Tim Sylvia's Blogs

  • Big Tim Sylvia Goes Pro (Wrestling) By: Jake Rossen

    Tim Sylvia file photo: Peter Lockley | Sherdog.com

    If you really want to grunt and sweat and make a job of it, you could draw some thin parallels to Tim Sylvia and Harlan McClintock, the fictional protagonist of Rod Serling’s teleplay-turned-movie “Requiem for a Heavyweight.” In both instances, the audience is witnessing two former champions take a precipitous fall from grace in prizefighting -- only to be turned out and suffering exaggerated falls in the witless world of professional wrestling.

    McClintock was the more tragic figure: burned by boxing, he suffered from a punch-drunk brain and few opportunities. Sylvia has no such condition (that anyone is aware of) and will probably make a nice stack of cash for a wrestling debut rumored to be against Josh Barnett at the end of the month in Japan. But isn’t there some level of tragedy in the idea of a champion reduced to flailing around a ring?

    Maybe. Maybe not. Wrestling in Japan is a somewhat more noble pursuit than it is in the States. I doubt Sylvia will be asked to eat dog food, as Ken Shamrock once did on WWE television, or sing a Frank Sinatra ballad in the manner David “Tank” Abbott warbled on WCW. I wonder if this isn’t a double standard: Audie Murphy fought in World War II, acted as bravely as any man ever has, and went on to act on soundstages for Hollywood, even replicating his own war efforts onscreen at one point. And no one gave him any heat for it.

    I suppose the difference is that Murphy put in his time and any acting pursuits were seen as a victory lap: wrestling, in contrast, is a demotion from actual competition. In a world full of movies that can capably present fictional action and where you can watch real fighting, it seems like an antique form of entertainment.

    If you’ve always been an actor, great. If you’re now feigning punches in a circus atmosphere when you were once best known for being a real athlete, it’s more than a little disappointing.

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  • Poll: Sylvia-Buentello

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  • Quick Quote: Sylvia Says Pudzianowski Was Not Strong By: Sherdog.com Staff

    Peter Lockley/Sherdog.com

    Tim Sylvia, speaking Monday on the Sherdog Radio Network’s Savage Dog Show on whether Mariusz Pudzianowski was strong: “Not at all. I’ve faced guys in the gym that were stronger than him. I’m not saying any of the guys I faced can out-bench-press him or pull a car faster than he can or throw keg barrels around like he can, because none of us can, but that’s not what we train for. We train to go against other human beings that are punching you, kicking you, kneeing you or trying to out-position you with their hips. I knew the strength was not going to come into play just because I knew it was MMA. It’s totally different when someone’s trying to grab you and you’re punching them in the face and kneeing them in the body.”

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  • Poll: Sylvia vs. Pudzianowski By: Mike Fridley

    The map below displays regional data for the current poll. Refresh (F5) to update:

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  • Red Ink: Sylvia/Pudzianowski By: Jake Rossen

    File Photo: Sherdog.com

    While it has never been easy to be a Tim Sylvia fan -- the tall, smug fighter is neither an underdog nor ring dynamite -- the past year has been especially troublesome. Since the former UFC heavyweight champion defected from that promotion in 2008 to pursue a big money deal with Affliction, he has endured two losses in three fights. One of them was forgivable (the loss to King Fedor) and one was not (a viral video KO at the elderly hands of pro boxer Ray Mercer).

    To enjoy more exposure in Strikeforce or in Japan, Sylvia will have to turn the punchline title over to Mariusz Pudzianowski, the no-necked strongman champion who is pursuing an improbable career in MMA. In two fights, Pudzianowski has displayed skill on the level of a very large, very powerful child throwing a tantrum. If he had an iota of wrestling ability, his physical pressure would be a nightmare. But as a fighter, he relies solely on explosive movements and basic brute force; as a novelty act, he falls somewhere in between Primo Carnera and the Green Power Ranger.

    This is all high risk for very little reward. Sylvia beating Pudzianowski is an unremarkable chapter in the story of his career. Not beating him would probably be the end of it.

    What It Means: For Sylvia, an opportunity to display a restored commitment to conditioning; for Pudzianowski, preserving his value as a carnival attraction.

    Might Look Like: A complete mess.

    Wild Card: Pudzianowski just fought two weeks ago. While beginners can maintain a busy fight schedule, they’re usually much younger. And better. And not facing former champions.

    Who Wins: Unless Sylvia has completely checked out, Pudzianowski will get a boxing lesson similar to the jab-fest suffered by equally squat-framed Jeff Monson back in 2006. Sylvia by TKO.

