That's a fascinating period behind the scenes as well as UFC was getting kicked off every cable outlet known to man because of the brutality of the sport, Congress was seeking to get them banned in every state that had an athletic commission, and there was even one event that had to be moved in the dead of night on the eve of the event to a different location. There's a book available on Amazon (and probably in some used bookstores) called "No Holds Barred" written by Clyde Gentry that is a fantastic read for anyone interested in how the UFC and MMA developed and came to be.
Anyway, since there's a pro wrestling tie-in with Brock Lesnar competing on UFC 200, here are six old UFC tapes from the early days of the UFC. Some of these I'll have a lot to say about, some I won't but regardless, it'll be a fun trip back in time.
UFC 11: The Proving Ground (1996)
This event is notorious for having the worst ending ever in the history of UFC, even worse than UFC 33. As was the norm for early UFC shows, this was presented in a tournament format with eight fighters of different disciplines. The tournament was stacked with fighters such as Mark Coleman, Tank Abbott, and Jerry Bohlander. Due to a large number of injuries, and the fact that the two tournament alternates, Scott Ferrozo and Roberto Traven, were also injured, the tournament ended by default when no one was available to fight Mark Coleman in the final.
UFC 14: Showdown (1997)
This was the first official UFC tape I ever owned and I got it from the local flea market back when VHS was still a thing and readily available. Before getting this tape, my only exposure to UFC were two compilation tapes of the seven of the first eight UFC events I'd dubbed from a friend of mine. For the record, I still have those tapes too and they still play even though the quality isn't that great. This event featured two mini tournaments as the UFC had recently introduced weight classes, so there was a four-man middleweight tournament featuring people I've never heard of and a heavyweight tournament featuring the likes of Mark Kerr, Brian Johnston, and others. The main event was a superfight between Mark Coleman and Maurice Smith which was pretty good match if I remember correctly.
UFC 17: Redemption (1998)
Looking back now, this was a pretty historic show. This was the last event to feature a tournament format that the UFC had relied on for years, it featured the UFC debuts of future stars Carlos Newton, Dan Henderson, and Chuck Liddell, and was the first event promoted under the title of "mixed martial arts". It's been a long time since I've seen this show in full but I think I'll have to pop this tape in and check it out as soon as I get my VCR dug out.
UFC 20: The Battle for the Gold (1999)
This particular event was based around the main event of Bas Rutten vs. Kevin Randleman for the UFC Heavyweight Title that was forfeited by Randy Couture. Rutten and Randleman were the survivors of a multi-event tournament and met here to crown a new champion, that ended up in a controversial decision. Rutten soon forfeited the title himself to drop down a weight class, which pretty much ended up making the match pointless. A few other notable fighters on this card were Pedro Rizzo, Pete Williams, and Wanderlei Silva. I'm not horribly familiar with this time period in UFC and really need to dig into this era some more.
Ultimate Ultimate 1995
After UFC 7, there was this bright idea to bring in tournament winners from the past and match them up with some of the other top fighters to crown the best of the best, so to speak. This was also promoted as a two-year anniversary show at the very arena UFC launched at, the Mammoth Gardens, in Denver. The concept was pretty cool but I don't remember a single thing from this show.
UFC Ultimate Brazil (1998)
The famous moment from this show that is replayed every time Vitor Belfort steps in the cage in were he just charges Wanderlei Silva with lighting fast punches as soon as the fight starts and destroying him in about 45 seconds. I'm not sure where I got this tape from but apparently it cost $9.95 from wherever it was. There was also a Tank Abbott vs. Pedro Rizzo fight and two title bouts. Looking through the card, this sounds like a fun show. I'll add this to my queue to watch. I hope the tape still works.
Enjoy the fights tonight if you're into the UFC. It should be a wild show.