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Question of the Day: Does Having a Tough Day Job Make You a Tough Fighter?

Paulo Thiago
(He knew that if he lost to a guy with a bleached-blonde ‘fro all the murderers and crooks back home would never let him live it down.)

One of the genuinely interesting fights that’s being largely overshadowed by all the epic-ness on the UFC 100 fight card is the Jon Fitch/Paulo Thiago Battle for the Honor of the American Kickboxing Academy.  Or, if you prefer, you can think of it as our opportunity to find out whether Thiago is for real, or just a guy who landed one lucky punch on Josh Koscheck.  Either way, the fun story on Thiago is his day job as a BOPE officer in Brazil, which is basically a special forces police unit with the coveted title of “deadliest military force in Latin America.”  

Here’s what Thiago had to say about his work to Fighters Only:

“I live through ordinary situations for a person who chose such an occupation,” Thiago shrugs when asked about his day job. “We pray for action like shooting or whatever. I cannot use the aggressiveness like in MMA but I had to submit and strike many times during my job. I don’t like to hurt people but I had to fight them.”


Okay, so he has an awesomely bad-ass job.  But does that in any way help make him an awesomely bad-ass fighter?

Think about the contrast between Thiago and his opponent at UFC 100.  Fitch is a full-time fighter, doesn’t battle it out with criminals in favellas, but does spend pretty much every day in the gym.  Also, he has a college degree in education, which is basically the exact opposite of being on a Brazilian special forces team.  

But as great storyline as Thiago’s work makes for – and you can almost guarantee that Goldberg will mention it at least once during the UFC 100 broadcast – does it really tell us anything about the guy other than the fact that he has yet to completely devote himself to a career as a pro fighter?  What do you say, does fighting crime actually make him tougher and/or scarier inside the cage, where there are no weapons and considerably more rules, or is it just a cool thing to talk about in the same way that GSP’s background as a garbage man is?


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ihateemo- July 8, 2009 at 3:05 pm
Right, I would think it would factor into the mental preparedness but that's it. Those branches of employment attract people who have no reservations about seriously kicking ass, but whether they're actually any good at it is another thing entirely.

I'm more scared of people like Joe Lauzon who work in my field (I.T.) and then show up and decimate people.
FatIrishPirate- July 8, 2009 at 2:29 pm
As a former(read: medically retired due to completely fucked up knees) Marine, one of the problems with former military, and specifically with operators, their training for covert insertions, weapons handling, CQB and quick kill tactics, evasion and egress, and right down to hand to hand training is COMPLETELY different from MMA training in a gym. Whenever you have a SEAL step into the ring, he isnt fighting a terrorist, he is in a ring with an opponent. Thats it. Now real life, back alley, bar fight, the SEAL wins, hands down simply due to all the nasty little things that are outlawed in MMA to , i dont know, keep people alive? So military background only brings one thing: willingness to fight. How many of those military guys have really quit, or bitched out? thats the difference.
FatIrishPirate- July 8, 2009 at 2:28 pm
As a former(read: medically retired due to completely fucked up knees) Marine, one of the problems with former military, and specifically with operators, their training for covert insertions, weapons handling, CQB and quick kill tactics, evasion and egress, and right down to hand to hand training is COMPLETELY different from MMA training in a gym. Whenever you have a SEAL step into the ring, he isnt fighting a terrorist, he is in a ring with an opponent. Thats it. Now real life, back alley, bar fight, the SEAL wins, hands down simply due to all the nasty little things that are outlawed in MMA to , i dont know, keep people alive? So military background only brings one thing: willingness to fight. How many of those military guys have really quit, or bitched out? thats the difference.
LockDown- July 8, 2009 at 1:46 pm
@MMA Scalia

You don't know a shit about BOPE do you? I mean... BOPE officers pass throught violent stress conditions. Did you know how BOPE guys graduate? I recommend you to watch any BOPE recruitment cerimonial then we should talk about navy guys again.

