Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Cinderella story as much as the next guy, but watching Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, a.k.a., “Minotauro”, a.k.a. “Big Nog”, a.k.a. the nicest, most lovable Brazilian you ever saw, get beaten like a red-headed stepchild holds about as much appeal as, well, watching a red-headed stepchild get beaten. And I can only watch kids get beaten for so long before I say, “Okay, enough, this family barbecue is awkward and I’m leaving.”
Last night’s UFC on Fuel TV 10 was entertaining in a violence-porn kind of way, especially with how every Brazilian native was given an opponent who belonged no where near a cage (much less the Octagon). However, putting a legendary hero like Big Nog in the main event, and watching him get completely outclassed by a fighter who two years ago wouldn’t have been worthy enough to hold his acai berries, that… that hurt. And it forces us to ponder some very hard questions, such as “Hasn’t this Nogueira guy done enough in his career to retire?” and “Why do I cry when old men fight?”
We’ve seen Minotauro wage absolute war, sometimes overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds and sometimes falling short, but we’ve loved him every time for his unbreakable spirit and heart. We’ve seen him win championships, defeat other legends, and we’ve seen him be the kind of TUF coach who we’d rather die before we let down. And now we see him fading right before our very eyes, a shell of a man who is too slow to stop the armbars and probably too proud to inject that syringe full of TRT into ass cheek like so many of his contemporaries are oft to do. There’s no further glory for him to attain. Continuing now is selfish on his part, and us wanting him to get back into that cage is selfish on our part. He – and we – need to call it quits when it comes to him fighting.
Big Nog needs to retire.
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Photo credit: MMAWeekly.com