A young Canadian fighter named Georges St-Pierre was making his UFC debut against fellow welterweight Karo Parisyan in an undercard bout on a show headlined by Randy Couture versus Vitor Belfort for the light heavyweight title.
At that time, St-Pierre was still brand new, fresh out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada and didn’t speak hardly any English, but he certainly got introduced to America that night.
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St-Pierre shared the story with reporters on Wednesday about his first UFC fight, and how scary the experience was for him. It really had nothing to do with the fight or his opponent, but a run-in he had that night with a UFC legend and his camp when they were sharing the same locker room.
"I was so nervous. My first fight in the UFC I was fighting Karo Parisyan and I was fighting on the prelims and they put us in this little locker room. Back then I was with three guys and when we got in there the room was very narrow. Long, but very narrow so we didn’t enough space to work out so I decided to take all of the chairs and throw them out of the room, but still it was very tiny to work out," St-Pierre explained.
"So I was waiting for the time to get ready and all of a sudden I heard a noise in the hallway like the third World War just broke out. Guess who’s got in the room? It was Wes Sims, Kevin Randleman, Mark Coleman, two of my idols that I saw fight before, Wes Sims’ father who was actually taller than Wes and Ricco Rodriguez. So we didn’t have enough space plus with those giants and I didn’t speak English. It was my first time and I was very intimidated, first time in the UFC."
Things only went from strange to stranger once Coleman tried his best to communicate with St-Pierre through his broken English. The former Ohio State wrestling great did his best to welcome St-Pierre to the UFC, but the message may have been lost a little bit in the translation.
"Mark Coleman gets in the room and goes ‘Who are you?’ and I say ‘Hi, I’m Georges St-Pierre’ and he’s like who are you going up against?’ and I said ‘Karo Parisyan’. He looks at me ‘You’re a wrestler?’ and ‘Yeah I wrestle’ and he said ‘Yeah I’m rooting for you!’. I was scared," St-Pierre said with a laugh. "So when the time comes for me to warm up, and these guys were yelling at me and I didn’t understand what they said but it was a lot of ‘F’ words. I couldn’t speak English and they were trying to motivate me, but they were scaring me instead.
"I didn’t have room to warm up the room was so tiny, I couldn’t move and they were more agitated than me and I was fighting. So I had to go into the bathroom to do some jumping jacks."
As it turns out, Coleman just happened to appear right after St-Pierre on Wednesday and he was also asked what he remembered about the first time he ran into the future UFC champion. His recollection was very similar to St-Pierre’s and he still gets a good laugh about it to this day.
"Georges has brought it up a few times. It was early, I was learning, I didn’t know who Georges was and I was getting my guy ready and I guess I wasn’t giving him any room to warm up. Me and (Kevin) Randleman sitting there screaming at our guy, that’s the way we did things I guess. I get a kick out of Georges remembering that day, he was just getting started and the Hammer House came in and bullied them all a little bit," Coleman told FOX Sports.
Since that day, St-Pierre has had the chance to not only learn English but also meet Coleman on several occasions through different fight functions. Through it all, St-Pierre was looking at the former UFC heavyweight champion as an idol, but he certainly got an odd introduction when they met for the first time.
"He’s an incredible guy, very nice guy," St-Pierre said about Coleman. "It was a great experience. After I look back at this it’s a great story to tell."