MMA Review: #69: UFC 9: Motor City Madness Dec14

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MMA Review: #69: UFC 9: Motor City Madness

UFC 9: Motor City Madness

05/17/96

Detroit, Michigan

-We get a video package introduction, plugging the Superfight between Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn, and the fights between Don Frye and Amaury Bitetti, Mark Hall and Koji Kitao, and Gary Goodridge and Dave Beneteau.

-Your hosts are Bruce Beck, Jeff Blatnick, and Don Wilson. We get some quick interview segments, with Blatnick talking to Severn and Wilson talking to Shamrock, and it’s quite notable that this is the most hyped fight in UFC history thus far. Knowing what happens, that’s pretty sad. Beck then explains that the card’s been hit by injuries, and BJJ champion Amaury Bitetti is replacing Marco Ruas in the fight with Don Frye, while Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz is replacing the injured Dave Beneteau against Gary Goodridge. Beck then runs down the rest of the card before we get ANOTHER Shamrock/Severn package.

Cal Worsham vs Zane Frazier

Crowd are MAD loud here. This was Frazier’s first fight back in UFC after his unsuccessful appearance at the inaugural tournament.

They circle off to begin, feeling each other out, before Frazier rushes in with an attempted kick. Worsham gets the takedown to Frazier’s half-guard, landing some headbutts. He works some left hands, and more headbutts, as Frazier looks lost on his back. Worsham works him over with some short elbows, and Frazier taps out there.

Pretty bad opener, especially when you consider some of the skill that was being shown in other fights at this time. Frazier didn’t seem to have improved since UFC 1, and Worsham didn’t exactly set the world alight either.

Rafael Carino vs Matt Anderson

We get a video package on the history of Brazilian fighters in the UFC before this one, as Carino is the latest guy to be carrying the torch. He’s actually HUGE, 6’8’ and 245lbs, and he’s trained by Andre Pederneiras and John Lewis (the same guys that trained BJ Penn and Vitor ‘Shaolin’ Ribeiro) so I’m thinking he’s going to be pretty good. A look at his record shows that he faded out of MMA shortly after this though, but he did make a return earlier this year in Cage Rage. Anderson is from the same fighting school that produced Steve Jennum and the legendary Scott Morris. He’s in BIG trouble.

Carino presses the action to open, and gets a quick takedown to side mount. Anderson works to get a full guard back, as Carino works now to pass. He gets into side mount, but Anderson manages to get guard again, and tries to elevate Carino off, but the Brazilian’s having none of it and passes into full mount. Carino lands a flurry, as Anderson desperately tries to tie him up, but fails miserably and Carino opens up with another flurry. Carino lands some more shots, busting Anderson’s face up, and McCarthy stops it there.

Seemed to be an easy win for Carino once he got it to the mat, and though Anderson wasn’t as unskilled as I was expecting, Carino still owned him once he got into the full mount.

Mark Schultz vs Gary Goodridge

Goodridge gets a HUGE pop upon arrival, and he’s wearing his gi again. The crowd obviously saw UFC 8, then. Schultz is one of the most decorated wrestlers in UFC history, with three NCAA titles, two world titles, and an Olympic gold medal to his name, but he’s taking this fight on less than 24 hours notice, so the announcers think he might be in trouble.

They press to open, and Schultz quickly shoots in and gets a short slam down to half-guard. Goodridge controls him from the bottom with a headlock, but Schultz works his way out, and lands some shots to the body, before working into side mount. Schultz grinds him with some short shots, bloodying up his ear, but the action REALLY slows down and McCarthy stands them back up. Schultz quickly gets another takedown to guard, and Goodridge ties him up from the bottom again. Schultz smothers his face, and lands some more short blows, but nothing damaging as the action slows up badly again. McCarthy stands them back up again to check Goodridge’s face, as he’s cut over the eye now too. They restart, with Schultz shooting in again and getting another slam to side mount, but Goodridge manages to get half-guard and ties him up again. Schultz lands some short blows, then appears to rub Goodridge’s cut with the top of his head, ugh. Schultz mounts him and lands a flurry of blows as the time runs out, but before the overtime period they stop the fight due to Goodridge’s cuts.

