A year ago, most of us had heard very little (if not nothing) of Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. Obviously, all that quickly changed once he knocked out Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona in a span of two months.
Then, everything really changed for The African Assassin. Pride FC was purchased by Zuffa and all of sudden Sokoudjou became one of the hottest free agents in mixed martial arts. First, he was rumored to sign with Elite XC and then K-1 Hero’s. Both those deals fell through and, voila, he became the latest in a long line of former Pride stars to sign with the UFC. And, much like many of those former Pride stars, he faltered in his Octagon debut.
I hadn’t heard much from the 23-year-old since his UFC 79 loss to Lyoto Machida so I called him up and basically asked: “what happened against Machida and when are you fighting next?”(By the looks of that photo he appears to be in deep contemplation mode, eh?) I also asked a couple of other things, such as:
* The difference between fighting in the UFC as opposed to competing in Pride
* His thoughts on Machida’s post-fight comments
* Why he didn’t sign with Elite XC or K-1
* What’s up with his parents not knowing that he is a mixed martial artist
* Whether he plans on ever letting the cat out of the bag
As chronicled here, I’m a lifelong Buffalo Bills fan. So, you can understand why I have been kind down on the NFL lately. Nevertheless, there is nothing like the Super Bowl.
Obviously, it’s always a good time when the game lives up to the hype but, in reality, no one truly cares. We just like to get together with friends and rate the commercials anyways. Oh, and also talk about how crappy the halftime is show, right?
Well, remember Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999? John Elway and the Broncos won their second consecutive title after dismantling the Falcons. Of course you don’t because the game was putrid. But it didn’t really matter because that was the best halftime show in Super Bowl history. That year marked the debut of Halftime Heat – the special episode of WWF Sunday Night Heat highlighted by Mankind’s victory over The Rock to capture the WWF title in their infamous empty arena match. Great idea by the Federation (except for the campy finish) and I suggest they do it again next year.
Incredibly, its been nine years since this match and if you aren’t a big Tom Petty fan I suggest you whip out your computer during halftime and watch the video below. You know, for old-time sake.
I touched on this in our UFC 81 preview with John Chandler (found below) but, again, I really do get the feeling that MMA purists are hoping Brock Lesnar loses to Frank Mir tonight and quietly goes back to the “fake stuff.” I have even read some people contemplating whether tonight’s fight will be a work. I guess it makes sense. This wrestler with a weird tattoo is coming into THEIR world? How dare he! Forget the fact that the man was an amateur wrestling standout. The guy wrestled for Vince McMahon and there’s nothing else to it.
Listen, I don’t know Lesnar and was never even a huge fan of his when he did work for World Wrestling Entertainment. But that said, I do find it a little annoying to read these snarky remarks about his MMA abilities and his time in WWE. So, despite the fact that I think Mir deserves a high-profile victory after everything he has been forced to overcome, I am hoping Lesnar wipes the floor with him and then beats every heavyweight contender. Then, I pray he holds that title for approximately 10-15 years. Yeah, that’s right. 10 to 15 years of having to watch this former fake wrestler guy hold the crown jewel of the UFC. What a beautiful sight that would be.
Anyhow, to celebrate Lesnar’s long-awaited UFC debut, The Park presents his top 3 moments as a member of the WWE roster. And away we go…
3. The Debut – 2002: There I was, sitting in the Molson Centre (now known as the Bell Centre) in Montreal enjoying a good old fashioned hardcore match when this behometh jumps into the ring and starts annhilating everyone in sight. To make matters even cooler, he was accompanied by Paul Heyman. What a brilliant pairing that was.
2. The Loss – 2004: Sure, this match was highlighted by the fact that Lesnar lost his WWE title to the late Eddie Guerrero but, nevertheless, I thought it was Lesnar’s best performance in the ring mainly because he helped make us believe that a former Cruiserweight champion was worthy enough of holding that Heavyweight title. (By the way, isn’t it kind of eerie how this clip starts with Lesnar screaming “just die Eddie”? Sheesh.)
1. The Collapse – 2003: Brock Lesnar superplexes Big Show from the top rope. They land simultaneously. The ring collapses. The ring was gimmicked, I know, but it was a tremendous site.