UFC today announced that the classic 1998 fight between Pete Williams and Mark Coleman will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame’s ‘Fight Wing’ and serve as the final induction of the 2016 class. The event will take place on Sunday, July 10, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, on the final day of the 5th Annual UFC International Fight Week.
“Williams against Coleman was the biggest upset of 1998 and the finish is one of the most devastating knockouts in UFC history,” UFC President Dana White said. “This fight is a forgotten classic that represents everything that’s great about UFC. Williams took this fight on two weeks’ notice and took a beating from Coleman during the regulation period. This was his first time inside an Octagon and once the overtime period started, he had enough left in the tank to deliver one of the greatest knockouts we’ve ever seen. Congratulations to Pete Williams and Mark Coleman!”
As the main event of UFC 17: REDEMPTION, which took place on May 15, 1998 at the Mobile Civic Center in Mobile, Alabama, Coleman was originally slated to face reigning champion Randy Couture. However, after Couture withdrew from the card due to injury, Williams was named as Coleman’s new opponent just two weeks before the event. This matchup would serve as Williams’s UFC debut after securing a 7-1 record competing in both Pancrase and SuperBrawl organizations.
Coleman landed more strikes and recorded a UFC career-best number of takedowns while dominating Williams with his ground and pound during the 12-minute regulation period, before advancing to overtime. As the three-minute term began, Coleman, visibly exhausted, survived an initial barrage of kicks and knees before Williams connected and made history with UFC’s first-ever knockout by head kick 38 seconds into the extra frame.
Williams would continue to build off his impressive UFC debut and challenge Kevin Randleman for the vacant UFC heavyweight title at UFC 23: ULTIMATE JAPAN 2, losing by decision. The Lion’s Den trained heavyweight’s time inside the Octagon was cut short due to reoccurring injuries, as he finished his career in 2002.
Coleman would continue his mixed martial arts career following the upset, competing in both PRIDE Fighting Championships® and UFC through 2010. His legacy cemented as UFC’s first heavyweight champion, he would also win the 2000 PRIDE Grand Prix, becoming one of only two athletes to win tournaments in both UFC and PRIDE (*Dan Henderson). This is his second UFC Hall of Fame induction, as he was enshrined as a Pioneer in 2008.
UFC 17 was also a notable event that featured the debuts of former UFC light heavyweight champion and UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell, former UFC welterweight champion Carlos Newton and current UFC middleweight Dan Henderson.