(“Half the game is 90% mental” — Timothy Deane Sylvia)
Over the weekend, we received the disheartening news that former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia had decided to retire from MMA after showing up at a whopping 371 pounds and being declared medically unfit to compete in his scheduled super-heavyweight contest at Reality Fighting 53. It was the latest in a series of depressing setbacks for the former champion, who its hard to believe was angling for another shot in the UFC as recently as last year.
But long before the rapid weight gain, the desperate cries for attention, and the embarrassing losses, “The Maine-iac” was actually a pretty decent fighter — a “poster child for over-achievement” (as Pat Miletich put it) and testament to the notion that, with enough hard work, even the most athletically maladroit can rise to great heights.
And we know what you’re thinking, “You’re just setting this all up so you can rip on Sylvia’s weight for 1000 words.” And to be honest, we considered it. But rather than kick a man while he’s down, we’re going to play it straight with this: A tribute to the most memorable performances (for better or for worse) from one of the UFC’s most memorable heavyweight champions.
Fatty Boom-Boom ”The Maine-iac”, hear him roar.
Sylvia vs. Cabbage Correia
Heading into his UFC debut at UFC 39: The Warriors Return, Sylvia was riding a ridiculous 13 fight win streak that included victories over future UFC alums Jason Lambert, Ben Rothwell, and Mike Whitehead. Paired against the similarly debuting Cabbage Correira, Sylvia brought a near perfect gameplan with him, blistering his iron-jawed foe with stiff jabs and uppercuts from the clinch until Cabbage’s corner was forced to throw in the towel early in the second round. It was such a dominant win that Sylvia was immediately given a title shot against the OG coke-snorting champion, Ricco Rodriguez.