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CagePotato Roundtable #3: Who’s Your Favorite Fighter to Never Win a Major Title?


(In the heart of the child who made it, the Super HLUK belt is the most prestigious title on the planet.)

CagePotato Roundtable is our new recurring column in which the CP writing staff and some of our friends all get together to debate an MMA-related topic. Joining us this week is MiddleEasy.com founder Zeus Tipado, who was kind enough to smoke an entire bag of PCP and channel the spirit of Wallid Ismail. If you have a suggestion for a future Roundtable column, send it to tips@cagepotato.comThis week’s topic: Who’s your favorite MMA fighter to never win a major title?

Ben Goldstein

We take personality for granted these days. Everywhere you look, the MMA ranks are packed with shameless self-promoters, aspiring comedians, unrepentant assholes, and assorted clown-men. But in the UFC’s infancy, fighters tended to come in two types: Stoic (see Royce Gracie, Dan Severn) and certifiably insane ( see Joe Son, Harold Howard). David “Tank” Abbott changed all that. He entered the UFC with a fully-fledged persona, and managed to stay in character through his entire career. Simply put, he was the UFC’s first villain, and he played that role more effectively than anyone has since.

Heralded as a “pit fighter” — a term invented by UFC promoter Art Davie — Tank’s martial art of choice was hitting guys in the head really hard, which he did while wearing the sort of fingerless gloves that soon become industry standard. It’s difficult to overstate the impact that Tank’s debut at UFC 6 had on a 14-year-old Ben Goldstein as I was watching the pay-per-view at my friend Josh’s house. It wasn’t just that Abbott starched John Matua in a mere 18 seconds, or that Matua’s body seized up when his head hit the canvas. It’s that Tank reacted to the knockout by mimic-ing Matua’s stiffened pose. Tank actually mocked John Matua for having a seizure. Ruthless! And how about his destruction of Steve Nelmark at the Ultimate Ultimate ’96, which had to be the first “oh shit is that guy dead?” moment in UFC history. Tank was a living reminder that the UFC was very real, and very dangerous.

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CagePotato Roundtable #2: What Was the Greatest Robbery in MMA History?

CagePotato Roundtable is our new recurring column in which the CP writing staff and some of our friends all get together to debate an MMA-related topic. Joining us this week is former CagePotato staff writer Chad Dundas, who now writes for an up-and-coming blog called ESPN. If you have a suggestion for a future Roundtable column, send it to tips@cagepotato.com.

CagePotato reader Alexander W. writes: “The Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall fight inspired my suggestion: Greatest robberies in MMA history. I’d be curious to hear the variety of opinions out there. Surely that fight was a top ten.”

Chad Dundas

There are a lot of things about Pride Total Elimination 2003 that don’t make sense when viewed with modern MMA sensibilities. How to even comprehend a world where a skinny, haired-up, suit jacket-wearing Dana White could bet Pride bigwigs $250,000 that Chuck Liddell was going to win that company’s 2003 middleweight grand prix? Or comprehend that a bizarrely dangerous and clearly-enunciating Liddell showed up in the first round of said tournament and KTFOed an impossibly svelte Alistair Overeem? Or that Overeem had an old dude in a robe and shriners hat accompany him to the ring while carrying a big foam hammer? Or that on this night somebody got tapped out with a sleeve choke? Or that Wanderlei Silva fought Kazushi Sakuraba and it didn’t just make everybody feel sad and empty?

No sense at all.

What does still sort of make sense is this: After watching Liddell sleep Overeem, there was no way on God’s green Earth that Pride judges were going to let another UFC emissary walk out of Saitama Super Arena with a win*, so they conspired to pull off one of the greatest screwjobs in MMA history when they awarded Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira a unanimous decision over Ricco Rodriguez. The indisputable fact is, Ricco whipped Big Nog good that night, taking him down, brutalizing him, shaking off his feeble submission attempts and controlling pretty much the whole affair. At least, that’s how I remember it. Unfortunately, due to Zuffa’s ongoing war on Internet piracy it seems their bout will only be remembered by history and by the creepy old man who answers the queries you submit to the Sherdog Fight Finder.

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CagePotato Roundtable #1: What’s Your Favorite Come-From-Behind Win in MMA History?

CagePotato Roundtable is a new recurring column in which the CagePotato writing staff (and some of our friends) share their opinions on an MMA-related topic, and hopefully inspire some discussion among our readers as well. For the inaugural installment, we took inspiration from Joe Rogan’s enthusiastic crowning of last weekend’s Tim Boetch vs. Yushin Okami fight as “the greatest comeback in the history of the UFC.” That’s debatable, to say the least — but isn’t everything? So what *was* the greatest comeback fight in MMA history?

Seth Falvo
When Joe Rogan first called The Barbarian’s victory the greatest comeback in UFC history, my first thought was “Come on, Joe, are you seriously the only MMA fan who hasn’t seen Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Bob Sapp?” That comeback exposed Sapp for the overhyped freak that he was while establishing the legend of Big Nog and his ability to come from behind to win fights. Hell, we at Cagepotato consider it to be the best freak show fight to ever come out of Japan. But in fairness to Joe Rogan, that fight didn’t take place in the UFC. So my second thought was “Come on, Joe, are you seriously the only UFC fan who hasn’t seen Mike Russow vs. Todd Duffee?”

What makes this comeback so great was the fact that Todd Duffee and Mike Russow were essentially photo negatives of each other. Before this fight, Duffee was destined to be the next big thing in the UFC’s heavyweight division, having just tied the record for the fastest knockout in UFC history in his promotional debut against Tim Hague. Duffee was on the cover of Muscle & Fitness, the poster boy for Muscletech and seemingly in every men’s magazine on the planet — no matter how loosely the content was related to sports. Meanwhile, Russow was quietly coming off of a unanimous decision victory over Justin McCully in his UFC debut and had more fat in his left bicep than Todd Duffee had in his entire body. Everything about this fight seemed like it was a squash match.

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