Last weekend, one of the harsh, unfortunate realities of prizefighting was underscored. 25-year-old Max Rohskopf decided to quit on his stool during his UFC debut after absorbing a two-round beating from Austin Hubbard.
That moment put the spotlight on a dichotomy in this brutal sport. While most fighters will bite down hard on that mouthpiece and soldier on with one properly-functioning leg, there are others who will crumble to the overwhelming fusion of pain, fatigue, pressure, and sheer hopelessness.
A select few, however, are just complete oddballs. I’m talking about Aliev Makhmud when he took on Kiyoshi Tamura at PRIDE 29 on February 20th, 2005 in Saitama, Japan.
Makhmud, a two-time freestyle wrestling champion in his native Azerbaijan, was making his MMA debut. Tamura, on the other hand, was already an accomplished vet with victories over Renzo Gracie, Maurice Smith, and Pat Miletich.
It also didn’t help that Makhmud seemingly spent insufficient time on his stand-up skills. That was evident as soon as the fight began when he bum-rushed for the tie-up with no kind of setup whatsoever.
The high point came at the 6:47 mark of round one. Both men attempted some variation of a flying kick, but it was Makhmud who got the raw end of the deal. A clean shot to the crown jewels had him incapacitated for a good few moments.
The lull in the action left the production team doing slow-motion replays over and over as Mauro Ranallo began rehashing old wounds from his romantic life. But after clearly shaking his head in surrender, Makhmud stood back up and fought on like nothing happened.
Makhmud landed a drunken brawl overhand left when the bout resumed. At the 5:59 mark, he once again shook his head while touching his groin to signal that he was still hurt from the previous encounter.
Tamura continued to attack as Makhmud waved himself off to the referee. It wasn’t until a full minute later when the latter’s corner decided to throw in the towel.
The fight pretty much summed up Makhmud’s MMA career, a legacy that is both a source of entertainment and a cautionary tale about what being in this business entails.