The modern day MMA fan, if they are familiar with Bob Sapp, are probably familiar with images like this:
The incongruous image of a man with the musculature of a comic book villain cringing on the canvas like a big wrinkly steroid-baby* is comical, and the contrast between Sapp's apparent power and his results has been glaring in a sad string of losses to men dwarfed by the once-mighty Beast.
But Sapp was terrifying--and not in the 'my god a large black man' sense; though that was certainly a part of his appeal in Japan (where there isn't much real animus towards black people, but stereotypes, often perpetuated by Western media and not mitigated by many actual black people, abound), and an aspect which Sapp himself had no shame about playing up**(See also Jackson, Rampage).
In addition to cruel pummelings of undersized Japanese like the one below, Sapp, before his soul was stolen by a cheek-bone crushing punch from CROCOP(whose own soul would in turn be extracted by a decidely ironic high kick***), beat a legend in one combat sport twice and almost crippled a great in another.
(A beating to shrink the hearts of little brothers everywhere. PS: If you've ever wondered why Josh Barnett pissed hot, he OBVIOUSLY hugs Sapp at the end of this highlight. I'm shocked he'd didn't present this video as evidence of his inncocence to the CSAC)
For those who may not be familiar, Ernesto Hoost is, more or less, the greatest K-1 Heavyweight fighter ever (along w/ Peter Aerts) , and therefore one of the best heavy weight kick-boxers ever****. Sapp beat him not once, but twice:
Then, at the Dynamite! new years show, Sapp made earnest attempts to either fold Antonio Nogueira into an origami crane or perhaps simply give the tens of thousands in attendence an impromptu demonstration of the durability of the Brazilian spinal column.
Even after this loss to Nog, I was still scared Sapp was going to kill one of my favorite fighters.
Then this happened:
Bob learned the lesson that we all have to learn in life: No matter how strong you are you're still weak, and sooner or later some dead-eyed Croatian with a buzz-cut is going to come along and break your face.
However, there was to be one more moment of glory for Sapp*****:
(The way he crumples, belly leading? A thing of beauty I say, and Sapp was a part of that.)
*He really does look like a baby, right? I always feel so sorry for him!
**I saw one show which featured Sapp going to a zoo and engaging in a chest-beating face-off with the resident gorilla. On another show (or perhaps another segment of the same one) he attempted to carry off a comely female cast member King-Kong style before being distracted by a banana (Though I should try and clarify that very few people in Japan are racist against black people in the way we think of in the States but shockingly ignorant/insulting stereotypes do get trotted out sometimes).
***And he deserved it after what he did to poor Wanderlei.
****ASFASIK. I watched a lot of K1 when I lived in Japan (early-mid aughts) but don't know much about kick-boxing otherwise.
*****Vs. Akebono, former Grand Champion (Yokozuna) of Sumo; the morbid obesity and highly specialized skill set which carried him to the pinnacle of that sport not availing him in kickboxing as he was capable of neither kicking nor boxing and only took a punch well in that he fell over in a picturesque manner.
Next: Respect Mark Hunt You Worthless Philistines.