Dave Menne has the distinction of being the inaugural UFC middleweight champion. A pugilist with over 60 mixed-martial-arts fights over the course of his vaunted fight career. Menne’s activity in the sport dates back to before it was even called MMA. Where many utilized the NHB (No Holds Barred) moniker. Dave Menne made his pro-MMA debut in April 1997 and would go on to fight several times in a two day period. His competitive career ended in March 2012 after having encompassed three different decades.
In this part of a brand new chronicles series, Menne talks about traveling to a then war-torn Kuwait with Pat Miletich for quite the tumultuous one-night middleweight tournament.
“Kind of trippy. You’re walking into airports and you get whisked through. Basically you don’t go through customs. Some people grab you. We got brought into some private room. Some people brought in some fresh squeezed strawberry silver plates for everybody. Then we were off to the hotel. The tournament overall was kind of an odd experience.”
Dave Menne continued, “We got there, I was getting ready to cut weight and I had my scale out in my room. We get to the day of weigh-ins and we’re told that there’s going to be no weigh-ins… The Russians were obviously considerably overweight. I think one of them that was going to fight was somewhere close to 245 and he was an alternate for a 185 tournament.”
“But it was kind of an odd experience. From my understanding, what I was told was a couple of the Russians were there for two to three weeks before the tournament. A lot of us got in either the night before weigh-ins or that morning. So it was not an ideal situation, I would say. There was a decent amount of drama up to it and then a little bit of drama afterward.”
“Four guys at the time were rated in a lot of the ratings. Top five in the world in one tournament… It was an interesting tournament. I just wish something like that was put on today. That would probably be quite a bit more money. Even though the payday wasn’t bad at the time but I could have probably retired off of what the payday would be nowadays.”