What do you get when you stuff a 220-pound, child-eating wolverine into a four-ounce MMA glove?
Apparently, it was almost Mike Tyson.
According to recently unearthed documents, arguably the most captivating heavyweight boxer in history came within a suspended license of stepping in against arguably the most captivating heavyweight MMA fighter in history: Fedor Emelianenko.
With the gulls and sand crabs picking apart the carcass of the once-mighty Pride Fighting Company, new revelations translated from "secret" Pride documents (made available through MMA site MiddleEasy.com) show that Pride nearly sealed a deal for boxing rules fights between Tyson, Emelianenko and Mirko Cro Cop back in 2006.
It would have been a bona fide three-ring, five-alarm side show. James Toney times twenty. And to be honest, I kind of wish I had never learned how close this came to actually happening.
How would the fight have gone? As we learned with Toney and Randy Couture, it takes a lot more than a left hook to swim in the MMA shark cage, and in 2006 Tyson was clearly past his prime.
Still, the boxing rules would have leveled the field a bit. Tyson—who demonstrated his MMA fandom by appearing in a couple of episodes of The Ultimate Fighter last season—would have been a huge global draw, for better or worse, just as MMA was making landfall in the states.
Interesting to think about how this fight could have changed the course of MMA and UFC history.
Novelty factor aside, this could have been a real contest if both men took it seriously. Emelianenko is not the world's cleanest striker, but his power is ferocious. And this is not to even mention Tyson. Sure, he's WAY over the hill, but it's still Mike Tyson. Talk about a puncher's chance.
The book on both these fighters is "don't let them inside." There'd have been very little sticking and moving or floating like a butterfly in this one. Just two Sherman tanks blasting from point blank. My gut says "The Last Emperor stops" a 40-year-old Tyson, but not before Tyson puts up a surprising fight while delivering plenty of his usual intrigue. (Insert ear joke here.)
But regardless, who wouldn't cough up 50 bucks to see this fight?
Unfortunately, those Japanese buzz killers frowned upon "allowing convicted felons to fight in their country," or some uptight rubbish like that. And so the fight never went beyond the paper stage. From where I sit, the world is a little worse off as a result.