16 Mar 2012 06:47:30 AM
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 email@example.com. This week’s topic: Who’s your favorite MMA fighter to never win a major title?
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.Read More ADD COMMENTS (49) DIGG THIS