Saturday, February 1, 2014

UFC Ultimate Ultimate 96: The First PPV Era Ends

Tank Abbott (Photo: knucklepit.com)

UFC Ultimate Ultimate 96 - Dec. 7, 1996 - Fair Park Arena - Birmingham, Ala.

“Ultimate” means “final,” so it’s only fitting that UFC Ultimate Ultimate 96 was the final show before political pressure knocked the UFC off many pay-per-view outlets.

Mark Coleman had won the previous two shows, UFC 10 and UFC 11, but he was unable to compete due to illness. Also, this show featured the final UFC fights for Ken Shamrock and Don Frye before they entered the world of pro wrestling.

The alternate fights were Mark Hall over Felix Mitchell by TKO, Tai Bowden over Jack Nilson by submission to headbutts, and Steve Nelmark over Mark "The Grasshopper" Bossett by submission to a choke.

Manny Garcia is our ring announcer,and John McCarthy is the referee. 

In the quarterfinals, Don Frye defeated Gary Goodridge in a rematch of their battle at UFC 8. Goodridge tapped out due to fatigue at 11:20.


Tank Abbott scored an impressive win over Cal Worsham, who tapped out to punches at 2:32. Ken Shamrock also won by submission, defeating Brian Johnston with a forearm choke at 5:48.

Quarterfinal 4: Kimo (Pankration) vs. Paul Varelans (Freestyle Fighting)

Kimo has lost 35 pounds, dropping to 235 while studying Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He is giving up more than 100 pounds to the "Polar Bear." Varelans was the runner-up at UFC 7. Announcer Bruce Beck says Varelans "manages and trains himself. He can't find anyone to work with."

Kimo immediately goes for a takedown, but Varelans rides on his back and pummels him with elbows. Varelans lands on top and pounds Kimo some more, cutting him near his left eye. Beck tells us Kimo recently beat Bam Bam Bigelow in Japan.

Kimo finally turns the exhausted Varelans over and pummels him to a TKO victory at 9:09. Amazing comeback!

It looked like the fans were in for a pair of great semifinal matchups, with Kimo vs. Frye and Abbott vs. Shamrock. Unfortunately, Shamrock (broken hand) and Kimo (fatigue) couldn’t continue.

Semifinal 1: Steve "The Sandman" Nelmark (Karate) vs. Tank Abbott (Streetfighting)

We see clips of Nelmark's alternate-fight win over the Grasshopper. He is 2-0 in UFC alternate fights and 7-0 as a pro kickboxer. Fans taunt Abbott with signs including: "Lose To Any Alternates Lately?"

Abbott lifts Nelmark and dumps him to the mat. Nelmark tries for a guillotine, but Tank whales away with windmill punches before blasting him with a huge right for the KO at 1:05. Nelmark crumples backward into an awkward position.

Beck interviews Scott Ferrozzo, who is upset that he's not in the tournament. "They want all these pretty boys in here." Tank Abbott is a pretty boy?

A couple of ladies have a sign that says, "Women in UFC." They would have to wait an entire generation to get their wish.

Semifinal 2: Mark Hall (Moo Yea Do) vs. Don Frye (Wrestling)

Hall has already lost to Frye twice in 1996, in Japan and at UFC 10 in a fight that lasted over 10 minutes. This time, Frye only needed 20 seconds to put away Hall with an Achilles lock.

Beck invites us to join the Ultimate Fighting Alliance and become a UFC fighter.

Dan "The Beast" Severn talks with Blatnick about his early wrestling career, and said he is still fueled by the fact that he narrowly missed the Olympics in 1984 and 1988.

Final Fight: Don Frye (Wrestling) vs. Tank Abbott (Pit Fighter)

Abbott bloodies Frye with some great lefts, but he slips and falls to the mat. Frye capitalizes, sinking in the rear naked choke for the win at 1:22. Frye improves to 9-1 in the Octagon.

Frye picked up $150,000 and the right to face Dan Severn to become the first UFC heavyweight champion. He declined, and Mark Coleman ended up fighting Severn for the title.

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