UFC 40: Vendetta – Las Vegas, Nev. – MGM Grand Arena – Nov. 22, 2002
Ken Shamrock battled Tito Ortiz in a main event that drew 13,265 fans, plus 100,000 pay-per-view buys at UFC 40.
After collecting $1.5 million at the box office, UFC’s owners started to see a return on the investment they made almost two years earlier.
Shamrock increased his star power by appearing for the World Wrestling Federation during its super-hot “Attitude Era.” He stepped back into the Octagon for the first time since 1996 and cashed in on a war of words with Ortiz.
Referee Big John McCarthy told MMA Sentinel that UFC 40 proved that the sport of mixed martial arts would survive.
“I remember standing there before the Ortiz/Shamrock fight and looking around,” he said. “The energy of that fight, it was phenomenal, and it was the first time I honestly said, it’s going to make it.”
Ortiz retained the UFC light heavyweight title when Shamrock’s corner stopped the fight after Round 3.
“Tito Ortiz is a true champion,” Shamrock said. “He beat me fair and square, and he’s the man.”
Chuck Liddell made a strong case for a shot at Ortiz. He used a head kick and a series of punches to beat Renato “Babalu” Sobral by TKO at the 2:55 mark.
Matt Hughes retained the welterweight title with a win over Gil Castillo. The doctor stopped the fight after one round.
Carlos Newton used a kimura to force Pete Spratt to tap out in 1:45. Robbie Lawler opened the PPV by scoring a TKO over Tiki Ghosn in 89 seconds.
On the preliminary card, Andrei Arlovski needed only 85 seconds to beat Ian “The Machine” Freeman by TKO.
Vladimir “The Janitor” Matyushenko returned to the UFC by defeating Travis Wuiff by submission to punches at 4:10.
Phillip Miller picked up his first UFC win, defeating Mark Weir with a rear naked choke in Round 2.