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Randy Couture, the LA Times and MMA History

This is truly a historic occasion the LA Times has given Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer the forum to write the following brillian piece on Couture's win -- "one of the greatest moments in MMA history."

If mixed martial arts is here to stay as a sport in the United States, then years from now people will look back and marvel at how much of the sports media missed what would have to be one of the great sports stories and moments of the era.

In an octagon cage and with the UFC's world heavyweight title at stake, seven seconds into the fight, undersized heavyweight Randy Couture, the most admired and popular fighter in the history of the sport in the United States, threw a low kick, and then came over the top with the hardest overhand right of his career.

The least popular champion in UFC history, the monstrous Tim Sylvia, was knocked on his back. At the same moment, a sellout crowd of 19,079 fans leapt to their feet. For the next half hour, they never sat down again. With the exception of 21 seconds, Couture dominated the fight. With ten seconds left, the crowd, in unison, reacted like they were in Times Square, and New Year's was coming early. "Ten, nine, eight...." The pop built and exploded as the clock hit zero. The first seven seconds, and the last ten seconds are sports moments that none of the people there live, nor the two million or so watching on PPV or in sports bars around North America, will likely ever forget.

...

To the people who saw it, it was one of the greatest fights of all time. Unfortunately, it's one of those things that could only be fully comprehended in the moment they took place. People will tell their kids, and grandkids about this one night, and this normal man who did things that weren't normal, and this unreal night where a movie script nobody would dare write happened in real life. Undoubtedly, there will some day be a movie chronicling this story about the 21st century "Cinderella Man."

Of course, the real fight and real night will be easily accessible on a DVD, or whatever technology will exist in those days. People will watch it, and unfortunately, it's very doubtful they'll be able to even come close to understanding what the fuss is all about.

Sure, the crowd was going crazy for the match, but why? Why was Couture already a Hall of Famer when he only had a 15-8 record? They may even see it as a boring match. Aside from that first punch, there were no telling blows, no near submissions, and not even any true reversals. Couture was never in trouble, but after the opening seconds, Sylvia was never in danger of being finished either. It wasn't even close going down the wire. One guy was old, although he was in great shape. The other was just goofy looking. Sure, the announcers were putting it over as something unreal and the fans seemed to think they were seeing something special. But people looking back won't understand, and think it just shows how little the fans in 2007 must have understood the sport.

Of course, those of us who saw it will never be able to fully explain it. But we'll know it has something to do with concepts like time and context, and the moment. In 2007, there was this movie. And there was this match to take advantage of the movie. And there was this normal man, whose main talent is that when the odds say he can't possibly win, he almost always does. There was this sport at a crossroads, that could have either gone up or down depending on what happened. There was this giant opponent. And there was this night. And there was this crowd. And there was this fear that this legend's comeback was going to be embarrassing, or worse, he'd get badly hurt.

And there was this moment, when an overhand right connected. And for the next half hour, it was all euphoric magic. And everyone celebrated until 3 a.m. And they woke up later in a stupor, still not being able to fully grasp what they just saw happen and why they were feeling the way they were feeling. But they knew that for the rest of their lives, that moment would be etched in their memories, and frozen in time.

Read the whole thing.