Once upon a time in the early history of MMA, the most feared fighter in MMA was a guy named Mark Kerr. Called ‘The Smashing Machine’, this world class wrestler was dominant in his early career, and he also went to the ADCC Submission Fighting World Championships and dominated. He was a force to be reckoned with.
Then, his personal demons caught up, and he became a true shadow of his former self.
But in the late 90′s no one had seen an athlete like this in MMA. Mark Coleman was good, but he was a wrestler and a brute first, Kerr seemed to add technique and a bit of a cerebral side to his brutality.
He showed up at Brazil’s World Vale Tudo Challenge and destroyed Paul Varelans and knocked Mestre Hulk’s teeth out. Yes the final versus a tough Fabio Gurghel was grueling, but Gurghel never fought again either. Kerr romped in the UFC, he owned the ADCC Submssion Tourneys.
There were rumors of a dark side however. In the ADCC 2001 tourney, he was taken to a private clinic in Abu Dhabi where his need for pain killers was dealt with privately. He won the tournament anyway.
Then the wheels start to come off the Mark Kerr bandwagon.
Credit must go to Kerr for giving the world a very frank and telling look at his problems with addiction in the documentary ‘The Smashing Machine’ where he hid very little.
But the first time his problems affected him was at the ADCC in Brazil, where he squared off with Ricardo Arona in the superfight.
He showed up a bit out of shape, and the promotional group describes a very telling story. They were worried from the start, because he was out of shape.
Kerr was sitting in the hotel lobby, at the business center using a PC for hours. He was focused, and he is smart, so they were wondering what he was doing. He was making notes, attentive on the PC.
After a few hours Kerr approached the promotional team, and handed them a list. It was a list of drugs, in their brand name a generic names that he needed them to procure. NEEDED.
And thus the game of MMA was robbed of probably one of it’s most potentially talented and biggest stars. Addiction is a bitch!