THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY: MMA SUPERFIGHTS WE NEVER SAW
The greatest of all-time… It’s a subjective accolade, but survey any group of MMA fans from any era and the vast majority will offer up either Georges St Pierre or Anderson Silva as MMA’s theoretical”person to beat.” In late 2016, news of the French-Canadian’s return fueled whispers of UFC president Dana White’s”one that got away” — St Pierre vs Silva — the very best versus the brightest. Regrettably, the odds of this happening now are as slim as they ever were. “Hurry” vs.”The Spider” is a myth; just one of several super fights we’ll likely never see.
Sadly, it’s not the only one. Below are a few other MMA superfights we never got to see…
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar
Partly due to the UFC’s monopolistic marketing power and partly due to his very best years being a decade past, Fedor Emelianenko doesn’t always get the respect he deserves from modern-day MMA fans. For those who watched his epic poem rampage through PRIDE’s heavyweight division however , he was the best heavyweight of his age… perhaps the greatest ever.
While Fedor could have been the best fighter in his day, Brock Lesnar was the largest box office draw. An immediate celebrity, he polarized an audience that did not know what they wanted more; therefore watch him humbled in defeat, or glorified in success.
Physically, Lesnar was a creature. Walking around north of the 265-pound heavyweight limit, the NCAA standout moved with all the speed and elegance of a man half his size. Whether it was down to fame or notoriety he had been a magnet for the paying public, headlining what was afterward the UFC’s largest card over the likes of GSP, in what was his third tilt with the promotion.
Following years of deriding that the Russian while he plied his trade for the contest, White declared that signing Stary Oskol’s favourite son was his”obsession.” Accounts of what happened following differ based on who you hear them from. Fedor was tied up with M-1; based on White, a bargain offering $2,000,000 per fight, Pay-Per-View points along with a direct title taken against Brock Lesnar was spurned; M-1 wished to co-promote Fedor’s fights, also allegedly wanted Zuffa to fund the building of a stadium in Russia. M-1 refuted those claims, and talks broke down.
Fedor’s inventory would drop considerably following three straight losses and Lesnar, while still a licence to print money, was exposed by better fighters and abandoned the sport. It could have been the biggest-grossing MMA struggle of all-time, but as is so frequently the case, politics ultimately ruined it.
Ken Shamrock vs. Tank Abbott
Throwbacks to a different age, arguably a different game, Ken Shamrock and Tank Abbott were the poster children of this UFC’s formative years. While the event was thought to be a subversive info-mercial to get Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, you have to feel that the cash guys were quietly yanking a Shamrock success at UFC 1. He was 220 pounds of chiselled muscle, and the only fighter in the mount using documented”free-fight” encounter, Shamrock had the look of an action hero and the capacity to back it up.
A few decades after, David”Tank” Abbott hit the spectacle. Watch MMA live or at a bar even today, and you will find no shortage of out-of-shape, beer-swilling loudmouths eager to share their view of how they would mop the floor with the men on TV. Abbott was the man, just he can mop the floor with a few of the men on TV. Fat, cocky and sporting roughly the same amount of teeth since he’d had karate course, Abbott was the manifestation of all that a martial artist was not assumed to be.
There’s a little MMA folklore that says Tank was brought into shed, thus proving the concept that the martial artist would always triumph over the thug. His (admittedly limited) wrestling background was played and he had been branded a’Pit Fighter’ in promotional material. When Tank began cracking heads in a number of the very abusive UFC fights of the era, a star was born, to the point that the company put him on a monthly wages; something not replicated since.
There was even legitimate bad blood between the two parties, together with Shamrock and his”Lion’s Den” after hunting down Abbott backstage after he’d caused difficulty. Ken never caught up with him either in the parking lot or even the cage, with both eventually leaving the company for professions in pro-wrestling. Their surprise early-00’s returns once again sparked hope of a superfight from the other generation, but for reasons unknown it was not supposed to be.
Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones
Ahead of the controversy that shelved him for that which would probably happen to be his fighting prime, few could argue that Jon Jones wasn’t at the absolute pinnacle of mixed martial arts. A world-class athlete, not only adept, but an expert in all aspects of the match, Jones looked insurmountable. In 2011he finished that which was arguably the best year’s work of any battle sports athlete, beating Ryan Bader,”Shogun” Rua,”Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto Machida in the area of just 10 months.
While Jones was painting an image of violence at the light-heavyweight division, Anderson Silva was making a masterpiece in middleweight. Nobody had previously cleared out such a talent-rich division and looked so untouchable in doing this. So absolute was Silva’s dominance, he’d double moved up a weight class and demolished his resistance. His claim to the title of’best ever’ might be challenged by a scant few.
White once cited his capacity to generate a Jones vs. Silva superfight happen as a tool which would define his own legacy as a promoter. Fate, as it is want to do, conspired against him. Silva’s standing plummeted following a set of losses and a failed drug test. Jones’ image was tarnished even further; while he didn’t falter in the cage, a run of self-inflicted’personal issues’ stripped”Bones” of his dignity, credibility and — most importantly — his own ability to compete.
Silva is past his prime and threatening retirement. Jones is concentrated firmly on regaining the light heavyweight title he never lost in the cage. Issues beyond the cage have almost certainly deprived us of one of the greatest struggles inside.
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