(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?