Hello, this is Chris. Today MMA Squared asks the question “What does it take to be a bad guy in mixed martial arts?”
The Chuck Berry of Bastards is probably none other than David “Tank” Abbott.
His defining moment came in 1995 when he knocked out John Matua...
...and followed up with a mocking imitation of his unconscious opponent.
This combination of raw brutality along with a disregard for anything resembling martial arts or honor laid out the template for every heat seeking villain to follow in his footsteps.
The Keith Richards to Abbott’s Chuck Berry was Tito Ortiz.
With signature moves like the post-fight Gravedigger, and homophobic t-shirts Ortiz successfully commodified being a bully.
The ability to harness one’s antagonism made it possible for someone with an unexciting fighting style and a complete lack of charisma to become a raging financial success, exemplified by Josh Koscheck.
Koscheck ushered in a generation of fighters who realized that what you did on the mic mattered just as much as what you did in the Octagon, if not more. Just look at Chael Sonnen, whose money was earned by his mouth not with fists, feet, and finishes.
Looking to the future of villainy, I see Colby Covington
Covington has the unique ability to shit on everyone (entire countries) while simultaneously putting both feet in his mouth.
And then we have Mike Perry, a parody villain. MMA’s own Florida Man. A persona so-bad-that-it’s-good and somehow he’s become likable while possibly also being racist.
As always, MMA Squared is sponsored by Combat Wombat
Thanks for checking out the latest episode. In keeping with the theme of bullies and bad guys I tried to be as mean and disrespectful in my depiction of the fighters. Feel free to talk some shit with me on twitter or visit chrisrini.com to see The Fine Art of Violence. See you next week.