Thursday, May 29, 2008

The only cure for grief is action.

Last December I was over at a friends house eating vegetarian pizza. My friend and I were really excited because our favorite fighter was going to fight, Wanderlei Silva. People who don't follow the sport, its a name that means very little. But if you have even a casual knowledge of MMA that name means The Axe Murderer for a reason. A "Finisher" of men. Champion of more than one high level tournament in PRIDE, once the premier organization for more than a decade. Until he lost to the famously infamous Mirko "Crocop" via a vicious left high kick to the head he seemed a juggernaut. Then it happened again. Wanderlei was defeated by another man who is just as much of a legend, Dan Henderson. Henderson was on fire, the end started with a perfectly placed spinning back fist, and finished by a left hook thats now as famous as Crocops' left high kick. Followed by one more right, just punctuation, more for completion than effect. I was shocked, its hard to see your hero devastated twice in a row. When December 2007 came, PRIDE was gone. With the majority of its top fighters having been absorbed by the UFC, including Wanderlei, I was excited. On the heels of that his first UFC fight was announced. It was Chuck Liddel. Another legend of the sport. Since he was a UFC fighter he didn't seem quite as mythic as the PRIDE fighters did because we got to actually see his fights, his media appearances were in English, and we became familiar with him. In my mind Liddel was the underdog. Liddel wasn't just fighting a UFC guy, he was fighting a PRIDE champion. After the second round, Wanderlei who could have won at one point, had lost both rounds. By the thrid you knew how it was going to end. It was like watching Rocky the second time, slow motion and all. I gave every round to Liddel, and so did the judges. 3 losses in a row is enough to scuttle most carriers. Fortunately living legends get the benefit of the doubt. He was tapped to fight the last guy to beat Liddel, Keith Jardine. Honestly, at this point I had no doubt in Wanderlei winning. I called it a early in the second TKO. I like Jardine against most in his devision, but Wanderlei isn't most. During the fight, about 20 seconds in I was thinking, "Yes, hes back.". 15 seconds later he had won.