UFC 12: Judgement Day
UFC 12: Judgement Day was a mixed martial arts event held by the Ultimate Fighting Championship on February 7, 1997 at the Dothan Civic Center in Dothan, Alabama.
The event was seen live on pay per view in the United States, and later released on home video.
UFC 12 was the first UFC event to feature weight classes; heavyweights (200 lbs and over) and lightweights (199 lbs and under) battled in two separate mini tournaments, each consisting of two semifinal bouts and a finals match.
The event also featured a Superfight between Dan Severn and Mark Coleman to determine the first UFC Heavyweight Champion. Dan Severn was a late substitution for Don Frye, who had earned the rematch with Coleman after winning the Ultimate Ultimate 1996, but was unable to participate in UFC 12 because of injuries he had suffered in that previous event. Frye never returned to the UFC. "Judgement Day" also featured two alternate bouts in case of tournament injury.
UFC 12 marked the first UFC appearance of Vitor Belfort, and was also the first appearance of Joe Rogan, who handled backstage interviews for the event.
After being removed from many pay per view carriers, and with mounting pressure from politicians such as Senator John McCain, the UFC had continuing troubles finding a venue, and a state, for that matter, that would host UFC 12. It was first announced that UFC 12 would be held in New York, to which it was ultimately denied sanctioning rights. Next, it was announced that UFC 12 would be held in Oregon, which soon banned the event. Finally, the UFC returned to Alabama, where it appeared in the small city of Dothan, located about 200 miles southeast of Birmingham.
The UFC would continue to hold events exclusively in Southern US States (aside from occasional shows in Japan and Brazil) until 2001, when the UFC was sanctioned by the New Jersey State Athletic Commission.