The Day Rolles Gracie Fell

This is probably a stupid thing to base an article around. I realize this. It might be perceived as mean spirited, amateurish, armchair quarterback-ish … or maybe even all three of those things. It contains blatant digs and absurd statements. Just know that this article is not intended as a personal attack on Rolles Gracie. Also know that I can’t help it. This was too good not to write about.

The fifth installment of the World Series of Fighting was not good. Lots of awkward Joey Varner interviews, not enough fights. The fights that did take place weren’t exactly barnburners, either. They also seemed to be fighting in the dark. David Branch rendered the viewing public comatose with a dominant performance against Danillo Villefort. Andrei Arlovski struggled mightily in outpointing Mike Kyle, in a fight that the judges easily could have given to Kyle. To be fair, Georgi Karakhanyan scored a nice submission win over Waylon Lowe, but that was the lone bright spot, other than what I’m about to write about.

I had never seen Derrick Mehmen fight before, but based on the interview snippet beforehand, my hopes weren’t exactly high. Dude didn’t exactly come off as a guy who fought for a living. He seemed more like a guy that got baked and ate Cooler Ranch Doritos while he YouTubed wakeboarding videos. Rolles Gracie would surely ground this man and tap him.

The first round started, and the unthinkable started happening: Rolles Gracie began soundly outstriking this man. Yes. Push kicks to the body. Jabbing, with a left hook behind it. Making his man miss badly with “in the parking lot at the Warped Tour” style punches. This was like watching Doug Marshall attempt a flying triangle, but then the attempt actually worked. What the hell?

The takedown attempt never came from Rolles. Watching the fight unfold, why should it have? Again, Rolles was dominating a professional heavyweight MMA fighter with his boxing. He half assed a takedown attempt at the end of the first, but easily took the round as Mehmen trudged back to his corner with a look on his face that muttered “I can’t believe I’m being outboxed by Rolles Gracie right now.”

The second frame began, and Rolles picked up right where he left off, outboxing this man that allegedly had multiple wins as a professional. Mehmen couldn’t figure Gracie out. At all. Then he landed a thudding overhand right on Gracie’s chin, and, well …

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I’m not going to say that this was the funniest moment of my life, but it seriously might crack the top 10. Rolles fell like a guy who had just worked a 16 hour shift before coming home and collapsing onto his bed. He fell like a wacky inflatable arm flailing tube man that had just been deflated. He fell off of his feet and into the record books. The only thing that was missing was sad tuba music.

As MMA fans, we sometimes have a visceral reaction to outlandish things that happen in fights. After seeing Chuck Liddell get smashed by Rashad Evans, I collapsed into a fit of laughter. The whole scene was great: The silence of the Atlanta crowd, Rashad’s wife screaming with delight, the actual sound the right hook made, the suddenness of it all. It was fantastic.

But, watching it again, it wasn’t funny. It was just awesome. Watching Rolles’ tumble again? Still funny. Side splitting, even. I can’t stop watching it. I just stopped writing this article for a solid 5 minutes to watch that GIF over and over again. This might make me an asshole, but at least I’m honest.

Rolles Gracie is an excellent grappler, and in the first round of that fight, he had clearly improved as a striker as well. I sincerely hope Rolles keeps fighting. It’s a win win for fans. Either he keeps improving his striking game and actually becomes a good heavyweight, or we get more moments like that.

My life is different now.


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