UFC 9: What happened in the return match between Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn?

Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn circle each other in the UFC 9 headliner
Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn circle each other in the UFC 9 headliner
Paul Benson

UFC 9 is a legendary event for all the wrong reasons. The main event "Superfight" pitting champion, Ken Shamrock versus UFC 5 and Ultimate Ultimate 1995 tournament winner was a disaster of an attraction.

The focal reason for this was the increasingly difficult political firestorm surrounding the company, spearheaded by Senator John McCain.

The show nearly didn't go ahead at all. Taking place in Detroit, UFC officials spent most of the day in court, only agreeing on terms that allowed the event to take place as planned a couple of hours before show time.

The upshot of all this being that closed fist strikes and headbutts were outlawed, which curiously was never mentioned during the broadcast but was obvious to see and hear when referee John McCarthy repeatedly yelling at the fighters to open their hands.

The fighters were warned prior to the show that if they utilised closed fist strikes they could be arrested. The sudden rule change deeply affected Shamrock who was worried that an arrest would be a terrible example to the children in his father's foster home.

Adding to Shamrock's woes were a torn meniscus, ACL, broken nose and cracked ribs. These injuries combined with the rule changes led to the "World's Most Dangerous Man" informing officials he wished to withdraw from the event.

Panicked at losing their biggest drawing card hours before showtime, UFC officials begged Shamrock to go through with the fight. Shamrock, eventually, reluctantly agreed but later stated it was the biggest regret of his fighting career.

Shamrock's clash with Severn has retroactively been monikered the "Dance in Detroit" due to the fighter's lack of engagement across the fight's 30-minute timeframe.

Severn ultimately won the bout and title by a close split decision.

Don Frye: Stole the show at UFC 9
Don Frye: Stole the show at UFC 9

UFC 9 was also the first UFC event to abandon the tournament format. Instead, there were a succession of singles bouts.

Zane Frazier, who competed at UFC 1 faced Cal Worsham, who appeared at UFC 6. Both men lost their previous fights and showed nothing that suggested either man could make a career in MMA. Worsham won a boring fight via TKO, raining down punches on Frazier.

Debutants Rafael Carino and Matt Andersen contested another dull encounter which never exploded into life until the finish which saw Carino finish Andersen with punches in the mount.

UFC 8 finalist, Gary Goodridge returned to face Mark Schultz. Incredibly Schultz, who was far smaller than the mammoth Goodridge earned an upset victory when Goodridge's lack of takedown defences was ruthlessly exposed and Schultz in the mount positioned rained down punches, opening up a cut on "Big Daddy" for the stoppage victory.

Mark Hall, who could reasonably deserve Keith Hackney's "Giant Killer" nickname, given he too is repeatedly put in bouts against giant opponents, earned another upset win over a larger opponent when he dodged the massive Koji Kitao and managed to land a huge right hand which broke Kitao's nose which led to the giant's blood spurting all over the Octagon. Hall the winner via stoppage after just 40 seconds.

In the only other singles bout on the card, UFC 8 champion, Don Frye took on Amaury Bitetti in a highly entertaining clash which saw both men exchange huge strikes before Frye caught Bitetti which caused him to bleed profusely.

Literally smelling blood, Frye landed huge elbows on his opponent while in side control. More elbows, forearms and knees ended Bitetti in brutal fashion as Frye moved to 4-0 as a UFC fighter.

As he did, at UFC 8, Frye stole the show once more with a stunning performance.

Edited by Alan John


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