Body Politics

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grappler0000
8/18/08 9:26:35AM
File this one under “Further Humiliation of the International Fight League Department”: Former IFL standout Roy Nelson was recently advised by UFC brass that it would be in his best interests to doff the excess weight surrounding his midsection.

Nelson, for the uninitiated, is a talented fighter who may be hovering near 30 percent body fat storage, enough to strain the jaws of even the most durable mass calipers. He is every tired pregnant-man joke personified, the best “Before” picture a supplement company could ever hope for.

In brief: He’s a Fat Guy.

It’s a label Nelson wears proudly. After one of his last IFL bouts, he stroked and cradled his engorged belly like a pet, the protuberant, gelatinous mass earning applause of its very own. He seems to relish the dichotomy of his central obesity and the ability to concuss opponents with a combination of heavy power and formidable conditioning. (Upstart promotion Affliction apparently agreed, having signed him to a deal to appear on its October card.)

Nelson and his e-supporters took obvious umbrage at the UFC’s (alleged) condition of employment. Fighters should be expected to fight, the chorus went, not to be Calvin Klein models.

They certainly have precedent to reference. One of the most iconic figures in the sport, Fedor Emelianenko, is one blintz away from needing a bigger WAMMA belt; perennial antihero David “Tank” Abbott looks to have swallowed a Pilates ball. Neither man’s career seems to have suffered from lack of being able to spot their anterior deltoid.

And yet the UFC can’t be called unreasonable.

Sure, it’s the fight -- not Mr. Olympia -- business. Participants should be judged on the merits of their skills and not how well they translate into an action figure. But there are extremes, cases where someone may be so outside the literal and proverbial mold of what’s acceptable in a public spectacle that it becomes an issue. Nelson’s sloughing stomach is so noticeable that casual inspection would indicate this sport is everything its detractors believe it is -- an unqualified, televised bar scuffle.

Nelson may chalk up his shape to genetics, but a reasonable diet coupled with calorically demanding training can’t possibly sustain excess weight of that volume. A dumpy physique is one thing -- looking to the world like you’ve never seen a Stairmaster is another.

Link
DCRage
8/18/08 9:53:45AM
What about Eric Esch? "Butterbean" has never had problems getting fights, or over, and I think he's at least 350 himself, close to 400!
warglory
8/18/08 12:08:57PM

Posted by DCRage

What about Eric Esch? "Butterbean" has never had problems getting fights, or over, and I think he's at least 350 himself, close to 400!



True, but the only matches he is able to obtain are the freakshow fights.
MaxOne
8/18/08 1:08:25PM
dude has an impressive gas tank even for a guy w/out a gut.
jlock003
8/18/08 1:09:01PM
If Nelson can win in affliction at that weight then let him eat.....if he gets handled in affliction make him condition better...this will either be a huge middle finger to the ufc from nelson and affliction, or the ufc will wait until nelson fights and if he gases it'll be one of those "I told you so" moments. Either way...it's caught my attention and I'll see how he looks. I think it's good for the support to create a little buzz.
Khaos
8/18/08 2:46:38PM
He's a good fighter, and apearence isn't everything, the UFC had so many chances to get great talent from PrideFC and IFL, and just totally blew it.
mrsmiley
8/18/08 2:59:50PM
I thought this was one of the better Sherdog articles.Good read.
DevMahon
8/18/08 4:00:44PM
The fact of the matter is, that the UFC is selling an image. While it might seem stupid, a fighter's appearance factors into their marketability. Guys like Tank Abbott and Butterbean are walking around with massive guts, but no one is taking them seriously as elite level fighters. While that tire around Nelson's stomach doesn't make him any less of a fighter, it makes him less marketable.

Take a guy like Arlovski, for example. Do you really think he would be as popular as he is if he wasn't ripped like a beast and wearing a fanged mouthpiece? He's selling an image of himself. Kongo consistently gets one of the biggest ovations at UFC events (just look at UFC 87), yet, other than a decision over Cro Cop, has yet to show the ability of an elite level fighter. But he LOOKS like a beast.

Appearance plays a part in this sport.

Foolish, but true.
jiujitsufreak74
8/18/08 4:18:37PM

Posted by Khaos

He's a good fighter, and apearence isn't everything, the UFC had so many chances to get great talent from PrideFC and IFL, and just totally blew it.



are you serious?

what do you call:

Rampage
Wandy
Nog
Herring
Soko
Werdum
Shogun
Henderson
Gusmao
Andy
Markham
Blackburn
Auerlio
iwannabesedated
8/18/08 4:22:26PM

Posted by jiujitsufreak74


Posted by Khaos

He's a good fighter, and apearence isn't everything, the UFC had so many chances to get great talent from PrideFC and IFL, and just totally blew it.



are you serious?

what do you call:

Rampage
Wandy
Nog
Herring
Soko
Werdum
Shogun
Henderson
Gusmao
Andy
Markham
Blackburn
Auerlio



The Majority of the Pride and IFL talent.
MaxOne
8/18/08 4:59:18PM

Posted by DevMahon

While that tire around Nelson's stomach doesn't make him any less of a fighter, it makes him less marketable.




