First UFC – Actual rules from the fighter’s meeting

The first UFC: For the record, here are actual rules given to the 10 athletes at the UFC1 fighters meeting on Thursday, November 11, 1993. Campbell McLaren, in recent statement, released a photo of the rules he said were in place prior to the debut event that took place on November 12, 1993. See his post here:

What Campbell posted was an early version of the rules. Notice it says John Milius designed the Octagon and it’s 20′ in diameter. Both statements were later amended.  Set designers Harrison and Cusson were the ones responsible for designing the Octagon and it ended up the 30′ that I had originally suggested in communications with Producer Michael Pillot.

In the post, there was the implication that the rules were just suggestions and that all  Rorion said at the first UFC rules meeting, was, “There is no biting. We are men not animals.” Then he sat down. What really happened was that as Rorion read the rules, the meeting exploded. Zane Frazier challenged the rule about taping fists and Rorion and I soon lost control of the meeting as everyone began to argue.

5-1The First Fighters Meeting

I had typed up the rules for the fighters meeting at the hotel the night before. Below is the Meeting Agenda, which included the rules, that Sumo wrestler Teila Tuli (nee Taylor Wiley) signed. When Tuli signed his, slammed it down on the table and said, “I just signed my paper. I don’t know about you guys, but I came here to party. If anyone else came here to party, I’ll see you tomorrow night at the arena,” that gesture and his declaration ended the squabbles over the rules. You can read all about that meeting in my book, IS THIS LEGAL?

Campbell McLaren was an SEG employee whose focus for the first UFC was the commentators and marketing. He wasn’t an expert about the martial arts or fighting. As I said in my book, IS THIS LEGAL?, quoting the late wrestler Gorilla Monsoon, “Campbell and Bob (Meyrowitz) didn’t know a wrist lock from a wristwatch.” But he was a super pro when it came to the business of television, to be sure.

The 3 founders of the UFC:  Art Davie, Rorion Gracie and SEG’s founder/CEO, Bob Meyrowitz. And, interestingly enough, Kathy Kidd, Sherry Santos and me were the only people working full-time on the UFC in ’93. Everyone else had other gigs, projects or businesses to run.



What’s the whole story? Anyone who wants to discover how the rules came about and all the drama that took place during that memorable fighters meeting should read my book, IS THIS LEGAL? [ ]about the creation of the UFC.

Posted by Art Davie