« Din Thomas stands up for Shine fights promoter in whole cancellation mess | Home | WWE legend Steve Austin: If MMA existed a generation ago, a lot of guys in pro-wrestling would have done MMA instead. »
Tim Sylvia: When I fought Ray Mercer, I didn’t think it would hurt my record because it was a boxing match
By Zach Arnold | May 19, 2010
Where do I start with some of what Big Tim said during his interview with Josh Gross? After getting a big one-time pay day from Affliction to fight Fedor, Tim Sylvia has found himself out in the wilderness of the current MMA scene. He has a fight coming up this Friday night against World’s Strongest Man Mariusz Pudzianowski. This fight takes place after Tim lost to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (in UFC), to Fedor (in Affliction), and Ray Mercer (in a bizarre Monte Cox-promoted show in Alabama). During the radio interview with Josh, Tim admitted that his options are running out in terms of getting bookings in promotions not named Strikeforce or UFC and that’s why he took this fight on Friday night:
“Basically I just wanted to fight and this was put in front of us and we took the fight. Nothing else, I played with Japan and they said they’re going to use me and use me and use me and they’ve talked to three different fights with them and they’ve all fell through so you know we finally just said you know whoever wants me to fight we’re going to get a retainer and if they don’t let me fight at least they’re going to be out $10,000 and if they do then so be it, you know.”
Sylvia indicated during the interview that DREAM was the promotion that was courting him, but that they would give him offers on two-week notice against “Top 5″ guys. (Probably against Josh Barnett.)
As for an assessment about his opponent on Friday, he did try to put over Mariusz in his own unique way.
“I think he’s still very new to the sport. If this is the career he wants to pursue now I mean he really has to work hard at it. I mean he’s got a great work ethic you know he knows what it takes to become a world champion in one sport so he’s got a good drive and a good work ethic where he could possibly do well with this sport if he gets the right crew behind him and stuff but taking fights like this isn’t a good decision for his management team, I don’t believe.”
“Supposedly he was a good boxer, a good kick boxer, good wrestler, and we haven’t seen any of that out of him yet.”
The promotion that is hosting the fight is called Moosin and it’s got ex-Toughman and ex-Art Dore associates all over it, including Eric “Butterbean” Esch and Corey Fischer, who was investigated by a watchdog group linked to the Ohio Athletic Commission for having fighter Forrest Petz allegedly work amateur fights when he was a professional fighter.
“You know I met those guys (Moosin) during the press conference when we did the press conference in Boston and New York. Great guys… Butterbean’s involved so you know he’s a funny, funny character and a great guy so it’s definitely legit and for real and I’m looking forward to fighting for them Friday.”
Sylvia is still trying to recover from the loss to Fedor. The fight became a circus for so many different reasons — Affliction paid a reported $800,000 to Sylvia for the fight booking and then Tim lost in a little over 30 seconds. When Josh Gross asked Tim if he suffered from the same disease that guys who fight Fedor suffer from which is “they’re never the same,” Big Tim dismissed that notion out of hand.
“No, not at all. I would have been right back at it if they allowed me to. You know if Afflliction had me fight right after I lost to him I would have fought the next show but we were having contract problems and it didn’t happen but I don’t believe any of that. But you could also look at that and say that whenever anybody fights me they kind of problems, too, like Gan McGee, Ricco Rodriguez, Tra Telligman, Brandon Vera, many of those guys have fought me haven’t been the same either.”
“I didn’t perform. I trained my ass off at a great training camp, went injury-free you know I had minor ones but everybody has minor injuries but nothing serious, I just got out there and didn’t perform the best of my ability. I got caught early and he just kept the ball rolling and finished me quickly.”
After intimating that he wants to face Fedor in a re-match, Tim was asked about the fight with Ray Mercer. Remember, this fight was promoted in Birmingham, Alabama in a state that usually relies on Mississippi’s lenient athletic commission to regulate activities. Then, on top of that, the fight was booked as a boxing fight inside of an MMA cage. Tim Lueckenhoff, head of the ABC (Association of Boxing Commissions), put a stop to the fight as a boxing contest and it was switched to an MMA fight at the last minute.
So, naturally, Tim stood up like a boxing fight instead of going for the take down and fell down like a redwood tree when Mercer knocked him out in 10 seconds.
“That was my stupidity. It was the dumbest thing that I could have ever done. As soon as it was switched to Mixed Martial Arts I should have went in there and took him down and ended the fight in 30 seconds but I listened to his mouth run and I thought I could stand with a heavyweight boxer with four ounce gloves. Obviously, it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to but I did fight in September and that went well against a pretty decent up-and-comer (Jason Riley).”
When asked if the Mercer loss compounded on losses to Nogueira and Fedor in terms of emotional distress, Big Tim was introspective about it all.
“No, not really, I mean, the Nogueira one I made a small mistake and I was winning the fight in the first, you know all the way up to where I made that little stupid dumb mistake, so it was just a learning lesson for me on that one. Fedor, I just did not get a chance to get off and perform, so I was like ’shit you know can I get a re-match’ can I earn my way back up to fight this guy because you know that’s what I kind of felt happened the first time I fought Arlovski, I went out there and I was still timid with the whole breaking my arm and you know he dropped me and jumped on my leg and I just tapped out immediately just because I was like freaked out and then you know when I came back and fought him you saw what happened the second time. So, you know I really truly believe that I could, I still think I can beat Fedor it’s just, I need the opportunity to prove myself again. The whole Mercer thing I was it was a [unintelligible] boxing match and I was like, ‘well, so what, boxing, again that doesn’t hurt my record at all, if I lose I lose to you know a US Gold Medalist and a very seasoned veteran and then all of a sudden it was changed to MMA and he was running his mouth and he talked me right into fighting the he way wanted to fight me.”
If Tim Sylvia is able to beat Mariusz Pudzianowski on Friday night, he has an idea of how he would like the rest of 2010 to be laid out on paper to help get back into the mid-major Strikeforce or major UFC promotion.
“I’d like it go you know win a few more fights and either go to Strikeforce or UFC. There’s guys in Strikeforce that I want to fight and there’s guys in the UFC that I want to fight. Obviously I want a re-match with Nogueira and Frank Mir and then I’d like to see what happened if I fought one of the top three or four being Dos Santos, Velasquez, Carwin, Brock you know one of those guys and you know with Alistair getting back into the States finally you know I might get a chance to fight him or put some wins together and fight Fedor again.”