It can work the opposite as well .....if he was able to continue winning against elite fighters his gut would become marketable.

Randy stands out due to age. Fedor stands out because he looks pretty average and dominates.


Anything that could make you an underdog (age, weight, strength, appearance) can also be a marketing tool when you are winning fights.

Roy looks like half the guys that watch him fight.
nastshabast
8/18/08 5:08:42PM

Posted by MaxOne


Posted by DevMahon

While that tire around Nelson's stomach doesn't make him any less of a fighter, it makes him less marketable.




It can work the opposite as well .....if he was able to continue winning against elite fighters his gut would become marketable.

Randy stands out due to age. Fedor stands out because he looks pretty average and dominates.


Anything that could make you an underdog (age, weight, strength, appearance) can also be a marketing tool when you are winning fights.

Roy looks like half the guys that watch him fight.



haha...half
bojangalz
8/18/08 5:31:46PM

Posted by mrsmiley

I thought this was one of the better Sherdog articles.Good read.



I thought this article was horrendous. I couldn't even get past the snippet posted here in the forum. I'm not familiar with and of Jake Rossen's other work, but this reads like he's a little too in love with his engorged, protuberant, gelatinous vocabulary.

I do enjoy Big Country though. He gives guys like my dad someone to identify with.
JimiMak
8/18/08 6:06:41PM
The fact that someone in that shape could be champ is a show of why IFL failed. He won't do anything on the big stage, not w/o being a well conditioned hard worker. He's not well rounded, he's gonna try to fight guys like Fedor and Nog? His examples suck. Fedor looks avg, not tubby. Abbott hasn't won in how long, the only reason ppl still like to see him is cuz he's tank. Noone gives him a chance, he only excelled when there weren't a lot of good fighters.
wrona666
8/18/08 9:07:59PM

Posted by jiujitsufreak74


Posted by Khaos

He's a good fighter, and apearence isn't everything, the UFC had so many chances to get great talent from PrideFC and IFL, and just totally blew it.



are you serious?

what do you call:

Rampage
Wandy
Nog
Herring
Soko
Werdum
Shogun
Henderson
Gusmao
Andy
Markham
Blackburn
Auerlio



You beat me too it i was about to say the same thing, the only fighter from the IFL that that aren't in the UFC that i would be interested to see fight for the UFC would be Big Ben, and Horideski
Kracker_Jap
8/18/08 10:32:48PM

Posted by jiujitsufreak74


Posted by Khaos

He's a good fighter, and apearence isn't everything, the UFC had so many chances to get great talent from PrideFC and IFL, and just totally blew it.



are you serious?

what do you call:

Rampage
Wandy
Nog
Herring
Soko
Werdum
Shogun
Henderson
Gusmao
Andy
Markham
Blackburn
Auerlio



Thank you, I was thinking the same then i scrolled down and saw you had it covered
bls1919
8/18/08 11:22:59PM
If the UFC had Rothwell, Vochanchin, Big Tim ,Barnett, Aleks, Fedor, Randy or any 2 of these guys I wouldn't say a word. But seeing that their HW division is very lacking why not give the guy a shot. He might not be the posterboy for bowflex but he has gone 4-2 in fights that have gone to he 3rd round. And has good potential for fights that are much shorter. Very heavy handed, good wrestling, and TD defense. Granted he could shed few lbs but it is no reason to shun the man IMO.
Khaos
8/19/08 4:35:38PM

Posted by jiujitsufreak74


Posted by Khaos

He's a good fighter, and apearence isn't everything, the UFC had so many chances to get great talent from PrideFC and IFL, and just totally blew it.



are you serious?

what do you call:

Rampage
Wandy
Nog
Herring
Soko
Werdum
Shogun
Henderson
Gusmao
Andy
Markham
Blackburn
Auerlio




ok, they passed up on a lot of my favorite Pride/IFL talent
MaxOne
8/20/08 5:16:32PM
I think roy is crazy underestimated...
MaxOne
1/12/10 4:54:46PM
it seemed like this thread should be revived. roy made it to the UFC with the body they weren't interested in :) i'm looking forward to seeing roy vs. ben II.
jiujitsufreak74
1/12/10 6:48:50PM
it's in the mma news thread though. maybe a mod can move it to another thread.
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