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4/12/14 9:38 AM
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Underground Blog
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In his great "A Fighter's Heart" Sam Sheridan conveys what it is like to be backstage with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at a fight. It was in Yokohama, Japan, at Pride 25.  Big Nog had just lost a battle for the Pride Heavyweight Championship.

It was on 16 March 2003.

"Rodrigo, with his face starting to swell, hugged me and gave me a kiss on the cheek, and I was filled with love for the guy. He just has a lot of love in his heart. It's what has made him.

"Love has given him belief in itself. It's what makes a dog fight past forty-five minutes. Love is what makes us great, and this display of strength, heart, and love is what brings us all to the fights."

Fans love Big Nog. But sometimes in fighting, there comes a time when you love a fighter so much, you don't want to see him fight again.

Roy Nelson, 37, fought Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, 37, at UFN 39 in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Although their ages are identical, physiologically, Big Nog is a much older man.

Cago Potato caught the moment last night. They said Big Nog looked like he was covered in cement.

Blood is one thing.

"What is blood but a little bit of pride pouring out?" asked Renzo Gracie, answering "Blood is the sauce of the fight."

But this was something else.

This is the end:

MMAJunkie's Ben Fowlkes has the story.

I wonder, what was he thinking just then, once consciousness and some semblance of human-level awareness came flooding back in? Did he wonder why he’d ever agreed to this? Did he reflect on how this sort of thing – the waking up flat on his back with no idea how he’d gotten there sort of thing – never used to happen to him? Did he remind himself that, after nearly 15 years in the sport, he has nothing left to prove to anyone, and no chin left to prove it with?

Or did he just immediately begin calculating the taxes on his show money, wondering whether it would be enough once the forces of financial erosion had finished chipping away at it?

I don’t know, but I hope he found some way to make his peace with the facts as they are rather than as he’d like them to be. Nogueira’s already had more revivals and resurrections than most aging heavyweights ever get, so it must be hard to believe that there are really no more rabbits left for him to pull out of his hat.

And, who knows, maybe he could hang around just a little while longer. Maybe he could even win another fight or two that he has no business even accepting, like it’s 2011 all over again and he’s practically limping into the cage against Brendan Schaub before being carried out as a national hero.

Or maybe – probably – he’d only end up with more fights like this one, fights that seem like decent ideas right up until they start.

Read entire article...

Mixed martial arts is dangerous when you are 21, and only gets more dangerous with the years. It is no game for old men. 

Cesar Gracie ‏@CesarGracieBJJ  
Minotauro is a legend that has done it all but needs to retire from @ufc  CTE is no joke.

Rodrigo Nogueira @Minotauromma
#MinotauroNeverQuit
Team Nogueira


4/12/14 9:45 AM
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BW92
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Sure is Phone Post 3.0
4/12/14 9:46 AM
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Chest Rockwell
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Absolutely. Nothing left to prove. Phone Post 3.0
4/12/14 9:48 AM
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Brigham
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He has nothing left to prove. Hopefully he's in a financial place where he can live comfortably without having to fight Phone Post
4/12/14 9:53 AM
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morse
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Yes. That was hard to watch. Absolute legend I loved to watch his fights when he was in his prime.

4/12/14 9:58 AM
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CaptainAhab
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Edited: 04/12/14 10:04 AM
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Obviously, he can retire and have nothing at all to prove.

Should he? It's a bit harder to say.

I have never been more sure a fighter was done than after his first Frank Mir fight. Remember Zombie Nog? That was sad.

But if he would have retired at that point we would have never seen Nog v. Randy, one of the best HW fights ever.

If he had retired after getting smashed by Cain, we would have missed him KO Shaub.

If he had retired after Mir made potato chips out of his arm, we would have never seen him tap out Pee Wee Herman.
4/12/14 10:04 AM
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PrestigeWorldwide
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Is this a rhetorical question? Phone Post 3.0
4/12/14 10:05 AM
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GROUNDnLB
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He should of retired two-three years ago. He has nothing left to prove. One of my MMA idols, that overcame death as a kid, was a BOSS then and a BOSS now. I don't want him to take any more shots and trauma to the body. Phone Post 3.0
4/12/14 11:02 AM
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NatualBornTickler
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Sadly yes, I'll miss him dearly and if he isn't inducted into hall of fame pronto I demand we riot Phone Post 3.0
4/12/14 11:10 AM
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MexiCain AmeriCain
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Yes, 2 years ago Phone Post 3.0
4/12/14 11:19 AM
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ThickS0lid N Right
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Ben Fowlkes is an ass Phone Post 3.0
4/12/14 11:24 AM
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Sam Sheridan
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Nice piece of writing from Ben.
4/12/14 11:34 AM
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Nick
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He still has the tools to continue to compete at a high level. That said, he should retire because he wants to not because he is washed up.
4/12/14 3:24 PM
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Blazing Knees
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37 is not 'an old man' I don't care how old his face looks.  Randy won the strap in his 40;s and lots of guys have fought past 40 at a high level. 37 is young_ I wish I was 37, I'd give my left nut to be that age again

4/12/14 3:32 PM
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absolutesperry
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I don't want to see another fight vs Mir. If he won this fight then OK but he doesn't deserve it and the thought of watching him lose a 3rd time to Mir would be horrible.
I'm happy to know that he had the opportunity to finish Mir in their 2nd fight but shit happens. Phone Post 3.0
4/12/14 3:41 PM
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buvaiser
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He should have retired after schaub or couture imo
4/12/14 4:01 PM
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rkm456
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Blazing Knees - 

37 is not 'an old man' I don't care how old his face looks.  Randy won the strap in his 40;s and lots of guys have fought past 40 at a high level. 37 is young_ I wish I was 37, I'd give my left nut to be that age again


Sure Couture won his title in his 40's, it was also his 23rd fight. Last night was Nog's 45th. He might be 37, but those are dog years. Those Pride guys would fight 4 or 5 time a year. That's insanity. He, Wand, Hendo, Shogun and a few other legit legends need to seriously look at retirement. Both for their health and their legacy's.
4/12/14 4:25 PM
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biva
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No.














