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Tag: Stankie

Classic Fight: The Old Vitor Belfort Destroys Tank Abbott at UFC 13

(Phenom vs. Tank, 5/30/97. Props: UFCVitorVBelfort)

In their continuing efforts to convince you that Vitor Belfort has at least a puncher’s chance against Jon Jones at UFC 152, the UFC has just made the Vitor Belfort vs. Tank Abbott fight from UFC 13 available on YouTube. Just 20 years old at the time, Belfort had made his Octagon debut three months prior at UFC 12, winning the four-man heavyweight bracket in a combined fight time of two minutes. Belfort’s subsequent “superfight” against Abbott — still a somewhat legitimate competitor back then — turned out to be another blitzkrieg. In just 52 seconds, it was all over.

But even more so than the overwhelming striking performance from the Phenom, I think my favorite part of this video is 3:30-3:41, where Belfort calls out for his beloved trainer “Stankie,” and we get a glimpse at a younger (but still pretty old) Al Stankiewicz. Then, we see that Stankie’s hands are wrapped as if he was going to fight that night. Classic.

In a related story, betting odds for Jones vs. Belfort have calmed down somewhat, and the champ is being offered as low as -740. You can also turn $100 into $12,000 if you bet that the fight will be a draw, and the fight actually turns out to be a draw. I’m just saying. What were going to do with that $100 anyway, you know?


The 9 Greatest Supporting Characters in ‘Ultimate Fighter’ History

Sure, we tune in for the fights at the end of each episode, the trash-talk between the coaches, and Dana White occasionally showing up to kick somebody’s ass out of the house. But over 12 seasons of The Ultimate Fighter, it’s the peripheral characters that are responsible for the show’s best moments. Take this season, for example — would it be nearly as interesting if Coach GSP didn’t bring in a special guest every week to shake up his team? With that in mind, here’s our tribute to the under-appreciated minor players that have kept TUF on its toes for the last six years…

#9: Willa Ford

In an effort to inject some eye candy into their new reality show, the UFC cast model/singer/actress Willa Ford as the host of The Ultimate Fighter‘s first season. (Her main duty was to introduce those weird elimination challenges that marked the show’s early days.) Willa was gone by season two, leaving us with fond memories of a time when TUF‘s non-stop sweaty dudeness was occasionally broken up by a pretty face.

#8: Jean-Charles Skarbowsky

Dude flies in from Paris, shows up to the TUF gym drunk, and gives GSP’s entire team the worst beating of their lives. What’s not to like?


“You Can Dress Up Mother Nature, But You Can’t Fool Father Time”: Stankie and Efrain Go Toe-to-Toe

(You can bet that one of these two men went to bed reeking of Bengay and whiskey after this. Click the image to view the video, courtesy of

At long last, the video has surfaced.  Al “Stankie” Stankiewicz and Efrain Escudero lace up the gloves and step in the Octagon.  It starts with a little good-natured ribbing, followed by a very credible Stankie impression by Kyle Kingsbury, and then Efrain finds out the hard way that Stankie isn’t joking about his strong desire to kick some ass one more time.

Say what you will about Stankie’s skills in the cage, but if I can move and punch like that when I’m sixty-seven, I’ll be happy.  Actually, if I’m still alive by then, and if the world has not deteriorated into a post-apocalyptic wasteland where we do battle over watering holes and run from roving packs of wild dogs, that will be enough for me.  

Way to show these young punks what it means to have an enduring warrior spirit, Stankie.  I’d be proud to call you my crazy grandfather figure, if only my actual crazy grandfather wasn’t always banging around up in the attic, yelling about how the neighborhood has gone to hell ever since the Irish moved in.

Related: Stankie, In His Own Words


Exclusive: Stankie, in His Own Words

(When this man talks, you listen. Occasionally you even understand.)

I called The Ultimate Fighter’s Al “Stankie” Stankiewicz for an interview and ended up getting a motivational speech. He can’t help it. That’s just what he does. As Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira’s eccentric old boxing coach, “Stankie” caught our eye early on this season with his antics, and as rumors filtered out about things he did off camera, we knew this was someone we wanted to talk to. Turns out the rumors are all true, but they don’t begin to tell the whole story.

We talked with “Stankie” recently to find out who he is and how he came to be standing next to Big Nog, going on semi-coherent rants about sardines. What we learned is that from working undercover during the Watts Riots, to training Oscar de la Hoya for the Olympics, here is a man who has lead an interesting life. And he was more than happy to tell us about it, in his own roundabout way. Thanks for talking with us “Stankie.” I’ve read some about your background, but is it true that you were a cop in Los Angeles before becoming a boxer?

