Maurice Smith vs. Mark Coleman
UFC 14: Showdown – July 27, 1997 – Boutwell Auditorium – Birmingham, Ala.
Maurice Smith challenged Mark Coleman for the UFC title in a classic “striker vs. grappler” main event.
Despite the political forces that took UFC off of many pay-per-view carriers, the show drew a sellout crowd of 4,800 fans.
UFC renamed the under-200 pound weight division from light heavyweight to middleweight. Also, new rules included mandatory gloves and no kicking on the ground.
Before the pay-per-view, Alex Hunter beat Sam Fulton by TKO at 2:30 in the heavyweight alternate fight.
Bruce Beck and Jeff Blatnick are our commentators, with Joe Rogan handling the interviews. Bruce Buffer is our ring announcer. Here we go!
1 - Middleweight tournament semifinal: Yuri “The Mauler” Vaulin (Boxing) vs. Joe “The Gorilla” Moreira (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu)
Vaulin is from “the hardscrabble streets of Rega, Latvia.” Remind me not to walk around town there at night. Blatnick said Vaulin has no ground skill but has been in 273 fights in the last 17 years. Moreira lost to Paul Varelans at UFC 8.
Moreira takes Vaulin to the mat and throws some elbows. The crowd is booing despite the fact that both men are working. Vaulin can’t land the big punch and time expires.
In overtime, Vaulin hits a punch, but Moreira takes him down again. More boos. Tough crowd! Time runs out again, and the judges award the decision to Moreira.
2 – Middleweight tournament semifinal : Todd Butler (Karate) vs. Kevin Jackson (Wrestling)
Both men beat the weight limit by checking in at 199 pounds. Jackson is an Olympic gold medalist. He takes Butler down at 1:00, takes his back and wallops him in the head. Jackson gets the tapout to strikes at 1:28.
Here’s a video on kickboxing champion Maurice Smith, who has more than 50 wins. He is also the current Extreme Fighting heavyweight champ. Despite these credentials, Smith is a heavy underdog against Coleman.
We also get some hype for Vitor Belfort’s return to the Octagon at UFC 15 in October.
3 – Heavyweight tournament semifinal: Mark Kerr (Wrestling) vs. Moti Horenstein (Karate)
Kerr was a NCAA Division I wrestling champion at Syracuse University. Horenstein is from Israel, and he lost to Coleman at UFC 10.
Kerr hits a double-leg takedown and gains side control. Kerr lands some knees and lot of punches, so the ref stops the fight at 2:22.
Rogan tells us that Moreira can’t continue, so Fryklund will step into the middleweight tournament.
4 – Dan “The Bull” Bobish (Wrestling) vs. Brian Johnston (Freestyle Fighting)
Bobish is a 310-pounder from Cleveland, and he is a Division III national wrestling champion. Johnston is 2-3, but his losses were to Don Frye, Mark Coleman and Ken Shamrock.
Great brawling by both men, and the crowd loves it! Bobish takes Johnston down and mauls him against the cage. Bobish uses a forearm choke to get the tap out at 2:11.
Now it’s time for a Mark Coleman highlight video. We see him beat Frye at UFC 10, Johnston at UFC 11 and Dan Severn at UFC 12.
Rogan tells us that Moreira is disappointed that doctors won’t let him fight due to a concussion.
Before Fryklund appears in the middleweight final, we get to see his alternate fight.
5 – Middleweight alternate bout: Donnie Chappell (Kickboxing) vs. Anthony Fryklund (Jiu-Jitsu)
Chappell is the hometown boy, as he was the Alabama jr heavyweight kickboxing champ. Fryklund is a karate black belt from Boston. Fryklund gets the tapout win with a choke at 1:31.
Here’s a video on the top-ranked middleweights in the UFC: Guy Mezger, who won the UFC 13 tournament; Jerry Bohlander; Mark Schultz, who retired to concentrate on wrestling; Enson Inoue; and Yoshihiki Takahashi, a Pancrase competitor who will compete in the UFC “when his schedule permits,” according to Beck.
6 – Middleweight tournament final: Anthony Fryklund (Jiu-Jitsu) vs. Kevin Jackson (Wrestling)
Before the fight, Jackson says wrestlers have more stamina, and that other fighters submit because they’re tired . Jackson takes Fryklund down, takes his back, lands some punches and wins the fight with a rear naked choke in 45 seconds.
UFC co-founder Art Davie gives a gold medal to Jackson, who says he wants to fight the best.
Another hype video focuses on wrestlers who have excelled in the UFC: Severn, Coleman, Frye and Randy Couture.
7 – Heavyweight tournament final - Mark Kerr (Wrestling) vs. Dan Bobish (Wrestling)
Kerr trained with Coleman for this show. Buffer introduces some guy from Kazakhstan and says UFC hopes to visit there someday (not yet).
Kerr hits some leg kicks, takes down Bobish. Kerr buries his chin in Bobish’s eye to force the tap out at 1:38.
Kerr flexes gleefully and gets his medal and kudos from Davie and UFC co-founder Bob Meyrowitz.
Beck and Blatnick thank the cable systems that have stuck with UFC. They ask fans to watch UFC on satellite or at a friend’s house.
Here's yet another video. This one highlights the top heavyweights in UFC: Coleman, Smith, Frye, Belfort, Severn and "The King of the Streets" Marco Ruas.
8 - Main event superfight for the UFC heavyweight title – Maurice Smith (Kickboxing) vs. champion Mark Coleman (Wrestling)
Smith is 48-5-2 in kickboxing and has never lost a title fight. He says Coleman punches like a girl. Beck says Coleman took those comments personally.
Coleman tests Smith’s theory with a takedown, headbutts and punches as the crowd chants his name. Smith pulls guard and lands some elbows from the bottom. Smith finally escapes Coleman at 9:09 and kicks Coleman while he’s on all fours. FOUL!
Coleman is tiring and the fans are chanting for Smith. Coleman tries a head-and-arm choke, but Smith slips out and lands a couple of strikes. Time expires, so we go to overtime.
Sucking wind and looking at the clock, Coleman is in trouble. He eats a combination from Smith. Three minutes are up, and we go to double overtime.
Smith hits some leg kicks, and Coleman’s lights are dimming. Time is up, and the judges award the unanimous decision to the NEW UFC champion, Maurice Smith!
Sherdog.com ranked Smith’s win among the 10 Most Memorable Championship Shockers in MMA history.
“The era of takedown-centered MMA swung irrevocably toward the sprawl-and-brawl style later popularized by Chuck Liddell and other well-rounded stylists,” Jason Probst wrote.
The champ signs off by telling his students to be in class on Monday.
“I’ll be late!”