A Freakshow Fight Worth Booking: Kickboxing Legend Jerome Le Banner vs Tim Sylvia

via empiremuaythai.com

Head Kick Legend reports:

Apparently, Le Banner has been clamoring to get a 2-fight contract with UFC. His hope was to come in for 2 fights only, then return to K-1. For understandable reasons, neither the UFC nor FEG were much interested in this, so it fizzled out. But that doesn't push his MMA hopes aside. In his goals for 2010, Le Banner has stated that he wants to face both Alistair Overeem and Tim Sylvia in MMA fights. Overeem should come as no surprise due to the MMA v. K-1 angle he pushed last year, while the Sylvia fight is a rehash from a few years ago. During Sylvia's UFC HW title reign, some heated words were exchanged over the internet between Sylvia and Le Banner, including Le Banner stating "I will fix his chicken legs with some good low kicks" and insulting Sylvia's boring style. Affliction reportedly considered the fight at one point, though in the end nothing ever came of it. Well, apparently Le Banner remembered and is ready for the fight now. And to be honest, now's not a bad time for it. Given each man's fading star, a clash in Dream is not as bizarre an idea today as it was in 2006.

For those of you who don't know Le Banner, here's a bit from his wikipedia entry:

Jérôme "Geronimo" Le Banner (born December 26, 1972), also known as "Hyper Battle Cyborg" or "The Bulldog of Normandy" is a French professional kickboxer and K-1 superstar, famous for his aggressive fighting style and knockout power.

He is a legend in the K-1 sport and is still considered to be the best fighter to never win the K-1 World Grand Prix Title. He has knocked out top ranked fighters such as, Peter Aerts, Ernesto Hoost, Francisco Fihlo, Mike Bernardo and holds other notable wins over Remy Bonjasky and Mark Hunt.

He's 75-18-1-1 as a kickboxer and 3-1-1 in MMA. He's 37 but is far from washed up, having made the quarter finals of the K-1 World Grand Prix last year, losing to Semmy Schilt. Tim Sylvia has been trying to get a fight in DREAM -- and reportedly turned down an offered fight in DREAM.13 against Josh Barnett. Sylvia vs Le Banner would be a natural fight I'd love to see DREAM book. 

And it's not like Big Tim is above doing a freakshow fight or two, from USA TODAY:

Ex-UFC champion Tim Sylvia has been signed to face five-time World's Strongest Man winner Mariusz Pudzianowski on April 23 in Worcester, Mass., promoters Corey Fischer and Eric "Butterbean" Esch told the Boston Herald.     

I'd much rather see Tim vs Le Banner than against Wes Sims or Mariusz Pudzianowski. But I expect Big Tim will be gun shy of taking on an elite level striker after Ray Mercer showed him what respect means.

Le Banner Highlight video in the full entry.

UPDATE: Judging from the comments and the hate mail I really misstepped with this headline. Certainly I'm not intending any disrespect to these two fighters. Sylvia is, after all a two-time UFC heavyweight champ, and like I pointed out, Le Banner is one of the greatest kickboxers of all time to never win the big one.

I meant "Freakshow Fight" in the context of fights like the rumored Kimbo Slice vs James Toney match or Sylvia's rumored bout with Pudzianowski or his bout with Mercer. Or any fight involving Herschel Walker.

It's a freak show in the sense that it has no implications for title contention. But on the spectrum of sport vs spectacle, I'd say that Le Banner vs Sylvia would be a 4 on the spectacle scale.

For comparison:

 

  • Tim Sylvia vs Mariusz Pudzianowski = 7 
  • Tim Sylvia vs Ray Mercer = 8
  • James Toney vs Kimbo Slice in MMA would be a 9 (only 5 if it was under pro boxing rules)
  • James Toney vs Herschel Walker = 10


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