The Rickety Old Shack

Fight Notes: UFC 4 — Revenge Of The Warriors

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Taking place a mere 3 months after UFC 3 (link), the fourth installment in the UFC's ongoing series of one-night MMA tournaments saw the return of Royce Gracie. The champion of 2 of the last 3 UFC events was pushed to his absolute limit by Kimo Leopoldo and was forced to withdraw from the third tournament, and returns to reclaim his crown from the usurper, Steve Jennum.

"Big" John McCarthy was the sole referee for the event, and fights still consisted of a single round with no time limit. No changes were made to the rule set for this event, with no weight classes or rules beyond basic prohibitions on eye-gouging or fish-hooking.

Alternate Bouts

The majority of these were never televised, with only the Mezger / Fairn fight making it onto the pay-per-view broadcast. Returning fighter Joe Charles scored his first UFC win over fellow veteran Kevin Rosier, and Marcus Bossett would end up competing again later in the night.



Ron Van Clief versus Royce Gracie

The 51-year-old Van Clief served as what could generously be called a tune-up fight for the UFC's golden boy, Royce Gracie. This fight went exactly as one would expect, with Gracie closing distance, getting Van Clief down and quickly progressing to mount. Van Clief valiantly held on, and tried to defend, but ultimately gave up his back after Gracie started throwing some hard ground-and-pound. Gracie then locked up a rear-naked choke and forced a helpless Van Clief to submit.

Keith Hackney versus Joe Son

At the time, I don't think anyone gave this fight much consideration. Keith Hackney had a good showing in the opening round of UFC 3, but ended up withdrawing from the tournament with a broken hand. This time out he ended up fighting the manager of that event's breakout star, Kimo Leopoldo, the now infamous Joe Son. A man who would go on to have a minor role in two of the Austin Powers films before being convicted of participation in a gang rape[1]. Then, while in prison, Son would end up murdering his cellmate[2]. He remains in prison, serving 15 and 27-year sentences respectively.

This fight itself is iconic for a sequence in the final minute or so: wherein Hackney lands about 10 punches right to Son's groin — just going ham on the man's giggleberries. These were intentional, powerful, hard punches right to the dick. Son took them with a composure that, honestly, terrifies me, and probably was a hint as to the depravity lurking deep within his soul, but nevertheless. The official record lists the win as a submission, but it was obviously the dick punches that sealed the deal.

Steve Jennum versus Melton Bowen

This was actually a really tough fight, albeit a one-sided one for Jennum. This was a battle between former altnerate fighters from UFC 3, which the ultimate winner of that tournament was able to persevere in. Melton Bowen was taken down with ease and, from there, it was just a matter of time before Jennum secured a submission. After going for a keylock, Jennum alternated to ground-and-pound before fishing out Bowen's right arm and forcing him to tap to an armbar.

Dan Severn versus Antony Macias

In his debut fight, future UFC and professional wrestling legend Dan Severn just ragdolled Anthony Macias. After a series of suplexes and ground-and-pound strikes, Severn was able to secure a rear-naked choke from a visibly defeated Macias. An impressive debut from a future legend of the sport.



Dan Severn versus Marcus Bossett

Stepping in for an injured Steve Jennum, Marcus Bossett — winner of his alternate bout against Eldo Dias Xavier by KO — and boy did things not end well for him. Severn just ran through Bossett, taking him down, raining down punches from full mount and quickly tapping him with an arm-triangle as soon as the opportunity presented itself. This meant Severn would be going into the finals having fought for much less time than Gracie, the defending champion at this point.

Royce Gracie versus Dan Severn

This ended up being one of Royce Gracie's most challenging fights, as Dan Severn was able to implement a very effective wrestling-based strategy against the UFC legend. Severn took Gracie down early and spent over 6 minutes in top position, trying in vain to find openings and land ground strikes. Severn was persistent in his pursuit of top control and a strike-based finish, unfortunately for him, Gracie was able to ride out the onslaught and secure a win via triangle choke. This was truly an old-school MMA battle, with a dominant pure wrestler losing to the patient pure BJJ fighter.



Royce Gracie versus Dan Severn

This was a really intriguing event in the landscape of MMA, as we saw the emergence of wrestling as the premier art in the sport, while Royce Gracie still managed to retain his dominance. Dan Severn made a strong showing as an emissary of pure wrestling, only losing to Gracie because he really did not have the grappling chops to submit Gracie, so he had to try for strikes and ended up — in essence inevitably — falling prey to a submission, in this case a triangle choke. UFC 4 remains one of the best classic UFC events.


This was another successful event, presenting both compelling fights and further developments of the craft if MMA. Royce Gracie nabbed his third UFC tournament win and we saw the debut of another future Hall Of Fame member — and MMA / pro-wrestling legend — in Dan Severn. The Keith Hackney / Joe Son fight would go down as one of the most surreal in-fight moments in the UFC and all of MMA. Primitive violence, yes, but another historical landmark in the short history of MMA.

—by Derek

Published: April 25th, 2019.