Barring any last-minute changes, the opening fight of the main card at UFC 147 on Saturday between Yuri Alcantara and Hacran Dias will carry a little more significance than normal.
It will mark the 2,000th fight in UFC history. The first came on Nov. 12, 1993, at McNichols Arena in Denver, when Gerard Gordeau opened UFC 1 by stopping Teila Tuli in just 26 seconds. Gordeau kicked Tuli in the face and reportedly knocked out three of his teeth.
Zuffa, which currently owns the company, took control of the UFC from Semaphore Entertainment Group in January 2001 and has promoted all of its shows since. In the pre-Zuffa days, the UFC had to move to states without athletic commissions in order to hold its events. It was banned from cable for a period of time and was infamously referred to as “human cockfighting” by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
UFC president Dana White was amazed by the achievement.
“This company runs so fast, most of the time we don’t even stop to think about these milestones.” White said. “But 2000 UFC fights is a pretty crazy number when you remember the UFC was supposed to be a one-and-done event.
“This weekend, we’ve got two huge shows in two different countries. On Friday, we’re in Atlantic City with a great FX card headlined by a five rounder between Gray Maynard and Clay Guida, and then the next day we’re in Brazil with a pay-per-view headlined by Wanderlei Silva versus Rich Franklin. The UFC has come a long way since fight No.1.”
Alcantara and Dias will share a piece of history if there are no cancellations either on Friday or on Saturday’s preliminary card. They are supposed to open the pay-per-view broadcast Saturday and if all goes according plan, they’ll be in the 2,000th fight and the answer to a trivia question.
One of the great things about mixed martial arts, though, is that things don’t always go as planned. The 2,000th bout will be held on Saturday and it will likely be between Alcantara and Dias, but stay tuned.