On February 16, 1996, Gary "Big Daddy" Goodridge arrived on the combat sports scene with a big splash. From his first fight in the UFC when there were virtually no rules, through his last kickboxing bout in Sweden, Gary has gone all out giving everything leaving everything on the canvas scoring some of MMA's most iconic knockouts.
Goodridge made his debut at UFC's 8th tournament clad in a black gi and a death stare. With a boxing and arm wrestling background, Goodridge proceeded to enter the cage at UFC 8 and destroy All-American wrestler Paul Herrera with a barrage of elbows from the goose neck/crucifix position.
In his second fight of the night, Gary fought the 2-0 Lion's Den product Jerry Bohlander, again Gary scored a big TKO with a barrage of heavy right hands while standing over his opponent. In the finals, Gary met Don Frye, and despite throwing Frye like a rag doll, eventually sucumbed to defeat. With highlight reel KO's in hand, the legend of Gary Goodridge had began.
(Goodridge Elbows Herrera)
With mixed results at UFC 10 and UU 96,Gary rounded out his UFC career defeating Andre "Big Chief" Roberts at UFC 19 and John Campetella at UFC 10. On July 6, 1997, Goodridge won the first International Vale Tudo Combat tournament in Brazil, defeating Augusto Sanchez, Cal Worsham and then Pedro Octavio in the finals to take the title.
(Goodridge Takes Out Roberts)
Next, Gary made his first trip to Japan, making the biggest mark in the very first Pride Fighting show. Gary fought UFC 6 champion Oleg Taktarov. Despite being an underdog, Goodridge delivered one of the most violent punch KO's of all-time, flooring The Russian Bear as he was taken out of the Tokyo Dome in a stretcher.
When I asked him about the fight, Gary replied, "I was put in there for him to kick the sh*t out of me. That's what I thought anyways. Then I KO'd him. I loved it and had an amazing contract after that fight. Beating him made me lots of money."
An instant star in Japan, Gary would go on to fight over 30 times in Pride and K-1, with numerous kickboxing bouts sprinkled in. When asked about his popularity in Japan, Gary responded, "I am an all or nothing fighter and let it all hang out in the ring. They love the no give up attitude I adopted."
(Goodridge's Japanese Pride Figure)
Gary's other big wins in Pride included a devastating head kick KO over Don Frye, a TKO over Dan Bobish and a submission via punches over Valentijn Overeem. Gary's big kickboxing wins came with KO/TKO victories over Mike Bernardo, Cyril Abidi, Scott Lighty and Wesley Correira. Gary won the K-1 World Grand Prix in Hawaii Tournament on July 30, 2005.
(Goodridge landing a punch on Dan Bobish)
When asked about his current fighting situation, Gary described losing a kickboxing fight in Sweden last week against Cătălin Moroşanu. Gary stated that he was retiring from fighting.
(Gary's Last Promo Picture)
Unfortunately, one thing still is hovering over Gary's head. FEG, which operates Dream and K-1, has yet to pay Gary for his bout against Gegard Mousasi last New Year's Eve. Gary spoke about that situation, stating, "I have worked for them for over 14 years and I've never been screwed by them at all." Gary is trying to raise some aweness in the media regarding the his non-payment and the non-payment of other fighters.
(Goodridge head kick KO over Don Frye)
Regardless, Gary will always be known as a fighter with a true warrior spirit, budo. Big Daddy always put everything he had into his fights, laying everything on the line. We wish Gary the best in his future pursuits.
(Goodridge wins over Jan Nortje)
(Goodridge Kickboxing KO)