On November 12, 1993, Denver’s McNichols Sports Arena hosted the inaugural UFC card. Promoted as a “no-holds barred” fight to determine the most effective style of fighting from savate to sumo, UFC 1 featured a tournament bracket. In reality, the motley crew of fighters featured more experience in toughman competitions than true vale tudo, the Brazilian term for “anything goes,” but the field did contain two grappling specialists and future legends of the sport in Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock.
NFL legend Jim Brown and champion kickboxer Bill “Superfoot” Wallace called the action as Gracie tore through the ranks, easily submitting pro boxer Art Jimmerson, Shamrock and finally Gerard Gordeau in the final match. The Big Mac, as the arena was known, is now a parking lot around Mile High Stadium, but the legend of that night lives on.