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Enough Jokes – Roy Nelson Needs To Leave The Heavyweight Division

By Elias Cepeda

Roy Nelson made history last night at UFC 161. No, he didn’t become just the second man in UFC history to score four consecutive first round knockout wins as I’m sure he hoped he would.

According to UFC President Dana White, “Big Country”, with the help of Stipe Miocic, instead set a record that is incredibly detrimental to his own health.“Roy Nelson broke a UFC record tonight: 437 significant strikes absorbed without being knocked out.  It’s a new UFC record,” White said.

We originally reported that number based on White’s statement. So did many other outlets, including MMA Weekly, Yahoo! Sports and MMA Fighting. A look over at FightMetric, the official statisticians for the UFC, however, reveals that Nelson absorbed only 106 strikes from Miocic.

White was probably using hyperbole to underscore a couple points about Nelson – how tough he is, how badly he got beaten, etc. – but it is telling that his 400 + strikes number didn’t strike many in the media as too far off.

Miocic knocked Nelson around that badly. And we’ve seen it happen before to the outspoken heavyweight.

Nelson probably should have taken a contract extension deal when it was offered to him by the UFC. He probably should not have fought Miocic just six weeks after his prior fight, a win over Cheick Kongo, and Nelson definitely shouldn’t be fighting in the heavyweight division.

Folks who respect and admire Nelson have been calling for the morbidly obese fighter to drop down to light heavyweight for years.

Forget all that.

Nelson has the height and frame of a tall lightweight or normal welterweight fighter. But instead of living a healthy lifestyle and fighting at, say, 170 pounds, the man has often had trouble of making the heavyweight limit of 265 pounds.

Roy Nelson clearly has a problem, and it isn’t just the fact that he can’t ever seem to be more than a punching bag any time he fights a top heavyweight – though it is related. The charismatic and gifted fighter has a consumption problem.

No kidding, right? But it’s time we get past the “haha, Roy is fat” stage and ponder for a second how sick he must be. For someone to be as large as he is, with the amount of exercise that he must do for fight training, he’d have to eat an obscene amount of food as a part of a grotesquely unbalanced diet.

Roy shouldn’t be in there with heavyweights. He’s just a welterweight with a gigantic gut, skinny legs and arms and a ton of heart.

We should no longer just admire Nelson’s heart, however, or be amazed at how well he does despite his self-imposed handicap. We, and more importantly he and the people who love him, should start thinking about the damage Nelson’s brain is sustaining taking so many blows from men who are so much bigger than he.

The fact that Nelson doesn’t get knocked out doesn’t mean that he isn’t getting concussed or suffering a great deal of sub concussive brain damage. He most certainly is.

Miocic did a number on him. Junior Dos Santos battered him. Fabricio Werdum shellacked him. Frank Mir bullied him.

Nelson isn’t competitive against the very best in the heavyweight division and he’s taking a lot of punishment insisting on fighting them. For either reason, or both, he needs to re-evaluate how he lives and at what weight he competes at.

Time isn’t the thirty six year old’s friend at this point. Unfortunately, his post-fight comments show that Nelson hasn’t learned his lesson. Hopefully Dana White, who expressed that he’s interested in bringing Nelson back after his contract expires in July, can help convince him to make changes.

“I want to get past this loss and fight,” Nelson said at the UFC 161 post event press conference.

“If Dana and Lorenzo [Fertita] want me to be in the UFC then hey, I’ll be knocking on Cain Velasquez’s door or whoever the champ is when I’m knocking on it.”

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ytrebil- June 17, 2013 at 8:24 am
I don't know the guy, but it's pretty clear that this grown up, professional athlete doesn't want to lose weight or drop down weight classes, so just let him be. If eating and staying fat makes him happy, who are we to judge?

Leave him be, he knows the risks and is educated enough in fitness to know.
FilmDrunk- June 17, 2013 at 7:40 am
Do we really need to write one of these every time the guy loses? He fought a dude who was a better boxer who he couldn't take down. Aren't fat guys allowed to have a bad matchup from time to time?
MMAExpertNewb- June 17, 2013 at 7:40 am
Totally disagree. Roy's problem is not that other people are too big. His problem is that he's too slow and doesn't have good boxing technique. So the solution is that is to put him against smaller people who are faster and have better boxing technique. He'd have more trouble there.
danomite- June 17, 2013 at 6:36 am
EDIT: should've said "nobody wants him to go there because he can have more success, we want him to go so he can stop getting hit..."
danomite- June 17, 2013 at 6:34 am
@austin- middleweight is where he should go, but nobody wants him to go there so he can stop getting hit with cement lunchboxes 437 times. The guys at middleweight aren't capable of putting the same amount of destructive power behind their punches as guys like JDS. As far as weight cutting goes, if he actually lost the fat he wouldn't have to cut anything. he's got the frame to walk around at 190 lbs. That's only 70 lbs from where he's at now. I lost 50 lbs in one year without even exercising and I was nowhere near as fat as Roy...I hope.
Cestus84- June 17, 2013 at 12:04 am
Maybe some sort of surgery can help. Stapling his stomach or lipo or something. Maybe he needs help losing the weight, but once it's off, he can learn to keep it off. I don't know, I just figured he can't lose the weight on his own using traditional methods.
coolsnow7- June 16, 2013 at 10:33 pm
Jesus christ, every single member of the media is getting this wrong. It's 437 significant strikes IN HIS UFC CAREER without getting knocked out. Can someone please tell Ben Fowlkes, Dave Doyle, and everyone else as well? Please?
Austin3210- June 16, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Here's the thing, though:
Who's to say Roy does any better at LHW? Again, look at the fight itself, not Roy's gut, and you'll see that he just fought stupid. The guy is a BJJ black belt. When is the last time we've seen him even *attempt* an *attempt* at a submission? He bought into his own hype and paid the price, not because he's undersized.

