fans. They will be the first winners of UFC Viewer’s Choice Awards. A special Legends autograph session will be open to the public from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, Nov. 21, in the entry foyer to Mohegan Sun Arena so fans can participate in UFC history.
UFC President Dana White announced today that after Gracie and Shamrock establish the Hall of Fame, one UFC fighter will be inducted each year at its final fight event.
“There are certainly many current and former UFC athletes who deserve and will receive this recognition. But, we feel that no two individuals are more deserving than Royce and Ken to be the charter members. Their contributions to our sport, both inside and outside the Octagon, may never be equaled,” White said.
White said that a physical location for the UFC Hall of Fame is being determined “but in the hearts and minds of our loyal fans, it already exists as far as Royce and Ken are concerned.”
Both Gracie and Shamrock have played major roles in the growth of the UFC since the beginning
Gracie, a member of the legendary Gracie family of martial arts in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, introduced Brazilian jiu jitsu to the UFC and was its first champion defeating Gerard Gordeau at UFC 1: The Beginning, November 12, 1993, at McNichols Arena in Denver, Colo., by tap out with a rear naked choke.
UFC 2: No Way Out, March 11, 1994, at Mammoth Gardens in Denver, with a tap out victory by punches over Patrick Smith. Injured at UFC 3: The American Dream, September 9, 1994, in Charlotte, N.C., and unable to continue, Gracie returned to UFC 4: Revenge of the Warriors, December 16, 1994, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to re-capture the championship with a tap out victory over Dan Severn by triangle choke. But perhaps his most memorable fight was his last at UFC 5: Return of the Beast, April 7, 1995, at Independence Arena in Charlotte, N.C., when he met Shamrock in a super fight. They fought to a 36-minute draw, still the longest match in UFC history. Fans have called for a re-match between the two legends ever since.
“I would like to thank Dana White and the UFC for honoring me and recognizing my accomplishments. The UFC has grown into an international mixed martial arts giant and I am honored to be part of it,” Gracie said.
Shamrock’s UFC career is just as storied. He also fought in UFC 1: The Beginning and won his first match by defeating Smith by tap out with a heel hook before he ran into Gracie in the semifinals. Following the historic draw with Gracie, Shamrock became the first super fight champion at UFC 6: Clash of the Titans, July 14, 1995, at the Casper Events Center in Casper, Wyo., when he defeated Severn by tap out with a guillotine choke. He kept the super fight title at UFC 7: The Brawl In Buffalo, September 8, 1995, at Memorial Auditorium, in a 33-minute draw with Oleg Taktarov that furthered the Shamrock legend. He defeated Kimo Leopoldo in the next super fight at UFC 8: David Vs. Goliath, February 16, 1996, at the Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico, by knee bar tap out.
Shamrock defeated Brian Johnston by tap out with a forearm choke at Ultimate Ultimate 1996 on December 7 at the State Fair Arena in Birmingham, Ala. He then pursued a pro wrestling career but continued to train mixed martial arts fighters at his famous Lion’s Den in Chula Vista, Calif. That led to his return to the UFC on November 22, 2002, at UFC 40: Vendetta, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where he fought then light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz in the most publicized fight in mixed martial arts history.
“Until now, I felt I had a satisfying career in the UFC. But, being one of the first to be inducted in the Hall of Fame brings it altogether. I will never forget you and now I will not be forgotten. God bless,” Shamrock said.
The 10 most popular fighters, as selected by a vote of fans on the UFC website, www.ufc.tv, include Gracie and Shamrock along with current Light Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture, Tank Abbott, Don Frye, Mark Coleman, Severn, Marco Ruas, Pat Miletich and Taktarov. They will be introduced in the Octagon and be first-time recipients of Viewer’s Choice Awards before Gracie and Shamrock are inducted into the Hall of Fame. Fans can receive a commemorative set of 10 casino chips with a likeness of each fighter by mailing a copy of their cable bill showing the purchase of UFC 45: Revolution to Top UFC Fighters Casino Chips, P.O. Box 5661, Rockville Centre, N.Y. 11571-5661.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship, headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., is the world’s premier mixed martial arts sports association. Owned and operated by Zuffa, LLC, the UFC programs six live pay-per-view events annually through cable and satellite providers. In addition to its North American pay-per-view distribution on iNDemand, DirecTV, Dish Network, Bell ExpressVu and Viewers Choice Canada, UFC events are distributed internationally through WOWOW, Inc. in Japan, Globosat in Brazil, Main Event Television in Australia and Sky Network Television in New Zealand. Zuffa, LLC licenses its UFC video games for distribution on all major playing platforms through Crave Entertainment and TDK Mediactive and distribution of its fight show DVDs through Studioworks Entertainment, a Ventura Distribution company.