It’s a real shame that most hockey fans unfamiliar with MMA might never know that the greatest hockey brawl of all time actually took place during an MMA fight. No, not Bosse vs. Alexander, I’m talking about Frye vs. Takayama.
Frye vs. Takayama is the kind of epic, go-for-broke brawl that transcends all sports, really — the kind of fight that threw away technique, common sense, and any semblance of a gameplan and simply boiled down to pure machismo and who had more of it (Frye, obviously). And on Saturday night, hockey finally got its Frye vs. Takayama, in the form of a brawl between Joel Theriault and Gaby Roch that took place during a Quebec-based LNAH semi-pro game.
The feeling out process lasts approximately 5 seconds before Theriault and Roch clinch up and start unloading bombs on one another. Clearly not having read my column on MMA moves that would serve well in a hockey fight, neither player opts for a guillotine choke or Muay Thai plum, but even more incredible than Theriault and Roch’s grit and unbreakable chins is what they do once the refs finally step in. First they high-five, then they hug.
It’s one of those rare, truly beautiful moments that cannot even be ruined by the presence of Five Finger Death Punch’s music blaring in the background. Because, as the classic Mr. Show “I’ll marry your stupid ass” sketch has taught us, there’s a mutual respect to be found when someone realizes that the person they are quarreling with is as much a badass as they believe themselves to be. And hopefully, this fight will help bridge the gap between hockey and MMA fans for years to come.