Boxing has a long and rich history, and one of the themes that repeats itself over and over is the story of the fallen champion, and MMA appears to be inking a few of these types of stories as well. There are several champions and top names from the start of this century that are either still toiling on the B circuit (or C circuit) or out of the sport altogether. Let’s take a look at five names from the past, and let this be a cautionary tale.
Tim Sylvia – Sylvia is a two time UFC Heavyweight Champion whose incomplete skill set saw him fall from the UFC roster in early 2008. Sylvia’s last hurrah came with Affliction at the end of 2008 when he faced Fedor Emilianenko, and since then he has generally been relegated to smaller ‘club’ shows, with an occasional appearance on a bigger show. His last fight was a loss on new Year’s eve in Japan to Satoshi Ishii and he has generally looked uninspired and overweight since 2008.
Tim Sylvia does appear to still have sponsors. Check this out - http://www.timsylviachallenge.com/
Jens Pulver – The former UFC Lightweight Champion continues to be active on the club circuit, going 3-3 in his last six fights over the last year and a half. Pulver has seen his record move to 27 wins and 17 losses, and several of his losses have been of the brutal KO variety. Pulver has admitted to having financial issues, so he continues to fight. He has gone 1-1 with Singapore’s ONE FC in his last two outings.
Mark Coleman – Coleman is officially retired from the ring wars, and several media outlets reported that Coleman will be undergoing a full hip replacement. Despite being a UFC Hall of Famer, Coleman’s retirement was not acknowledged by the UFC itself, and I don’t suspect there is a cushy Chuck Liddell/Matt Hughes type check in the mail job for Mark either. Help with medical bills? Forget about it. Word is that Coleman is selling off memorabilia from his career, including things such as the gloves worn at the PRIDE Grand Prix. Do you think you can buy a hip for that amount?
Ricco Rodriguez – Another former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Rodriguez has been on the club circuit and battling personal demons in the nine plus years since he climbed into the octagon. His record stands at 49-19, including going 2-8 in his last 10 fights. Ricco is still at it, and he is still a big talker, as he was seen this past week giving a seminar at Alan Teo‘s NJ academy. At least he appears to be keeping the weight off….. for now. Prior to that, Rodriguez made the news for a possible DUI arrest.
Gary Goodridge – Granted he was not a true UFC titleholder per se, but Gary Goodridge is an icon from the early days of MMA. Thankfully, Goodridge is retired as he was knocked out twenty four times in his fighting career, and now suffers from Pugilistica Dementia. Once one of the most feared fighters on the MMA scene, Goodridge ended his career with 7 straight losses.
These are just 5 guys who are hanging on or hing on way past their primes. And there will be more…