Back in September 1996, a relatively unknown 350-pounder named Scott Ferrozzo scored an unexpected decision victory against Tank Abbott in the semifinals of the UFC 11 heavyweight tournament. In recent years, the two heavyweight brawlers have expended a good deal of energy talking trash, trying to goad each other into a rematch. Amazingly, the fight was actually put together this year. It was slated to go down October 30th at the Dixie Cowgirls Night Club in Dayton, Ohio, and would feature a no-holds-barred ruleset reminiscent of the UFC’s early days.
Somehow, the venue was moved from Dixie Cowgirls to a random-ass backyard, filled with about two dozen spectators. (Card subject to change!) But true to their words, both fighters showed up and fought their hearts out in an outdoor shirts-on death-match. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version…
0:05: Tank appears. Hopefully that hacking cough won’t be a factor during the fight.
1:43: Fighter introductions. Crowd loyalties are evenly split, although Ferrozzo draws more whistles.
2:29: TANK ABBOTT COMES OUT LIKE A HOUSE ON FIRE, but Ferrozzo backs him up with punches of his own.
2:47: Tank lands some nasty body-shots in a clinch, misses an uppercut, and freaks out like he’s having flashbacks to the Kimbo fight.
2:57: Tank drops Ferrozzo with a straight right and takes the fight to the grass. Tank lands in side-control and it’s ground and pound time.
4:52: Tank lands a big left hand from the top, and poetically, two dead leaves float down into the frame, reminding us that life is fragile, and this fight is really happening in a fucking backyard.
6:24: Ferrozzo rolls to escape the abuse, and Tank goes for a rear-naked. As Scott’s lady friend says, “You’ll never get under that neck.” She’s right.
7:22: Ferrozzo has Tank’s right arm locked down, and Tank is clearly frustrated. As Tank punches with his left, Scott responds to each one with, “Nothin’…nope…” The man is indestructible. Scott’s lady friend calls for head-butts.
8:32: “Whoooo is this fun!” Scott says, as Tank back-mounts him, Deliverance style.
9:20: Tank scores his first knees to the head on the ground. PRIDE neva die, it just fades away.
10:54: Ferrozzo has both of Tank’s hands completely locked down. If this was legit MMA, the ref would call for a standup. But in Ohio Backyard DeathMatch Rules, there are no standups. Tank is exhausted, and his cough returns.
12:28: One of the journalists on hand tries to do the post-fight interview during the fight. After asking “bring back memories, huh guys?” like seven times, Ferrozzo says, “Fuck yeah, we were two young warriors. Now we’re just two old guys.”
14:20: “I can’t be fuckin’ hurt. You see the size of my head?”
15:18: Scott’s chick is getting real ansty. Her man is clearly not following the head-butt-based gameplan that they’d been working on for the last eight weeks.
16:36: ”Fuckin’ pussies in the UFC. Fuck them motherfuckers. Whoooo! [punch] Nothin’! [punch] Nothin’!”
17:09: “I can not be fuckin’ hurt! I can not be fuckin’ hurt! I am a fuckin’ BEAST!”
17:29: And that’s the fight. Or is it? 15 minutes with a three-minute overtime? For Christ’s sake, it’s not over yet? I’m as tired of this as Tank is right now.
19:41: The fight is re-started and they get to sluggin’. Ferrozzo has Tank on his heels.
20:50: They separate after a brief clinch. Tank backs up and doubles over with fatigue. If Ferrozzo had anything left, he’d end this shit right now with a flying knee, but he clearly gassed himself out yelling during the 15-minute opening round.
21:10: Knees and punches from Ferrozzo. Punches and wheezing from Tank. Shrill screeching from Scott’s girlfriend.
21:30: Tank has his hands on his knees facing away from Ferrozzo, and Ferrozzo isn’t doing anything about it. The fix is in. Ferrozzo was clearly paid off to lose to Tank. What other explanation is there? That two 46-year-old men are too tired to fight after 17 minutes? No. I refuse to believe that. Not in this America.
21:40: “You got a minute to win it.” Love that show.
22:40: That’s the fight. “Where else in the world can you see that?” yells a fan. I honestly don’t know. Dayton has the old-man backyard fight scene on lock.
24:36: Tank Abbott def. Scott Ferrozzo via unanimous decision. Plans for a rubber match are shouted out, mostly as a joke. Tank achieves his redemption. Ferrozzo’s girlfriend is eerily silent. Not a good sign, buddy.