In the grand tradition of the great British thugs -- media-proclaimed “hard men” like Lenny McLean, Charlie Bronson and Mark Brandon Read -- Lee Murray is moving through the ranks like Parliament was waiting at the end. I have never heard of a man so driven to occupy a jail cell or a morgue with such urgency. (The closest American equivalent: probably Steve-O.)
If you’ve only come into mixed martial arts via the hyper and Xyience-plastered “Ultimate Fighter” era, you’ve likely never seen Murray fight. He had long, corded muscles, a severe expression and a militant attitude. He hit very, very hard and he shocked the hell out of virtually everyone when he went and submitted Jorge Rivera with a triangle choke in his first and only UFC appearance. All said, he fought about 10 times and won most of them. In what would become his career finale, he was smacked around by Anderson Silva. He took Silva the distance, though, and that didn’t happen again in 13 fights.
Fighting was Murray’s day job: He moonlighted as a hoodlum. (Or perhaps it was the other way around.) He was a doorman -- almost all of the UK toughs start as doormen -- and racked himself up some good pub stories that almost always ended with Lee running from police while a smart-assed antagonist was brushing dirt off his disembodied teeth. In 2005, he squeezed another good tale out of a bar brawl, but this one cost him a few pints of blood: Stab wounds punctured his lung and clipped his artery. (This is the part where you hear that Murray shouldn’t have lived.)
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