UFC 1 generated a host in indelible images, including Teila Tuli's tooth, the Gracie train with that skinny Brazilian in it, and Art Jimmerson competing with one glove. The first person that skinny Brazilian fought was Jimmerson, and though the contest ended without a single punch every being thrown, the image of that one glove endures.
Campbell McLaren, executive producer of the UFC debut, appeared recently the MMAmania.com podcast "Darce Side Radio," and detailed why Art Jimmerson wore one glove.
While Jimmerson has become an object of curiosity and even mirth, he remains as McLaren remineds "the highest-ranked, current, contemporary boxer to enter UFC. I think he was the eighth-ranked in the IBF at Cruiserweight. He was a real, real boxer."
So why one glove?
"I wondered about that for a long time, too," said McLaren.
McLaren provided some background on recruiting the prizefighter.
"He was nervous," said McLaren. "He didn't want to do it. "I flew out to St. Louis and I met with him. We had a conversation and we went back-and-forth, and finally he goes -- he's a really nice man, he's a really good guy -- and he goes, ‘I'm buying a house and I need a $15,000 down payment.' I said, ‘I'll give you $15,000 to do the UFC.' He said, ‘Okay, I'll do it.' Just like that."
"I really wanted a boxer. I was so naive, I thought Jimmerson was going to kill Royce. I don't mean beat him, I mean actually he might really injure him. If Royce weighed 165 pounds, he had four rolls of quarters in the gi pockets. He didn't weigh 165 pounds. Maybe with the gi wet and someone else putting their toe was on the scale. I thought he was going to get knocked out. That's how wrong I was. That's how much I knew about it."
McLaren and 'Big' John McCarthy had a conversation at Invicta FC 6 this Summer, and McCarthy revealed what really happened.
"Big John said, 'you know what he's going to do to you right?'" said McLaren. "Jimmerson said, ‘what's he going to do?' and he was dancing around and doing boxing moves. Big John said, ‘You ever get in a clinch in a boxing match?' Jimmerson said, ‘yeah, the ref breaks it up.' Big John goes," In this they're not going to break it up when he grabs you. He's going to have his arms on you. They're not going to break that up. The ref doesn't break that up in this fight.' Jimmerson goes, ‘what?' Big John said, "He's going to shoot in. He's going to grab you. You are going to get one chance to hit him, and if you miss, he's going to be all over you.' Jimmerson said, ‘He's going to break my arm isn't he?' Big John said, ‘Yeah, he's going to break your arm.'
"That's when he decided to wear the one glove - to make sure we could see him tapping with the other hand. Walking with him to the Octagon, he said, 'If I tap with my glove hand, is it a still a tap?' That's when I knew it wasn't going to work out."
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Jimmerson was taken down and mounted and tapped with the hand that everyone could see. The official results list submission by position. Jimmerson is now the head boxing coach at the UFC GYM in Torrance, CA. in 2011 he expressed an interest in boxing Kimbo Slice, but in all likelihood, he has hung up the gloves. Or glove.
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