UFC 8 Winner Don Frye Once Recalled Pre-UFC ‘No Holds Barred’ Fighting Experience on Joe Rogan Podcast

Published 10/23/2022, 11:00 AM EDT

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship held its first fight in the year 1993. A couple of years later, debuted ‘The Predator’. Don Frye had his first UFC fight in 1996, but he fought MMA before that. UFC Commentator Joe Rogan, once had ‘The Predator’ on his podcast, ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’.

There, he disclosed the story of his entry into the UFC. He also revealed that he used to compete in warehouse fights, before landing into the UFC.


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In an episode of ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’, the legendary Don Frye talked about his entry into the UFC. It was revealed that he fought his first MMA matches before UFC. It was Dan Severn who brought Don Frye into the UFC, back in 1995. Dan Severn then worked as a bodyguard for the radio personality, Robin Quivers. But the surprise came out when he revealed that he fought warehouse fights before UFC. Frye said, “I said Dan, this is Don Frye. Remember me? I said this UFC stuff, can you get me on it? And he says yeah.”

Don Frye revealed to Joe Rogan that he used to fight in bare-knuckle warehouse bouts

“Was this pre-UFC?”, Joe Rogan enquired, and Frye admitted it to be true. “So you fought MMA before the UFC?”, asked Joe Rogan. “Oh, it was warehouse fighting. It wasn’t MMA. It was HB”, replied Don Frye. Back in the day, it was then known as HB, or No Holds Barred, as explained by the UFC commentator, Joe Rogan. “HB is what they called it back then. No Holds Barred”, he said.


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Frye agreed that it was bare-knuckle when Rogan enquired about it. Back in Frye’s day, UFC was still fought with bare knuckles. Rogan said, “In your day, in UFC 8, it was still allowed to fight bare-knuckle.” Frye replied that although he was allowed to fight bare handed, he still wore gloves. Frye said, “But I wore gloves, because I hit hard” and had a laugh about it


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Don Frye is listed amongst the oldest fighters in the UFC. He won UFC 8 and the Ultimate Ultimate 96. He took his retirement from the UFC after winning the title in the Ultimate Ultimate ‘96 tournament. Following which, he shifted to PRIDE FC New Japan Pro-Wrestling and made a name for himself. 

He debuted in UFC 8 against Thomas Ramirez and won the hearts of the fighting enthusiasts. Even Joe Rogan admitted that his fight against ‘The Tank’ was marvelous. Frye has a special place in the UFC and will always remain ‘The Predator’. 


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Who is your favorite fighter from HB? Let us know in the comments below.


Written by:

Krushna Prasad Pattnaik


One take at a time

Krushna Pattnaik is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. Coming from a pharmaceutical background with a master's degree in the same and multiple scientific publications, his passion for combat sports and writing brought him to EssentiallySports, where both of his passions met in a beautiful collaboration. He is an instrumentalist and has a profound love for books.
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Edited by:

Vineet Nandwana