Thanks everybody for your responses. Anybody who has followed my career knows that I’ve always loved interacting with my fans. This blog gives me a chance to keep in the game, at least mentally. I’ve had a few hits to the head and I suffer from some memory loss but I hope that this column helps to dispel some myths and educate you about the things I’ve learned throughout my life. Some of your questions had me cracking up, and most of you clearly have way too much time on your hands. It’s good to be half man, half amazing and black by popular demand…
‘MyDonkeyPunch’ asks: What was the craziest thing a fighter whispered to you when fighting?
Usually I was the one trash-talking during the fights so I’ll tell you about one of the coolest things that anybody ever whispered to me outside of the ring. After I won one of my K-1 fights in Las Vegas, I got the opportunity to meet Muhammad Ali who was there to present a trophy to the GP winner. Ali had always been my hero growing up so meeting him was a dream come true. When I shook Muhammad Ali’s hand, he pulled me in a close embrace and whispered, “You’re one tough nigger.” I was so honored and excited and it was hard to describe how much that experience meant to me.
‘bgoldstein’ asks: Fill in the blank: __% of fighters use steroids.
Let me answer this question by making an analogy. What percentages of race car drivers use high-quality gasoline? The reason why I ask that is because when you’re running a high-performance vehicle you want to use the fuel that will give you the greatest edge in winning. If you are not using the same quality of fuel as all of the other top drivers, you will start to fall behind no matter how good your engine is.
‘MyDonkeyPunch’ (again) asks: What is the most awkward moment you’ve had backstage at an event?
It was always very awkward to have to try and change backstage when people had their girlfriends, wives or the mothers in the room. There was very little privacy in the dressing rooms of Pride and nobody would leave when fighters were changing into their jocks, etc. It seemed like every time that I’d go to put on my jock or tie up the strap, somebody would be looking. People would pretend like they weren’t watching you, but they would actually be watching your meat fall out of the side of your jock. I know it made a lot of the fighters uncomfortable
‘RWilsonR’ asks: What was the most corrupt fight promotion you’ve worked for?
This is a hard question to answer, even as a retired fighter. You’d have to be a little more specific in your definition of corrupt. At this point in my career, I can truly say that I think all of the promotions are corrupt in some way or another. I often didn’t see the corruption because most fighters weren’t directly involved but I was always aware that corruption was going on. Some promotions are just better at hiding their shadiness than others.
‘danomite’ asks: Who is your favorite fighter now and who is your favorite fighter of all time?
Right now my favorite fighter would have to be Chris Leben, the guy who dyes his hair red. I like watching Leben fight because he is very aggressive. He has a similar style to Wanderlei Silva and Gilbert Yvel. They are all aggressive power punchers who brought the fight to their opponents every time. It’s the type of style that I always fought with. I like guys that are always coming forward. A lot of other fighters are really good at what they do and I respect that. However, my favorite fighters have always been really aggressive.
‘ElFamousBurrito’ asks: Which style of competition do you prefer: Old-school no-holds-barred UFC? K-1? PRIDE-style MMA (ring, knees, soccer kicks)? The modern “Unified Rules” of MMA (cage, elbows, no knees to grounded opponent)?
For the most part, I don’t really care about rules. I always just wanted to fight, no matter what the style was. However, when I fought a guy like Pedro Otavio in Vale Tudo and almost turned his nuts into peanut butter, it was an entirely different game. Also, switching between Pride and K-1 meant that I sometimes made accidental mistakes and went to throw a knee or a strike to a grounded opponent when I wasn’t supposed to. That’s why I think unifying the rules is a good thing. I think that it’s important for the sport to be as safe as possible in order for it grow. The old school guys like me put it on the line and suffered some of the consequences…hopefully it wasn’t for nothing and the sport continues improving.