Also, let's not forget how long a weight cut of that magnitude would take to do in a healthy manner. I understand he wouldn't be cutting muscle, but that doesn't mean it'd be any easier on a guy who's been fighting with that weight for a very, very long time. Throw in the fact that the guy is in his late 30s as it is, and then it almost seems pointless.

Hell, he may not even feel right at 205 trying to fight after a career of using essentially would have been an entirely different body.

I'm not much of a Nelson fan, if one even at all, and I certainly don't agree with his choice of being so large, but demanding a weight cut this late in the game seems rather pointless. You may as well go ahead and call for his retirement if you're going to call for anything. Because if he needs to cut all that weight to be successful after all this time (which we still don't know would happen), he may as well call it quits. That's generally where this weight cutting road leads to anyhow.
Honeynutts- June 16, 2013 at 8:31 pm
This isn't a new concept. Roy himself pulled a facebook stunt a year or two ago saying if he got enough fans he'd make the drop. He got the likes and still didn't make the cut. The problem isn't just that he's small framed for heavyweight, the problem is that he's a fat guy that doesn't have the cardio to fight more than one round. Unless he gets the early knockout, his fights suck. It's 10+ minutes of him just taking a beating which is the worst of mma.
Mr_Misanthropy- June 16, 2013 at 6:32 pm
I don't see what the commotion is all about. Roy fought incredibly stupid, stupider than usual, and Stipe fought the fight of his life. I think Roy backed himself into a corner by being belligerent and getting high on his own supply. I think he didn't take the time to properly prepare for this fight.

He didn't do anything to try to set up his shots and started fighting with desperation mid way through the first round when he wasn't able to land anything on Miocic and he started getting hit with multiple shot combinations. Stipe started circling away from his transparent attempts to land the overhand right haymaker and countering with straights and hooks in the first round and Roy didn't even try to throw lefts or do any unpredictable movement until about the 13 minute mark. By then he was so tired he was lumbering around like a palsied wildebeest trying to fight off a pack of hyaenas after getting chomped in the leg by a crocodile at the local mud hole.

bloodyfart- June 16, 2013 at 4:18 pm
I'm not going to disagree with the fact that Roy is out of place at 265 or that he should live cleaner but it's hard to hype a guy as looking for his 4th win in the first round one minute and then say he can't compete at hw. Will he be champ? Nope. But he's a solod mid tier talent
danomite- June 16, 2013 at 4:14 pm
@austin - that's the whole point. He wins 2-3, starts building momentum, gets thrown in against some top level guys and they bounce his head around like a giant basketball for 15 minutes. then he takes a few easier fights, gets a couple wins and then gets hit head bounced around again. If he keeps that 'wait and see' attitude he'll eventually find himself 40 years old and having trouble putting sentences together.

The difference between Roy and other guys who fall into this same pattern is that those guys are already at their lowest weight class. They can't drop down but Roy can, so that's why people are asking him to do it.

