(quick note- yes, I know that this isn't particularly relevant right now, just some random musings of mine)
MMA is a brutal mistress. An unforgiving and often heartless bitch; one day you're the darling of the fight world, the next... a subject of ridicule. Such is the capricious nature of our beloved sport. However, the fighters understand the risks involved, and it's entirely up to them to manage their careers tactfully. This is where things went wrong for Todd Duffee- and it only took 3 events to unravel what seemed like the makings of a legendary heavyweight career.
We all know the story. Duffee, the undefeated heavyweight with a chiseled, Herculean physique, and several impressive KO wins over traveled veterans of the sport, on the cover of bodybuilding magazines and the talk of the proverbial town.
1) Then, Duffee ran into the (squishy) brick wall that is Mike "Fat Cop" Russow. After whipping the tar out of Mr. Russow for 12+ minutes, throwing the same exact combination punches, the grizzled veteran finally got off with a perfectly timed right hand counter, following up with another hard right hand, and a left hammerfist remniscent of Mr. Gueermo from Southpark.
Now, Duffee said that he didn't utilize his full skillset, due to a knee injury going into the fight:
I had a knee injury going into the Russow fight. I'm not making any excuses because I lost that fight, and all props to Mike, but I definitely feel like it affected my gameplan and my mentality going into the fight.
And that, right there folks, makes up poor career choice #1. Going into a fight against a veteran (who has a penchant for winning) with a knee injury. In some circles, this is referred to as "underestimating the opponent", and as we all know- if you don't take your opponent seriously, you make him into a serious opponent.
2) After pocketing a measley 8 grand (and likely losing some sponsorship deals) for the discouraging knockout loss, things weren't looking too good for our musclebound protagonist. Then, tragedy struck; within the course of the next month, Duffee's father and best friend both died. Needless to say, Todd likely wasn't in the best mental state, and instead of stepping back and taking care of his personal problems in privacy, he took to the internet to vent his frustrations. A few months after the Russow loss, Duffee tweeted this:
looking for weekend job in denver tired of being completely broke ne suggestions?
Yeah... not exactly the smartest thing to do, patronizing your employer on such a public forum. This obviously drew the ire of the Zuffa brass. When he was tentatively pencilled in to face Jon Madsen, he ended up asking for more time to fully rehabilitate an injured knee, so that he could fight to his full potential. Unfortunately, he was made an example of, and cut from the UFC.
Now, as bad as all these things were, Duffee's career was still in a decent place. Even in his loss to Russow, he'd shown considerable upside, and you could say that with all the unfortunate things that happened to him, and all the effusive praise and high expectations heaped on him, maybe his head had gotten a tad big. That's fine; with a nice rebound win or 2 in televised minor league shows, Duffman would easily be right back in the UFC.
However, opportunity came knocking at the door, and as the old adage goes- "Fortune favors the bold." Well, as it turns out, there's a fine line between bold and suicidal. It appears the man who draws that line is a certain Dutchman by the name of Alistair Overeem.
3) Instead of writing a typical BElitist diatribe about how deftly The Reem annihilated Duffee, lets just say that taking a fight on short notice against a man with an equally imposing physical makeup, and worlds of technical fighting superiority over him... not the best idea.
But even after all of this, Todd Duffee can go on to have a good fighting career. Hopefully he has learned his lesson- be smart or die. Fight sport is too finnicky to be handicapping yourself in any small way, and to reach the potential we all saw in him, Duffman will need to shut his mouth and get his ass into the gym.
And as they say- once you've hit rock bottom, there's nowhere to go but up. And keep that chin tucked Duffee, you're too physically gifted to go the way of the Andrei Arlovski's of the world.