Frye’s Greatest Fight
Frye’s Greatest Fight
By Joe Hall
July 12, 1996. Defending Ultimate Fighting Champion Don Frye meets newcomer Mark Coleman in the finals of the UFC 10 eight-man tournament.
Frye is undefeated, notes commentator Bruce Beck, 6-0 in the Octagon.
Coleman is a world-class wrestler, says Jeff Blatnick. One who weighs 245 muscular pounds compared to Frye at 214.
Frye is visibly haggard in his corner before the opening bell. A mouse sits below his right eye, reminding fans that this is his third fight of the night. He has already battled in the Octagon for 15 minutes, stopping Mark Hall in a grueling opening round bout then defeating Brian Johnston in the semifinals.
Coleman looks much fresher as he shifts his weight from foot to foot in his corner. No path to the finals is without tribulations, though, and this fighter is fatigued as well. He easily dismantled Moti Horenstein in the first round and dominated Gary Goodridge in the second; but the bout with "Big Daddy" dragged on for seven minutes and dented his energy supply.
The match begins and Coleman shoots for a takedown. Frye stops it with a well-timed sprawl and clutches a front headlock. Coleman explodes out of the hold and moves to his opponent’s back.
That’s called a short drag, says Blatnick, a great job by Coleman.
And from there, the beating commences.
Coleman cuts loose inside Frye’s guard, pounding his foe with a series of right hands that would later earn him the nickname, "The Hammer."
The bout becomes a drubbing, as Frye’s face is pummeled by Coleman’s endless onslaught. The difference in size and power has been the difference, says Blatnick 3:15 into the fight. Coleman is dominating.
At 4:15, Coleman applies a side choke, but Frye slips out and the fight returns to the feet. Referee Big John McCarthy goads the tired fighters forward while they slowly stalk each other. Frye throws a right and a left, but Coleman ducks and pins him against the cage with a double leg takedown.
The beating resumes.
Kick the shit out of him! roars Frye’s bitter former trainer, Richard Hamilton, who is Coleman’s trainer for this fight. Frye is stuck against the cage and Hamilton and friends are hurling a streak of evil obscenities straight into his ear. He’s over the hill! someone says. Beat the hell out of him! Hamilton adds.
And Coleman obliges with a knee that snaps Frye’s head back violently. More knees follow and the fight is stopped to check Frye’s right eye, which is bleeding and closing quickly.
You gotta do something son! You understand me? says McCarthy, informing the battered competitor that he can’t let the fight continue much longer at this one-sided pace.
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