9th September 1994, Grady Cole Center, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.
After the massive improvement from UFC 1 to UFC 2, UFC 3 was a bit of a step backwards in many ways. Styles are now broken down into just two broad and over simplified categories of punchers and grapplers. We’re back down to eight fighters from the sixteen of UFC 2, which means one less round of fights. The biggest issue with this event though was the injuries along the way that turned it into a it of a farce. One notable rules change is that as well as KO, submission and the towel coming in, John McCarthy now has the power to stop the fight.
First fight of the night is Sumo fighter Emanuel Yarborough against Kenpo Karate fighter Keith Hackney. Yarborough is 616lbs which even dwarfs UFC 1’s sumo fighter Teila Tuli, let alone the 200lb Hackney. As Yarborough approaches, Hackney throws a leg kick, which has no effect, followed by an over hand open palm strike which against all odds, drops Yarborough. Hackney pounces on him and tries to take advantage but after only one follow up strike slips and Yarborough crashes down on him. Kackney manages to drag himself free and back on their feet, Yarborough throws Hackney against and through the cage door. Hackney is ushered back into the Octagon and they restart. As Yarborough plods forward Hackney does his best to stay out of range, throwing low sidekicks and open over-hands. When Yarborough does finally get hold of Hackney he eats a few punches to the head and goes down. Hackney throws a couple of dozen punches to Yarborough’s melon and he’s completely unable to get up. John McCarthy steps in and makes his first stoppage. Hackney’s hand is a mess but he moves on.
The second quarter final is Ken Shamrock facing Judoka Christophe Leininger. It goes to the ground predictably quickly and Leininger throws a series of punches to the top of Shamrock’s head from the guard, which looks like it sucks for both parties. They exchange head butts, then as Leininger goes for a triangle, Ken explodes out and takes his back. Leininger tries to find a way out but ends up on his back taking a lot of punishment from Ken and taps from a combination of strikes and exhaustion.
Next up is the wonderfully named local Thai Boxer Roland Payne against Canadian Karate/Jui Jitsu fighter Harold Howard. Payne’s not a bit guy but he certainly looks the business on the pads in the preamble. Howard is a lot bigger and looks like a complete psychopath in his video. After a brief exchange on their feet, Payne surprises us with a takedown but he can’t keep Howard on the mat. They’re up and down a couple more times and both land heavy strikes until Payne is on the receiving end of a big right hand to the temple that shuts him down. A frantic and ferocious 45 second fight ends with Howard winning by KO.
The last quarter final is defending two time champion Royce Gracie facing lay preacher and alleged Tae Kwon Do master, Kimo Leopoldo. (alright mate). He’s dragging a massive cross behind him on his way to the give Royce ‘The Good News’ in the Octagon. Kimo charges out and Royce gets his hands on him straight away. There’s a little over a minute of Royce trying to drag the fight to the ground before a throw goes badly and he ends up underneath Kimo. They’re back and forth for a couple of minutes, reversal after reversal and Royce gets hold of Kimo’s ponytail/top knot, almost managing to drag him into a triangle choke with it. About four minutes in, Royce grabs hold of an arm bar from the bottom and gets the tap. Our defending champion wins but he’s utterly exhausted and limps out of the Octagon.
It’s confirmed that Keith Hackney has smashed his hand to pieces on Emmanuel Yarborough’s skull and has retired from the competition. He’s replaced by Felix Mitchell who will fight Ken Shamrock. Mitchell is slated as Shaolin Kung Fu, but he looks like a boxer on the heavy bag, and that’s confirmed in his ring intro. Mitchell initially steps into the Octagon wearing open hand gloves but decides to take them off at the last minute. The fight beings as a standing grappling match which Ken seems to have a slight edge in, although Mitchell does fire a couple of eye watering knees right between Ken’s legs that lift him clean off the ground. Ken doesn’t even wince. Mitchell attempts to wedgie Ken with his yellow budgie smugglers, but they collapse to the ground with Ken on top. Mitchell rolls onto his front, Ken sinks in a deep choke and gets the tap. Ken limps away with a damaged ankle and that’s the last we see of him tonight.
The next fight is supposed to be a semi-final between Harold Howard against Royce Gracie. Howard’s really been looking forward to this apparently, and he makes his way to the Octagon in a Gracie-esque train, looking all business. Royce’s approach to the Octagon much more laboured. The fighters are introduced, but before John McCarthy can get them started, Royce retires from the competition. Howard is furious, screaming and stamping his feet. He still turns and bows as he storms out of the Octagon though. Classy old school martial arts etiquette. That’s juxtaposed by a classless display of Kimo charging into the Octagon to celebrate his part Royce’s retirement.
With Ken Shamrock out, Harold Howard is left to fight the remaining alternate, Ninja cop Steve Jennum. As they start, Howard attempts a front scissor flip kick, which Jennum backs out of range of. Howard springs back to his feet and lands some heavy punches that stun Jennum. Howard gets hold of Jennums neck and cranks a guillotine, first standing, then from his back, but he doesn’t have full guard so Jennum is able to step out of it. They exchange punches on their feet before Jennum trips and mounts Howard. Jennum is dropping punches but Howard seems to be blocking them all. John McCarthy stops the fight and the towel comes in at roughly the same time. Jennum earns $60,000 for his one and a half minute’s work.
What a mess. Three of the four winning quarter finalists retired, Hackney got a bye to the final, less than 20 minutes’ actual fight time across the whole event. Not a great display really.
Keith Hackney dropping a 616lb Emmanuel Yarborough was pretty impressive.