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  • Sylvia Goes for Broke By: Jake Rossen

    File Photo: Dave Mandel|Sherdog.com

    At a point I can’t even identify, Tim Sylvia became a punchline. This was not always the case. From the beginning, he was awkwardly built -- to the point where he was once popped for banned substances just to streamline his frame -- but had earned the right to be taken seriously. He was a 6’8” heavyweight who used his reach and boxing to make life hell for opponents. He ran a five-fight win streak in the UFC. He knocked out Andrei Arlovski and Ricco Rodriguez when it counted. He busted up Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. There was something there.

    Then came the big-money offer to fight Fedor Emelianenko. (He lost.) Then came the viral video loss to Ray Mercer, a 48-year-old boxer who was once submitted by Kimbo Slice. Then came the attempts to book garbage fights against Wes Sims to powder and diaper his ego. A guy makes those moves, and the jokes start writing themselves.

    Unfortunately, Sylvia’s latest bid is another monkeys-on-unicycles brainstorm: he’s slated to fight “world’s strongest man” Mariusz Pudzianowski May 21. It will be Massachusetts’ first sanctioned mixed martial arts card. If first impressions count, the state had better hope for a power outage.

    Sylvia doesn’t need these fights. What he needs are competitive bouts that can help restore some of the intimidation factor. There is still a place in the heavyweight division for a decent boxer with arms like telephone poles who is hell to take down. He should book a Mercer rematch to correct that glitch, and then pursue fights in Strikeforce or Dream that could put him in some kind of position for a comeback. If he loses to Pudzianowski, a fire hydrant of a man with one “pro” fight to his name, there isn’t going to be anything left of his career to salvage.

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  • Media Blackout: Sylvia Refuses Dot-Com Interview By: Jake Rossen

    The popularity -- and correlating distractions -- of mixed martial arts has made securing fighters for interviews slightly more difficult than a few years ago. They’re pushed and pulled in a lot of different directions, and a Web site request for comment doesn’t usually trump sponsorship obligations, family, or sleep.

    On the whole, though, combat athletes tend to make themselves more available and amenable than their MLB, NFL, or PGA equivalents, most of whom insulate themselves in a Snuggie’s worth of PR and league foot soldiers.

    Shocking then, that Tim Sylvia turned down an interview from Fighters.com shortly before Friday’s rebound bout against Jason Riley in Nebraska. Sylvia, savvy media player he is, apparently asked for some of the questions beforehand. And he might’ve been right on board until the interviewer -- identified only as “Chad” -- previewed this home run: “Did you bed [Andrei] Arlovski’s ex-girlfriend, Patricia Mikula?”

    Chad, Chad. Do you think “Stuttering” John Melendez passed a list of questions over to Ringo Starr’s publicist before asking what we did with the money his mother gave him for singing lessons? If you have to go there, go there unannounced.

    The ambush interview can be amusing in the right hands, but in the end, using a crowbar to peer into an athlete’s personal life is only going to result in a greater divide between press and personalities. And if that happens -- if performers begin to look and sound as clinical as the bores in other sports -- fans are going to have a harder time relating. That’s a big, big component of this sport’s success: athletes as accessible, regular people. Not bubble boys.

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  • Killer Instinct: Sylvia Sharpens Acting Skills in ‘Halloween 2’ By: Jake Rossen

    You loved him as “Aryan #1” in 2007’s “The Death and Life of Bobby Z” and as “Man in Coma” in the Ray Mercer documentary: now see Tim Sylvia as a serial killer.

    First reported by Fighters.com and confirmed by Sylvia’s manager Monte Cox, Sylvia is performing stand-in duties for Michael Myers in “Halloween 2.”

    Currently, he's in Boston shooting "Oxy Morons."

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  • Sylvia ‘Extremely Embarrassed,’ Ready to Fight By: Greg Savage

    Former UFC heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia was removed from his Aug. 1 Affliction bout with Paul Buentello after suffering a knockout loss Saturday to Olympic gold medalist and former boxing champion Ray Mercer.

    Affliction VP Tom Atencio informed Sylvia that they couldn’t take a chance on the California State Athletic Commission forcing him off the card.

    Aside from being “extremely embarrassed,” Sylvia told me Tuesday that he is ready to go but understands the problematic nature of his knockout loss.

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  • Sylvia Weighs in at 311 Pounds By: Sherdog.com Staff

    Former WBO heavyweight boxing champion Ray Mercer will have a little more of Tim Sylvia to contend with when the pair meet Saturday night at Adrenaline III inside the BJCC Arena in Birmingham, Ala., for an impromptu MMA bout.

    The 6-foot-8 Maine native usually sheds down to within five pounds of the 265-pound heavyweight limit during competition. However, Sylvia weighed in Friday at 311 pounds to Mercer’s 257-pound frame –- a far cry from the former UFC champion’s usual tale of the tape.

    The bout, originally intended as a six-round boxing match, has fended off criticism since its inception. It took its biggest hit yet Thursday when athletic commission reps stepped in to squash it all together, claiming it had not been properly approved and regulated.

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