SHAMROCK: For my first fight, I walked out of the locker room with my adopted dad and my Japanese comrades. There was this sea of red—like 20 guys, and they were all wearing red shirts, with Patrick Smith standing in the middle. We had to walk through these guys, and I could see Smith's eyes, glaring at me. His guys were screaming at us; it was like we were in a gang fight. They were all up in my dad's face. He never cusses, but he jumped in their faces and started screaming back. I walked by Smith, looked at him and said, "Don't worry, your time's coming, punk." The fight starts, and I take him down and put him in a choke. I snap his ankle and I jump up in victory, and I'm still ready to keep going—it was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life. As soon as I was done fighting, I went back to my locker, got a drink of water, and they said, "You're up." [Gordeau had made quick work of Rosier—another TKO, in 59 seconds—in the first semifinal.] The organizers knew what they were doing. They weren't going to give me enough time to prepare for Royce.
DAVIE: I wanted to have a striker versus a grappler in the finals, not two grapplers. So I put Shamrock in the same bracket as Royce—the two best grapplers. I felt that the fans at home looking at this for the first time would be turned off or confused if they saw two guys on the ground in the final bout.
SHAMROCK: I don't even remember tapping [out in that fight]. I remember trying to pull Royce's arm off, and there was no arm there. It was like this rope around my neck. I just know that I couldn't breathe.
GRACIE: He tapped, I let go, and then he tried to continue. I grabbed on to him again, and I told him right in his ear, "I know you tapped. You know you tapped. But you want to continue? We'll continue." I told the ref, "We know he tapped, but let it go. We're going to continue." I grabbed Shamrock and started to yell into his ear, "Go! Go!" He must have felt by the tone of my voice that I wasn't going to let go a second time. He's like, "No, no—you're right, I tapped."
SHAMROCK: The referee asked, "Did you tap?" Obviously I had, and I said, "Yes, I tapped." But I remember sitting there for a moment, thinking, He just cheated. They took away my shoes; they took away my kneepads; they took away the things that made me who I was as a fighter. But they let him wear a gi? That's how fast it went through my mind. It wasn't that I had gotten choked. It wasn't that he'd won the fight. It was like, Wait a minute; there's something unfair about this. I told myself that will never happen again.
GRACIE: By the time of the finals [against Gordeau] I was already fed up. There were two rules: You're not allowed to eye-gouge and you're not allowed to bite. But as soon as I took Gordeau down, he bit my ear. I pulled him off, and I whispered in his ear, "You bit me."
GORDEAU: Yes, I bit him.
GRACIE: He gave me that look like, So what? I threw a couple of head butts in his face, and when I got the choke [a submission after 1:44], I held on a little longer than I should have. Let's just say that I didn't feel him tap.
GORDEAU: I saw Royce two months ago in the Netherlands. It was the first time since UFC 1 that we'd seen each other. And the first thing he said to me was, "Why did you bite my ear?" I took him over to a big poster for the event that's hanging in my dojo and said, "Look there, Royce. It says, 'No rules.' "
V THE AFTER-PARTY