Graduate school has been a wonderful and agonizing experience and I’m barely done with week one. Without a really meaty fight card this weekend (no, Melvin Guillard on Bellator doesn’t qualify as news) I figured I’d feed my ego and teach my readers a little bit about me for some easy views. Don’t worry I’ll try my best to keep it interesting!
This is about the fight that started it all.
About 8 years ago when I was still in high school, I was channel flipping when I came across UFC Wired. As I understood, it was a program that would replay previous pay-per-view fights for free. Perfect! So I got a snack and plopped down in front of my standard definition TV as the show flipped on.
Oh man that introduction.
It would make new fans laugh, because it was cheesy garbage in comparison to the far more polished UFC Reloaded but to a new fan it was incredible. It was a hodgepodge of the craziest highlights up until that point including Matt Hughes choking Frank Trigg standing and Gabriel Gonzaga’s decapitation of Mirko Cro Cop. All while “Ladies and Gentlemen” by Saliva blared, syncing perfectly with the crumpling bodies.
It was bad ass.
I don’t remember if Frank Mir vs. Wes “Wild Man” Sims II was the first fight on the episode or simply the only fight I remember. Hell at the time I didn’t even know it was a rematch until Joe began referencing their last fight in the commentary.
In the first 10 seconds Frank Mir ducked a wild punch from Sims and rag dolled him to the canvas.
Heavyweight importance gets an eye roll nowadays and rightfully so; the idea that the “biggest” and baddest man is the best fighter is horribly outdated. Cain Velasquez being hailed as “the baddest man on the planet” ahead Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre (far better fighters) was ridiculous.
But on some level . . . I get it.
Mir and Sims were 6′ 3″ and 6′ 10″ respectively and watching Mir lift the behemoth up by his hips and slam him down was awe inspiring to a new fan. Hell it still inspires me today. It was the type of athletic feat you immediately call your friends to the TV to witness and tell your friends about (if any of your friends watched UFC).
Oh and on another note you know how Frank Mir is about 250 lbs now and looks old and bloated from injuries? You see that limber, almost unrecognizable fighter slamming Sims? He was still 250 lbs. If you’re a more recent fight fan and hear people wax poetic about Frank Mir, understand that before his debilitating motorcycle accident he was a freak athlete that probably could’ve evenly matched with Brock Lesnar.
Then Frank transitioned into a mount and went for Sims’s arm.
The thing about striking is that while it is easily the more visually appealing aspect of mixed martial arts, it’s also the aspect fans know about the least. Unless a fighter has some truly incredible firepower, it’s difficult to shock or enthrall a fan with striking. But grappling was a whole different story.
Read any mixed martial arts biographies and most (if not all) will tell you how utterly alien Brazilian Jiu-jitsu was. Royce Gracie isn’t legendary because he’s necessarily one of the best fighters of all time but because no one and I mean NO one had ever seen people do what he did.
Watching this 250 lb behemoth of a man smoothly slide over his opponent to begin wrenching his arm was incredible. He didn’t get the tap, and the rest of the round was played out on the ground where Frank would continually pound away at Sims while the latter could do little but inexpertly bridge and try to roll out.
I do want to say one thing about Joe Rogan. For all the flak he gets about being biased and “bro”-ish (both which have truth to them), the fact is that he is brilliant at introducing new fans to the finer aspects of the sport. His excitement whenever Mir transitioned while sprinkling in relevant commentary to his mechanics made me google everything I could learn on BJJ.
That’s a commentator/promoter’s job and he deserves a fair share of the credit for making me the fan I am today.
Mir opened the second round by grounding and pounding Sims again only to have his enormous opponent somehow get back to the feet. Mir launched another takedown only to have it sprawled and eat knee after knee to the gut as he tried desperately to ground Sims again.
Mir eventually dragged Sims down only to be stood up near the end of the round due to inactivity. The Wild Man was far bloodier but Frank’s face showed signs of damage around his right eye. It wasn’t a classic but to sixteen year old me, it was a war. I’d watched a man get mauled for the better part of 10 minutes only to come back and make a fight of it.
On the feet both fighters were exhausted. Mir landed a half hearted leg kick only to eat a 2-1 combination in return. As Sims went to follow up with another right hand Mir slipped underneath as if to go for a takedown, but instead came upstairs to secure a thai clinch. Then he delivered a fight ending combination that has burned itself into my memory forever.
Sims, tough SOB that he was, couldn’t survive it. He crumpled to the mat as the referee literally tackled Mir off of him to spare him further damage.
It was a hell of a fight to come into the sport on.
I’d seen punches, kicks, knees, takedowns, submission attempts, blood, heart and an absolutely brutal knock out. A week later a group of friends asked me to go to Buffalo Wild Wings with them to watch Anderson Silva fight Patrick Cote and the rest is history.
So fans, what was the fight that got YOU into the sport?