I joined the department in August of 1962. I came from back east, I went to college at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. I came out to California just to see the California girls and to surf. What happened was, it was so beautiful I fell in love with it. It was October and there was Rafer Johnson, the decathlon champion, playing volleyball with Wilt Chamberlain down in Santa Monica. I called home and talked to my sister and told her about seeing these two superstars on the beach playing volleyball, and she knew what a jock I was and how big that was for me. And she said, “Al, it’s twenty degrees below zero here and we’re having a blizzard.” That’s the point where I told her, “Sis, I love you, but I’m never coming back.”

I got a job selling shoes at first. I was twenty years old. I fell in love with almost every girl who came into the place. It was 1962 and jobs were kind of scarce. There was this big advertisement that said, “Join the LAPD! Be part of the thin blue line! $650 a month.” And in 1962, that was big money. So I went down to city hall and took the test. For the psych test there was a Rorschach ink blot test. I had gone to college and written a paper on that thing, so I knew what to say. If you looked at it and said you saw two dogs fucking underneath a tree with blood all over it, you know, you’d be in trouble. So I got through and suddenly I was a cop.


More Tales From the Stank(ie)

(The infamous “he’s going to eat that spit” speech. Inspiring.)

The last time we devoted blog space to Ultimate Fighter coach Al “Stankie” Stankiewicz, some of you complained that we were applying a double-standard by encouraging his drunken antics and denouncing those of Jesse Taylor and Junie Browning. Fair enough, but what you have to remember is this: when a young, strong professional fighter gets drunk and violent, it’s called assault. When a crazy old man who goes by the name “Stankie” does it, it’s hilarious. Why? Because he’s old. The rules are different for old people. The rest of us just have to accept that.

It’s kind of like when you go to a family Thanksgiving and your racist grandfather makes a remark about “those thieving, hot-blooded Latins.” There’s no point in getting upset, and you know he’s just talking about Desi Arnaz anyway. So you do what any minimally functioning family does. You pass the potatoes and pretend it didn’t happen.

Today’s Stankie story comes yet again from Ryan Bader, who seems way more interested in telling these tales than any other cast member, God bless him. This time, it was our very own blogger, Efrain Escudero, who found himself pulled into the mysterious world that Stankie seems to inhabit all by himself:

Stanky had this thing with Efrian Escudero. He liked Efrian a lot but really wanted to spar him. Stanky always told him that he would kick his ass if they boxed. So one day we told Stanky his dreams were going to come true. Nogueira told him he could spar Efrian in straight boxing if he wore the chest/rib protector. They would spar in the ring, with full walkouts and the whole hooray. I would corner Efrian and the rest of the team would be behind Stanky. This made his day, if not year — well, probably decade.

Kyle overheard Stanky while he was hitting the speed bag warming up talking to himself. Stanky was muttering out loud to himself, “Stanky, one last hoorah. This is it, old chap! You’re back in the game! Back in the fire! Do this and you can finally put down the gloves.”


“Stankie Knows Best” Coming Soon to Spike TV?

(All that wisdom, and no primetime TV slot on which to garble it…yet.)

Right away we knew that Al “Stankie” Stankiewicz (aka: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira’s boxing coach) had a certain magic about him. From his crazy motivational sayings to his semi-coherent ramblings about sardines, the man is straight up charismatic. But the more stories about him that trickle out, the more it’s starting to seem like he is being criminally underused in this season of The Ultimate Fighter. The latest Stank-tastic tale comes from TUF 8 cast member Ryan Bader, who paints a portrait of Stank as a lovable old card getting the most out of his affiliation with Nogueira:

I have a funny story about Al Stankie, who is our older boxing coach. After practice the coaches would go grab something to eat — most of the time without showering and in full Team Nogueira garb, which (I’m pretty sure) they were not supposed to be doing. Stankie had on a rashguard, full TapouT velour red warm-up, a TapouT beanie and a couple long gold chains. They went to The Palms to watch the Lakers vs. Celtics game. Stankie is a big Lakers fan, and when a Celtics fan expressed some joy about his team scoring, Stankie walked over and slapped the guy — with all of our Brazilian coaches looking on in horror. Before the other coaches could grab him, he yelled out, “I am with the heavyweight champion of the world! You want some?” Those of us that saw this understood that this could be Junie’s relative, and maybe that is why he wasn’t kicked off the show yet. Stankie is a great man, and Spike TV should give him his own show.

There are many stories that involve Stankie that I will try to give to you each week. We would all gather around Dan Valverde, one of the assistant coaches, and he would tell us the stories of what Stankie did over the weekend.

Bader also described Stankie as “drunk and funny as ever” when he and Nogueira showed up at the house to try and squash the prank war, which might at least partially explain the disrespect shown by many of the Team Mir fighters.

As for the suggestion that Spike TV should give Stankie his own show, we’re all for it. The fact that Brooke Hogan has her own show and Stankie doesn’t, well, let’s just say it’s a sign that this nation has lost its way.