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Classic Story Alert: The One Where Matt Lindland Slaps His Money on the Bar and Offers to Fight Royce Alger


("What part of ‘No, I am not interested in becoming a Jehovah’s Witness *or* accepting your complementary copies of "The Watchtower"’ do you not understand?" PicProps: Strikeforce)

Since the UFC and Strikeforce are set to go head-to-head tonight with dueling shows, we feel it’s only right to pass along another fairly fascinating story courtesy of Old Dad’s ongoing “My First Fight” series over on MMAFighting. This particular gem involves Matt Lindland, who at 40 years old faces a must-win against Robbie Lawler in Strikeforce tonight and prior to that was a royal pain in the UFC’s ass from about 2000-05.

The following story is an example of what we might call “classic Lindland behavior.” It also could serve as a good litmus test for any aspiring fighters out there who may be questioning if they have what it takes to make it in MMA. The test is this: When confronted by a man who tries to crush your dreams, how do you respond? Do you A) Nod sheepishly and slink away? Or B) Offer to fight that man for all the money you have in your wallet? If you answered B, you sir, are a fighter. You may also be Matt Lindland.


Picture it: Nebraska, 1996. A wide-eyed,  26-year-old, probably infinitely more hairy Matt Lindland is coaching college wrestling in Lincoln and dreaming of breaking into the burgeoning no holds barred fighting scene. Only problem is, he doesn’t really know how to get started, so when he happens upon former Iowa wrestler Royce “The Farmer” Alger (who is about to make his debut at UFC 13) at a local watering hole, he takes the opportunity to ask him for some pointers. Being a wrestler, you can imagine Alger giving Lindland his best Clint Eastwood stare and then telling him, “Don’t bother, kid.”

"He was like ‘Oh, you can’t do this. You wouldn’t be any good at it,’" Lindland remembers. "I kind of said, ‘Okay, but I think I want to give it a shot.’ You know, thanks for the non-advice. But then he just kept going on and on about how Greco guys couldn’t do this. I was just looking at him like, are you drunk or something? It was a weird conversation.”

Finally, after tolerating all he could handle of the obvious disrespect, Linland makes Alger a simple offer: “I told him, ‘I would fight you right here, right now,’” he says.

Alger scoffs at this notion, telling Lindland that as a self-respecting professional he only fights for money these days. Big mistake. Lindland naturally, responds by saying "No problem," pulling out his wallet and slapping all his cash on the bar. “I went in there and laid it all down on the counter,” he says. “He just kind of laughed and walked away."

In other words: Point taken.

A few months later, Lindland got the opportunity to make his actual MMA debut as part of a 32-man tournament in a now defunct organization somewhere in Alabama. The only training he did for the event was to compete in a wrestling tourney at heavyweight. The rest, he thought, would come naturally. "I figured boxing was just punching people," he says. "I’d punched people before."

We bet he had. Anyway, Lindland ended up forcing his first-ever opponent into a stoppage in such quick fashion that the dude got up complaining that the fight shouldn’t have been called off so fast. How do you think Lindland responded to that? “I told him to go back to his corner and we’d start over," he says. And so they did. And Lindland won again.

When that happens it’s a pretty good indication that you might be a fighter. You may also be Matt Lindland. Alger, as you know, went on to go 0-2 in the UFC (3-2 overall) conceding an arm bar loss to Enson Inoue at UFC 13 and knockout to Eugene Jackson at UFC 21.

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agentsmith- December 6, 2010 at 10:58 am
Avoid trading shots with a guy who's a much much better striker? Matt Lindland wouldn't do that either.
Mr_Misanthropy- December 5, 2010 at 7:13 am
How about the story where Matt Lindland keeps getting knocked unconscious for increasingly long periods of time in his twilight years? He still seems a bit obstinate though.
internet tufguy- December 4, 2010 at 6:01 pm
I went to a Royce Alger wrestling camp in hs. He was a cocky prick, but one hell of a wrestler. I believe it was right around the time he was making the move into fighting (like '93 or '94). He seemed a little jaded with wrestling, cause he kept talking about there being no money in wrestling. It was almost to the point of discouraging kids from pursuing the sport. I believe that story about him in the bar.
DazedNConfused- December 4, 2010 at 4:53 pm
That's an awesome story. Lindland is a crazy motherfucker haha, best of luck to him. Even though he's aged, who cares? that only means his crazyness and ego has increased.
JCVD as Timecop- December 4, 2010 at 4:17 pm
I liked it when Belfort left Lindland twitching on the mat. I laughed heartily.
ashkenaziTROLL- December 4, 2010 at 3:19 pm
jew faggot
Del Fuego- December 4, 2010 at 12:43 pm
He gave the guy a do-over? That is confidence.
Kimbos Bread- December 4, 2010 at 12:37 pm
No offense to the former Olympian, but I just don't care about Lindland anymore.
Charming Charlie- December 4, 2010 at 11:06 am
That picture of Lindland reminds me of a Mangalore: www.moesrealm.com/img/fifth_element_04.jpg
Charming Charlie- December 4, 2010 at 11:02 am
Lindland ended up forcing his first-ever opponent into a stoppage in such quick fashion that the dude got up complaining that the fight shouldn't have been called off so fast. How do you think Lindland responded to that? “I told him to go back to his corner and we'd start over," he says. And so they did. And Lindland won again.

A snippet from Ben Goldstien's sister-series, Steve Mazzagatti: My First Ref.
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