UFC 40: Vendetta
UFC 40: Vendetta was a mixed martial arts event held by the Ultimate Fighting Championship on November 22, 2002, at the MGM Grand Arena on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada.
The event was broadcast live on pay per view in the United States, and later released on DVD.
UFC 40 contained one of the biggest, most important and most anticipated fights in UFC history, a UFC Light Heavyweight Championship fight between rivals Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock. Shamrock, a popular legendary fighter and former champion from the UFC's early years, was returning to the UFC for the first time since 1996. UFC 40 also contained a Welterweight Title Bout between Matt Hughes and Gil Castillo. Tank Abbott provided an interview in the octagon after UFC president Dana White had announced Abbott would return to the octagon on a 3-fight deal.
Bruce Buffer has said many times that the fight between Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz was one of the greatest fights he has ever seen, and that the energy from the 13,700 fans that night was one of the greatest feelings he has ever experienced.
UFC 40 was a pivotal event for Zuffa. The buyrate for UFC 40 was nearly 4 times larger than the buyrates of the previous Zuffa UFC shows. After initially losing a lot of money, UFC 40 showed Zuffa that it was possible to make money with the UFC. UFC 40 was a near sellout of 13,022 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for a gate of $1,540,000, a UFC record at that point in time.
UFC 40 also gained mainstream exposure for mixed martial arts for the first time since entering the dark ages of MMA. Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz both appeared on The Best Damn Sports Show Period and engaged in trash talk on live television. Shamrock and Ortiz's fight also gained mainstream media attention from massive media outlets such as ESPN and USA Today, something that was unfathomable for mixed martial arts at that point in time.