Btw, the answer to the question of the topic is NO. As I said, Thiago can have a lot of advantage in the psychological aspect since he had already transpassed over stress conditions (kidnap dealing, fire trading against drug dealers in favelas, etc). He wouldn't feel any pressure stepping inside the octogon against Fitch, GSP or whoever else.
But, in the technical side Fitch is lightyears ahead Thiago. He is well versed in MMA, more well rounded and more experienced. In the best resolution, Thiago might lose via UD.
shartacus- July 8, 2009 at 1:44 pm
@ Fuck lord

Qft. Elite Troop was a great movie all the way around. I didn't know it was written by former members though. The level of corruption in their police department was fucking unreal. Awesome flick
Meohfumado- July 8, 2009 at 1:27 pm
Ok...so BOPE officer is pretty legit...but can he pull a Batman like Hardonk and save random people from being mugged on the streets of LA?



headcase- July 8, 2009 at 12:46 pm
831 Son --- What are you talking about? It makes sense to me, he does not enjoy hurting people on the street, but occasionally the situation, as part of his job, requires it. As far as the comment about "“We pray for action like shooting or whatever.", I would assume it is not so they can go kill someone, but to break up what is otherwise probably a pretty boring job at times.
u02jgc9- July 8, 2009 at 12:40 pm
Completely agree; he then says something to the effect: I don't like hurting people. I guess he enjoys killing them?? People like this bother me- it's like Brock Lesnar saying he'd pick a fight on every street if he could . . . just a bad gig
One Two- July 8, 2009 at 12:37 pm
A special forces unit in brazil you can guarantee they have some bad ass BJJ coaches.
MyFightWiffaCheeto- July 8, 2009 at 12:34 pm
No Judo... GSP really used to be a garbage man. He even said so on that Zuffa Produced GSP/BJ Penn three part special before Penn's slaughtering.
ArmFarmer- July 8, 2009 at 12:30 pm
Shonie Carter has fought multiple opponents at once on the street, been stabbed, and been shot at. He also didn't do much in the ufc, got a second chance on a reality show, and then didn't do much again.

Anderson Silva worked at McDonalds.
TheHuytonHandGrenade- July 8, 2009 at 12:21 pm
He aint usin none of his abseiling down buildings n shooting gangmembers with big gats in the octagon. Fitch is a badman and will seriously fuck Thiago up, some sort of knockout rnd 2
831 Son- July 8, 2009 at 12:12 pm
Then he goes on to contradict himself saying "I don’t like to hurt people but I had to fight them."
Fucklord- July 8, 2009 at 12:03 pm
The movie "Tropa De Elite" can give you a better understanding of what this guy came from, it's based on a tell-all book by 2 former BOPE captains
Derly- July 8, 2009 at 12:00 pm
Brian Stann is also a marine.

But then think guys opposite of the spectrum... Rich Franklin was a school teacher and he proved to be a bad ass who can seriously hurt you. Imagine going into class and seeing your teacher with a broken nose and two black-eyes...

Like posted above, your day job proves nothing. It might mean he's a certified bad ass, but which fighters are allowed in the cage without that certification?
agentsmith- July 8, 2009 at 11:58 am
And I still think the guy looks like Bert from Sesame Street.
agentsmith- July 8, 2009 at 11:54 am
If you've seen "City of God" you know that the shit that goes down in Brazilian ghettos makes American ghettos look like Beverly Hills. So I'm sure he sees some serious shit in his line of work, which no doubt "toughens" him up in one sense or another... but that doesn't equate to being a good fighter. I mean shit, BJ Penn is a whiney rich kid, but that didn't stop him from being the LW champ.
Mike Milbury- July 8, 2009 at 11:54 am
We pray for action like shooting or whatever

Really?
rokabee- July 8, 2009 at 11:49 am
When Cro Cop was smashing faces he was Anti-Terrorism unit. Expect the same for Thiago...but not against Fitch
Judo Im Right- July 8, 2009 at 11:47 am
Is garbage man code for bouncer? Or was this a test to see if we go to the hyperlinks?
El Famous Burrito- July 8, 2009 at 11:45 am
It'd be tough being a fat-ass goon named Tim Sylvia for a day and that hasn't helped him at all.
Fedor vs. Bas- July 8, 2009 at 11:45 am
Yea I have to agree with MMA Scalia. If anything not being a full time fighter works against him. Brett Rogers changed tires at Sam's Club, all that did was make him strong. Matt Hughes was a farm boy and lifted shitloads of hay. I dont think it is intimidating at all for the other fighter.

Only thing a person like that can benefit from is the mental preparation it takes to fight and stay calm when everything is going on. Beyond that its training, skills, and cardio.
MMA Scalia- July 8, 2009 at 11:34 am
The answer is No. Brandon Wolff was a former Navy Seal and he got destroyed by Ben Saunders at UFC Fight for the Troops. No doubt a Navy Seal gets trained better than whatever the hell a BOPE officer is.
shartacus- July 8, 2009 at 11:30 am
Someone's messing with the word filter again
shartacus- July 8, 2009 at 11:29 am
FIST MY ASSHOLE WITH BOB SAPPS FOREARM!
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