It was time 3 years ago. Phone Post 3.0
4/12/14 4:27 PM
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orcus
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It is obviously past time for him to retire. He has seemingly no ability to defend himself anymore, and he is fighting in a division where guys do a lot of damage.

He's been KO'd three times and had his arm injured twice by subs in the last few years.
4/13/14 10:19 AM
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GarlicSauce
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I love Ben's writings.
4/13/14 10:52 AM
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tapi
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Nog is very entertaining to watch nowadays, I think he should still fight against Hunt and Overeem before retiring
4/13/14 11:21 AM
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orcus
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He has no chance whatsoever against Overeem, and against Hunt it depends on his ability to get a takedown. I think he is so slow these days, and Hunt so heavy and stocky with ever-improving TDD, that Nog would get KO'd on the feet again.
4/14/14 10:35 AM
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Fitzsimmons Shift
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rkm456 - 
Blazing Knees - 

37 is not 'an old man' I don't care how old his face looks.  Randy won the strap in his 40;s and lots of guys have fought past 40 at a high level. 37 is young_ I wish I was 37, I'd give my left nut to be that age again


Sure Couture won his title in his 40's, it was also his 23rd fight. Last night was Nog's 45th. He might be 37, but those are dog years. Those Pride guys would fight 4 or 5 time a year. That's insanity. He, Wand, Hendo, Shogun and a few other legit legends need to seriously look at retirement. Both for their health and their legacy's.

Overeem, although only 33, has had fifty fights, suffered more (T)KOs than Nog, and still looks great.

Vitor doesn't have quite as many "fight miles" on him, with thirty-four bouts on his resume, but is still in condition and knocking on the door of a title shot.

So is Hector Lombard, 36 and a veteran of forty MMA bouts, on top of a (physically gruelling) judo career that took him all the way to the Olympics. He only recently re-invented himself at an entirely new weight class.

Nog's had a hard life, and has looked bad taking hard losses, recently. But I don't see much evidence that his chin is "gone" (his recovery was reasonably quick after the knockdowns preceding the final KO blow) and there's every chance he could get himself in reasonable condition again, even at 37.

He looked entirely capable of winning his rematch with 36 year-old Werdum before that ill-considered sub attempt, so we shouldn't write off his ability to perform entirely.
4/14/14 10:59 AM
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Tomato Can
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Yes, Nog should retire. He is starting to remind me of latter day Chuck Liddell. You can tell the skills are still there, but he is just too brittle. He gets rocked by everything that hits him and he isn't quick enough to get out of the way. Watching him is stressful because even when he's going well, you know things can go bad for him at any moment.
4/15/14 2:46 AM
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rkm456
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Fitzsimmons Shift - 
rkm456 - 
Blazing Knees - 

37 is not 'an old man' I don't care how old his face looks.  Randy won the strap in his 40;s and lots of guys have fought past 40 at a high level. 37 is young_ I wish I was 37, I'd give my left nut to be that age again


Sure Couture won his title in his 40's, it was also his 23rd fight. Last night was Nog's 45th. He might be 37, but those are dog years. Those Pride guys would fight 4 or 5 time a year. That's insanity. He, Wand, Hendo, Shogun and a few other legit legends need to seriously look at retirement. Both for their health and their legacy's.

Overeem, although only 33, has had fifty fights, suffered more (T)KOs than Nog, and still looks great.

Vitor doesn't have quite as many "fight miles" on him, with thirty-four bouts on his resume, but is still in condition and knocking on the door of a title shot.

So is Hector Lombard, 36 and a veteran of forty MMA bouts, on top of a (physically gruelling) judo career that took him all the way to the Olympics. He only recently re-invented himself at an entirely new weight class.

Nog's had a hard life, and has looked bad taking hard losses, recently. But I don't see much evidence that his chin is "gone" (his recovery was reasonably quick after the knockdowns preceding the final KO blow) and there's every chance he could get himself in reasonable condition again, even at 37.

He looked entirely capable of winning his rematch with 36 year-old Werdum before that ill-considered sub attempt, so we shouldn't write off his ability to perform entirely.

A couple things need to be said. I'm not implying that his chin is gone, I'm suggesting that 45 fights, and the type of fights that a lot of them were are what has contributed to his current state, some guys have long careers with many fight and manage to avoid both slugfests and injuries, others do not. Particularly in recent years, he's been the recipient of both some tko's and some serious injuries, which is generally going to be the type of thing that really adds on the "fight miles" as you say (great term, seriously) I don't doubt he could continue to perform, same goes for the other Pride legends I mentioned, but are they more likely to eek out a couple more great moments, or actually return to their old form? I'd guess the latter rather than the former.

I also think that it bears mentioning that both Overeem and Vitor are kind of notoriously tied to the "fountain of youth" if you catch my drift. Not that I doubt the entire sport is filthy, but those 2 are pretty much the sport's PED poster boys.

Hector Lombard is a bit of a different story, and I'd be lying if I told you I'd watched a pile of him earlier in his career, but I don't remember him fighting what one would call the upper echelon of fighters before getting to the UFC, nor do I remember him being particularly injury prone. If memory serves he kind of steam rolled everyone between the time he left Pride to the time he lost to Boetsch.

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