First UFC – Fighters on Art Davie’s wish list

Football player Mark Gastineau boxed from '91-'96 compliling a 15-2 recordFirst UFC Dream List

As SEG and W.O.W. got closer to November 12, 1993 to stage the first UFC, Art Davie’s job was to find the 10 fighters needed for the tournament. There were fighters he considered and didn’t approach given their availability or cost.  Mark Gastineau, the Hall of Fame NFL lineman, (he had begun a boxing career in 1991) was on the list, but he was priced out of the budget.

Mitch Green

A boxer Davie considered for the first UFC was Mitch “Blood” Green. He lost a decision to Mike Tyson; then lost a street fight to Mike in front of a Harlem clothing store and got a $45,000 settlement for that “dispute.” Almost every boxer approached wanted a five-figure “appearance fee.”

Peter Aerts, Dutch kick boxing champion


The great Peter Aerts, then kicking butt in Europe and Japan, and a thoroughly devastating Muay Thai style kickboxer, was also on  Davie’s wish list for the first UFC. But he would have required a five figure “appearance fee” to come to the states. No go!

First UFC

The star of Jan Plas’ gym in Amsterdam was Ernesto Hoost, then just becoming a dominant force in K-1. He was due to fight in Asia and Davie couldn’t make a deal for him in time for the first UFC. But Plas proposed Gerard Gordeau as an alternative. Gordeau, who had fought in Japan, was a world champion in Savate; and Gordeau became the European kickboxer Davie signed for the first UFC.





Aleksandr Karelin was a Hero of the Russian Federation and was the dominant Greco-Roman wrestler on the planet in 1993. He was known as the “Experiment” (at 6’3″ and 285lbs.) and rumored to be the product of Russian science. He would have cost  as much as Mike Tyson. That is if the Russians would have even let him come to the USA for the first UFC.



Emin Boztepe in his prime

Emin Boztepe was a very visible Kung Fu stylist in the martial arts magazines, like Black Belt. He and Rorion Gracie had almost come to legal blows over the “Gracie Challenge.” When Davie asked Rorion if he should approach him for the first UFC tournament, Rorion advised that it would only attract a lawsuit, so Davie never reached out to Boztepe. Emin Boztepe cultivated a reputation for invincibility in articles and advertisements.



Randall 'Tex' Cobb - boxer, kick boxer & actorRandall “Tex” Cobb was a kickboxer, boxer (he fought Larry Holmes for the heavyweight title) and movie actor. He was on Davie’s wish list, but had a reputation for being a wild man; and his price would have made him unaffordable. Read about him terrorizing everyone on movie sets in IS THIS LEGAL? where John Milius was the director.




Mike TysonOf course the “Ultimate” dream list fighter for the first UFC was Mike Tyson. He was serving time in an Indiana prison in 1993 and, no matter what, the cost to secure his services was wildly out of range for the UFC.

These were some of the top combat sports athletes Art Davie had on first UFC “wish list.” You can read all about them (and the fighters  who turned Davie down) in IS THIS LEGAL? – the inside story of the first UFC.