On one hand you’ve got to give Schultz credit, I guess, as he took the fight on mad short notice against an extremely dangerous opponent, and you can hardly blame the guy for using his greatest skill (wrestling) to simply control the fight and nullify Goodridge’s strengths. But, it made for a horribly boring fight – some of the worst lay-and-pray I can remember – and his tactics, rubbing Goodridge’s cuts with his forehead, were pretty obnoxious. Bad fight to watch.

-Between fights we get a plug for the UFC Instructional Videotapes, presented by Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, Oleg Taktarov, and Keith Hackney. Wonder if there’s a section on groin shots, then?

Mark Hall vs Koji Kitao

This is a classic old-school UFC mismatch, as Hall is 6’0’ and 190lbs, while former Yokozuna Kitao is 6’7’, 390lbs.

Hall unsurprisingly looks to strike and move from the outset, but Kitao comes in and manages to shove him to the fence. Kitao gets a slam down to half-guard, looking likely to literally squash Hall, but McCarthy stops the fight there, confusing the announcers. When they come up, we see that Kitao’s nose has been badly broken, and they put an end to the fight there. Bit of a letdown I guess.

Post-fight Hall says that he broke Kitao’s nose with a right hand as Kitao came forward, and then he proposes to his girlfriend! I’m guessing he’s the only guy in UFC history to do so on a live show. Replays show that Hall did indeed land a right hand to the face as Kitao came in to shove him to the fence.

-We see some clips from Ken Shamrock’s UFC debut, as he finishes off Patrick Smith with a heel hook.

Don Frye vs Amaury Bitetti

As I mentioned earlier, this was originally supposed to see UFC 8 champ Don Frye taking on UFC 7 champ Marco Ruas, but Ruas was forced out by injury, so BJJ champion Bitetti, a Carlson Gracie student stepped in and took the fight. Announcers hype Bitetti as the most aggressive Jiu-Jitsu guy they will have seen in UFC thus far.

Bitetti indeed comes in aggressively, and eats some punches as he looks for a takedown, securing double underhooks. Frye blocks the takedown well as Bitetti tries to force him down, attempting a trip, but Frye continues to block. They break off, and Frye rocks him with a combination of punches, so Bitetti shoots in, but Frye sprawls and lands some elbows to the body. Into Bitetti’s guard and Frye looks for a keylock, but Bitetti blocks it, so they come up into a front facelock, and exchange in the clinch, where Frye rocks him with some heavy leather. Frye lands another combo, then a FLURRY OF HARD KNEES as Bitetti looks in deep trouble now. Frye lands a big left and Bitetti’s bloody now, as he tries the takedown again, but ends up in a front facelock. Frye pounds away down into Bitetti’s half-guard, and lands some heavy elbows, even as Bitetti secures full guard. The official stands them to check Bitetti’s bloody face, and they restart with Frye blocking a takedown, getting on top and landing elbows as Bitetti tries a leglock unsuccessfully. Into half-guard, and Frye lands some BRUTAL elbows, before using a keylock attempt to distract him, landing more elbows as he does so. The official stands them up and they check Bitetti’s cuts once more, then restart. Bitetti shoots in, but Frye sprawls and RAINS DOWN THE KNEES TO THE HEAD!~! Back up into the clinch, and Frye pulls him back to a front facelock, elbows the spine, and knees the head, and then continues to pound away and McCarthy finally stops things there.

Wow, fucking DOPE fight there. Bitetti showed a ton of heart and courage, but Frye was THE MAN at this point and just brutalized him in horrendous fashion. Frye was so good that at this point, I think he could’ve more than held his own in today’s LHW division. Just a seriously awesome fighter and I’d say he’s my favourite of the old-school guys at this point. Best fight of the first ten UFCs, I’d call this.

-We get quick video packages on Shamrock and Severn again, and LORD, they’re really hyping this as the biggest fight in UFC history.

Superfight

Ken Shamrock vs Dan Severn

Michigan native Severn gets a MONSTER pop for his entrance, while Shamrock gets a solid mixed reaction. Both guys are wearing shoes here, meaning no kicking. Crowd are off the hook for the entrances.

