(“Matt Horwich’s ‘Infinitely Accelerating Current Of Creativity’ is a searing literary masterpiece … an engrossing epic about the triumph of the human spirit.” – New York Times Book Review. VidProps: YouTube/KarynBryant)
Lost in the shuffle of our despair over Jens Pulver’s sixth straight defeat and the tedium of Tim Sylvia slouching all over Paul Buentello at PWP’s War on the Mainland show this weekend was that longtime MMA journeyman and noted insane-iac Matt Horwich won the promotion’s middleweight title with a fourth-round submission over Thales Leites. Long a practitioner of Nogueira-style Zombie Fighting – wherein you take as many punches to the face necessary to get the fight to the ground – Horwich weathered some early bluster from Leites before locking on a rear naked choke with less than a minute left in the first championship round. That’s just how the undead do, playboy.
Also true to form, shit didn’t really start to get weird until the post-fight interview, when MMA Heat’s Karyn Bryant caught up with Horwich to get his thoughts on life, the universe and everything. Horwich was only too happy to oblige, talking about his poetry, the relativity of subatomic particles, string theory and submission grappling. If you want to see a textbook example of a reporter doing the “smile and nod” check out Bryant at the 58-second mark, when Horwich mentions for the first time what a “beautiful multiverse” we live in. Cuz she’s a straight-up pro, Bryant immediately marshals the troops and asks Horwich if he’s “going to write a song” about this win. I mean, of course he is. Later, Bryant says something about a fight being a “unity of two bodies.” Dude, Karyn, inappropriate.
The win earned Horwich – an early member of Team Quest now training at Legends MMA in Hollywood – the second “notable” title of his seven-year career. The first came in 2007, when he dealt Benji Radach one of the most improbable knockouts in the history of the sport to become the IFL’s inaugural middleweight champ. Two months later he lost his first title defense to Ryan McGivern. Horwich also made an unsuccessful swing through the UFC in 2008-09, dropping fights to Dan Miller and Ricardo Almeida, and has since been relegated to the independent scene.
The win over Leites, in a fight where Horwich was a late replacement for Falaniko Vitale, has to be considered the biggest of his recent career, given that the Brazilian is at least still listed in the Top 20 – ahead of dudes like Yoshihiro Akiyama, Paulo Filho and Hector Lombard – according to the USA Today/SB Nation MMA rankings. A 4-6 record in his last 10 fights, coupled with his apparent craziness probably makes Horwich a tough sell to any of the major MMA promotions at this point, however. He’s most likely to play out the rest of his career hovering around the .500 mark in smaller shows, while breaking off non sequiturs to whatever journalists are brave enough to stick a mic in front of his face.
For a guy as “unique” as Horwich – who now says his nickname is “The Lion of God, Limit-Smasher” (Get on it, Wikipedia) – that alone has to be considered something of a success.