I first bought the book when it was published, but haven't picked it up in a long time. Great book, it's quite comprehensive despite "losing a battle against time." I definitely recommend grabbing it off Amazon or whatever. Anyway, I was reading the article on Robbie Lawler and wanted to share it:
"Robbie Lawler was the UFC's top prospect when Zuffa bought the company in 2001. Just 19 years old and a bit of a prodigy, he was one of the first fighters to literally grow up with the sport of MMA. Pat Miletich discovered him when he was still in high school and he's been fighting ever since.
Things came easily to Lawler. He was a good natural athlete, a wrestling standout with natural power in his hands, and he had that itch to fight that you can't teach. He won his first six fights before getting the call to come to Bossier City, Louisiana, for UFC 37. Lawler opened the show with Midwest tough guy Aaron Riley, a punching bag quickly becoming famous for his grit and heart. It was a 15-minute war that saw Lawler get the win, and more importantly, establish his reputation as a dangerous young fighter. More victories followed and Lawler got confident, bordering on cocky.
Cocky is the most dangerous thing to be in the sport of MMA, where every fighter is capable of hurting you in a dozen ways and it's incredibly easy to make a fight-changing mistake. Lawler's inability to control his emotions cost him again and again. He and Chris Lytle slung punches back and forth at UFC 45, with Lawler earning a decision and a place on the UFC highlight reel when he dropped his hands and yelled out in the middle of the fight, caught up in the moment.
Lawler, it seemed, was always caught up in the moment. His fights were wars but there was very little strategy involved. He simply attacked, as hard and as fast as he could. Lesser opponents were overwhelmed. Better fighters like Nick Diaz and Evan Tanner simply waited him out, eventually using his own aggression against him.
After losing three of four, he was sent on his way. The UFC brass wanted him to improve his skills. Everyone at Zuffa loved his attitude and his warrior spirit; they just wanted to see it combined with the tools that could make him a champion. Instead, Robbie Lawler has continued to be Robbie Lawler. He won two titles, for Icon Sport in Hawaii and for EliteXC, by exploding on people who made the mistake of standing and trading with him. Against slick grapplers, he was still vulnerable, losing by submission to Jason 'Mayhem' Miller and Jake Shields in high profile matchups. Now 27 years old, and almost a decade into his professional career, Lawler seems likely to remain the fighter he is today. The potential that seemed destined to make him a world champion will go unrealized. He may have the best fight on the card, but Robbie Lawler will never be the best fighter."
I suppose this is where I tell you to "never give up" or some shit. I just thought that was interesting.