They begin, and Severn circles around Shamrock, who takes the center of the Octagon. Neither man throws a single strike to open, as Severn continues to circle, and this goes on for FIVE MINUTES, as the crowd begin to get restless, starting a ‘BULLSHIT!’ chant. They throw a few slaps at one another, but the lack of action continues as Severn continues to dance around Ken, who seems content to pivot around in the center. Finally McCarthy breaks them up and gives both guys a stern talking to, rightfully so. They restart and the circling continues, and finally Ken lands a half-decent one-two that the announcers laugh about being the first punch of the night. Ken lands another couple of combos, but then Severn just continues to circle and the crowd start a loud ‘BORING!’ chant now. Severn finally tries a takedown, but Ken sprawls and avoids an ankle pick, manoeuvring back to his feet, where Severn continues to circle around doing nothing. This is BEYOND AWFUL. Severn shoots in again, but this time Shamrock blocks the takedown, and as Severn tries to manoeuvre out, Ken reverses and takes a full mount! Severn ties him up from the bottom as Ken lands a couple of elbows to the head. Things slow down again from that position now, as Severn simply holds on, attempting to escape, as Ken works the body. Severn tries to escape, and ends up giving his back, but as Ken tries to get his hooks in, Severn reverses over to Ken’s guard and lands some short elbows. Severn throws another heavy flurry, bloodying Ken up pretty badly in the face, but as he continues to land, the regulation time ends.

Ugh, so into the first three minutes of overtime. Crowd are less than impressed with this. They get underway, and the awful circling continues for the WHOLE THREE MINUTES, with not one single strike thrown. Good lord, I thought these guys were supposed to be fighting?

Into the SECOND period of overtime now. This is very, very close to Ken/Royce levels of bad. They just circle around doing nothing for the final three minutes, and finally Ken shoots in for a takedown, but Severn blocks into the clinch, muscling him down to the mat to end.

At least this can’t be ruled a draw. We’re going to the judges, and the winner by Split Decision…Dan Severn. I’m guessing he got the win due to the short period of ground-and-pound that bloodied Ken up, but really in a fight like this, there’s no winner. When I first got into MMA I was told by guys who’d seen the old shows to avoid Royce/Ken II, and this fight, like the plague, and they were definitely right. I’m not sure which is actually worse – I’d have to rewatch Royce/Ken to decide, and I’m not about to do that – but they’re 1-2 in terms of the worst fights you’ll ever see, and the only reason I’d recommend watching either would be as a cure for insomnia. Considering the level of hype, this was absolutely horrific.

-We end with a highlight reel of the night’s ‘action’. Yeah.

Final Thoughts…

Well, I guess Don Frye’s fight is dope. Outside of that though, this show is easily the worst that the UFC had put on up until this point. Worsham/Frazier and Carino/Anderson aren’t too bad I guess, but they’re nothing special, Hall/Kitao is a nothing fight, and Schultz/Goodridge is one of the earliest forms of lay-and-pray that you’ll find. What more can I say about the atrocious Superfight? Neither man came in to fight, and it made for possibly the worst fight in UFC history, something that nobody anticipated, given the shocking amount of hype they put into it. In general, UFC 9 is a major failure of a show, and even though I’d rank Frye/Bitetti as possibly the best fight of the first ten shows, it’s not worth sitting through garbage like Schultz/Goodridge to watch. High recommendation to avoid.

Coming Soon…

Pride: 25, 26, 27, 28 and Bushido 9.

UFC: 10, 55 and 56.

Cage Rage: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14.

WFA: 1, 2 and 3.

King of the Cage: 18, 23, 30 and 32.

WEC 9: Cold Blooded: featuring Joe Riggs vs. Alex Stiebling, and Chris Leben vs. Mike Swick.

Best of Shooto 2003 vols. 1 & 2, featuring Takanori Gomi vs. Joachim Hansen, and Joachim Hansen vs. Vitor Ribeiro.

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

OratoryNewman@gmail.com