I like the idea of roy being sponsored by weight watchers or nutrasystem. He'll get a big sponsor and lose weight at the same time. If Mike golic's fat ass can lose 50 lbs, so can Roy's fat ass.
dranokills- June 16, 2013 at 3:52 pm
Those who just LOVE them some Roy, wasn't that just a touching piece of art by Cepeda?
.........well guess what? for those of us who don't like the fat fuck, and those of us who think hes a smartass fatman who refuses to listen to reason, and his betters and keeps on making jokes and rubbing his Buddha belly and thinking hes all that, well we feel this is sweet fucking justice. I would like to see him leave. I don't care what weight division he fights in, as long as he loses, I am happy. as for brain damage, that is just wishful fucking thinking dude, first you gotta find his brain.
kayla1231- June 16, 2013 at 3:16 pm
before I looked at the draft of $6117, I didn't believe brother woz like they say truley receiving money parttime at there labtop.. there brothers friend has been doing this for under 18 months and resantly paid for the mortgage on there apartment and bourt a great new Chevrolet. we looked here,
SquirrelBoy- June 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm
Weight Watchers should sponsor Roy...that way the UFC an put Jessica Simpson and Kim Kardashian ringside
enrikk- June 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm
And then "accidentally" lock Kardashian in the cage with Gina Carano and watch a hot chick we love beat up a hot chick we don't. That would be awesome!
Oh and Simpson in UFC shorts would just be delicious icing on that cake!
2DaDeath- June 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm
You ever consider how damaging weight cutting is? At least Roy comes in fight night feeling like himself instead of like an Auschwitz prisoner.
Elias- June 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm
I have considered it. Do you know what weight cutting is? I'm not saying Nelson should lose 80-100 pounds of water weight in a couple week's time each time out - I'm saying he should improve his lifestyle so that he becomes a healthier individual and fighter
Austin3210- June 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm
I get why everyone wants Nelson to drop to 205, I do, but can we just take a step back for a second? I'm not saying Roy Nelson is a natural heavyweight, and I'm not saying that he should be there, but isn't this the same narrative we always get? It's the same story after every Roy Nelson loss. Roy loses, then everyone suddenly pipes up and starts talking about how he needs to cut weight, again. But when he's knocking heavyweights out? Then everyone just wants to see him fight other heavyweights. Just several weeks ago people were wanting Roy Nelson vs DC, or Roy Nelson vs Mark Hunt.

How about we take it at face value for a moment. Roy Nelson walked into a fight with one thought: Right hand, right hand, right hand. He did nothing to set it up, he didn't try to possibly take Stipe down or at the least press him against the fence and make Stipe carry his body weight. He had no plan. Any other fighter, this would be enough for us to accept. People do it all the time.

So, can we step back, for just one moment, and just let the guy get another fight or two, see what happens and then decide whether or not he should be at 205? Because, whether you want to admit it or not, once he knocks out a couple of guys again, everyone will forget 205 (again) and talk about which heavyweight he should fight next.
deco08- June 16, 2013 at 10:57 am
It is funny that most guys out there can't not go over (forgive) the fact that the guy is fat("morbiously fat" really man?) and small. That's the kind of bully mentallity that I think tarnishes the MMA FAN image. Even though I know it does matter, size (specifically, height and weight) should not be a decesive factor in this sport; as a matter of fact, it has been proved by guys like Fedor, Cormier, Hunt, edgar, Couture (What about age?) --And on the other side of the spectrum, Duffee, Chong man Choi, Sapp, A. Johnson.
This being said, I would love to see Roy at LH or even Middleweight, and I think that using your face to stop those lunchboxes of hands that HW ussually have is not a good idea and promises a worst future.
Elias- June 16, 2013 at 2:10 pm
What is there to "get over"? Look up the definition of "morbidly obese." Roy Nelson is morbidly obese. And my problem with it is that it is unhealthy for him as a person and unhealthy for him as a fighter. For obvious reasons of risk of heat attack, diabetes, stroke, etc. But also because he is fighting at a higher weight, against heavier guys, than a man of his stature should be and as a result, he's taking bad beatings and taking them often. That is out of concern, not bullying. I'd have zero chance of bullying around Roy Nelson, even if I wanted to
Phatdan78- June 16, 2013 at 10:41 am
It wasnt for a single fight, it was for significant strikes eaten without being knocked out during a ufc career.
Elias- June 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm
Phatdan, yeah, I saw that error in my report and tried to address it in an edit. Thanks for pointing it out, though, I appreciate it.
northandclark- June 16, 2013 at 10:18 am
danomite- June 16, 2013 at 9:05 am
@coachscott - of course no one is going to call for a guy to drop a weight class right after he knocks somebody out. But this isn't the first time people have asked him to drop down. They do it after every fight in which he gets completely outclassed and battered. The point is, the chances of him putting together enough wins at HW to get a title shot are slim to none and the chances of him taking unnecessary brain trauma are high. He might not be able to get to 170 but he could easily make 185. people forget that Joe Riggs used to fight at 230 lbs before he dropped to 170.
anderson wanderlei paulo thiago alves silva- June 16, 2013 at 8:48 am
We wanted him at 205 years ago. I created a Facebook page just to like his page to get him to drop down to 205. Mike dolce offered to help him make the weight drop. In respect his story is like hendos. Light weight knocking out heavy weights.
coachscotttneal- June 16, 2013 at 8:39 am
Your taking away the fact that its wasn't his weight that beat himself. The fact is that Miocic put a boxing clinic on Nelson. Stipe took Away the one punch strategy that Roy always uses to knock out his opponents. in return, Miocic following up with razor sharp boxing counter punching and combinations.
There were no critics saying anything when Big Country came in at the same shape and knocking big heavy weights out is previous fights..
But now he needs to leave that heavyweight division?
Elias- June 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm
You are saying this is the first time that people have called for Nelson to drop weight? It happens every year, after every fight, win or lose.