Patrick Smith was one of the original participants of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the mixed martial arts promotion that revolutionized the combat sports world. He competed in the first two UFC events in 1993, showcasing his striking and submission skills. He also had a brief but memorable stint in the K-1 kickboxing organization, where he scored a stunning knockout over the legendary Andy Hug. However, Smith’s life and career were also marred by criminal convictions, drug abuse, and controversy. He died on June 18, 2019, at the age of 55, from sarcomatoid carcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
Patrick Smith’s Early MMA Career and UFC Debut
Patrick Smith was born on August 28, 1963, in Coalgate, Oklahoma. He began training in martial arts at a young age, earning black belts in taekwondo, hapkido, kempo karate, and tang soo do. He also competed in kickboxing, boxing, and full-contact karate, claiming a record of 66-8 in kickboxing and 5-11-2 in boxing. He was ranked as the No. 1 super heavyweight kickboxer in the United States and No. 5 in the world in 1993.
Smith was invited to compete in the first UFC event, UFC 1, in November 1993, in Denver, Colorado. The event was a one-night, eight-man tournament, with no weight classes, no gloves, and minimal rules. Smith faced Ken Shamrock, a shootfighter and professional wrestler, in the quarterfinals. Smith was confident in his striking ability, but he was quickly taken down and submitted by Shamrock’s heel hook in 1:49. Smith later claimed that he had a broken hand and a torn ligament in his knee prior to the fight, and that he was not prepared for Shamrock’s grappling style.
Patrick Smith’s Redemption and Controversy at UFC 2
Smith returned to the UFC for the second event, UFC 2, in March 1994, in Denver, Colorado. This time, the event was a one-night, 16-man tournament, with even fewer rules than the first one. Smith faced Ray Wizard, a ninjutsu practitioner, in the first round. Smith dominated the fight, knocking down Wizard with a punch and finishing him with a guillotine choke in 58 seconds.
Smith advanced to the second round, where he faced Scott Morris, a ninjitsu and taekwondo expert. Smith again displayed his striking prowess, landing a spinning back kick and a series of punches that knocked out Morris in 30 seconds. Smith then moved on to the quarterfinals, where he faced Johnny Rhodes, a boxer and kickboxer. Smith showed his versatility, taking down Rhodes and submitting him with a rear-naked choke in 1:07.
Smith reached the semifinals, where he faced Royce Gracie, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu master and winner of UFC 1. Gracie was considered the favorite, having submitted all of his opponents in the previous event. Smith was confident, however, and claimed that he had learned from his loss to Shamrock and had improved his ground game. The fight was tense, as Smith defended Gracie’s takedown attempts and landed some punches and kicks. However, Gracie eventually managed to take Smith down and lock in an armbar, forcing Smith to tap out in 4:35.
Smith’s performance at UFC 2 was impressive, as he won three fights in a row by different methods and gave Gracie a tough challenge. However, his credibility was soon questioned, as allegations of fight fixing and fraud emerged. Some of Smith’s opponents, namely Wizard and Morris, were accused of being “plants” or “cans”, meaning that they were inexperienced or unskilled fighters who were paid to lose to Smith. Smith’s kickboxing and boxing records were also disputed, as some of his fights were reportedly unsanctioned or fabricated. Smith denied any wrongdoing, but his reputation was tarnished by the controversy.