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Remembering the first UFC UK

Jim Genia takes us down memory lane to the UFC’s first UK show: UFC 38 – Brawl at the Hall. The whole thing is worth reading, but my favorite parts are the story of Ian Freeman upsetting Frank Mir and of course the famous back alley brawl that occurred later that night:

As Ian “The Machine” Freeman made his way down the ramp to the cage, word circulated around press row that his father – stricken with illness and hospitalized during Freeman’s training camp – had passed away. This, coupled with the fact that his opponent had needed less than two minutes combined to defeat Brazilian black belt Roberto Traven and Lion’s Den warrior Pete Williams in his only two UFC appearances, made for some serious drama, drama that Freeman turned from Greek tragedy to Rocky story as he dodged every heelhook and leglock and beat on Mir mercilessly. After four and a half minutes the American could barely manage a stumble, and referee Big John McCarthy waved the bout off. Afterwards, the victorious Freeman was handed a microphone, and he dedicated the fight to his sick father, unaware the man had passed. The crowd went nuts. Those in on the awful secret were teary eyed.

And here’s some sketchy details on the brawl that happened after the UFC thought an open bar afterparty was a good idea:

And throughout the night, Tito Ortiz’s buddy Beau would tie up with Miletich, playfully horsing around like men with wrestling backgrounds sometimes do – something that Miletich teammate Tony Fryklund would mistake for an actual act of aggression. The lore surrounding the ensuing back alley brawl has Beau getting stomped, Ortiz charging Lee Murray and winding up KO’d, Liddell indiscriminately dropping people, bobbies with mace, and everyone fleeing, hopping in cabs back to the hotel in Knightsbridge. But the common denominator was the excess of alcohol. In the hotel lobby the next day, a worse-for-wear Ortiz admitted he had been “really, really drunk” – sentiments everyone one else shared.