Let me tell you the story of Iron Will. Iron Will was a scrawny Latino from the Bronx who claimed his style was kung fu and who looked and acted like he’d spent the last few years on a major crank binge. But he was friends with the promoter of New York City’s only underground fighting league, and if the promoter ever needed a warm body to step into the ring – and as underground fight shows go, that was often – Iron Will was always ready. Well, in December of 2008, Iron Will shows up to one such event, which was being held in a basement boxing gym in Inwood (a neighborhood in upper Manhattan), and the promoter tells him to warm up because he needs him to fight. Iron Will goes into the back and starts shadowboxing. The show gets underway. In the ring, the promoter fights a Muslim kickboxer from Brooklyn and makes the kickboxer verbally submit, a Wing Chun stylist wrecks some overweight dude who had claimed to be undefeated in 400 fights, and a white kid from Long Island lands a spectacular head-kick on a wrestler and KO’s him. All told, there ends up being a decent amount of fights, and when it’s all over, everyone – the audience, the fighters, the fighters’ teammates – shuffles out. The promoter then walks around turning off all the lights, but he hears something in the back and goes to check it out. Turns it it’s Iron Will, who’s still shadowboxing, warming up for his fight. Iron Will hasn’t realized that the show went off without a hitch and that he wasn’t needed. He doesn’t even realize the entire place is empty. And it’s quite possible that if the promoter hadn’t gone into the back to check out the noise, Iron Will would still be in back warming up to this day.
That’s my story of the dumbest thing a fighter’s ever done, although I’m not sure Iron Will’s condition could be attributed to dumbness.
Here’s what some more media types had to say about the subject:
- Miguel Barragan of Fighters.com: “Considering how many dumb and just plain idiotic decisions professional fighters make outside of the ring or cage, I have decided to pick David ‘Hello Japan’ Gardner as my nominee for the ‘dumbest thing a fighter has ever done’. Besides having a record that nearly mirrors the record of Bob-fucking-Sapp, Gardner suffered a loss under the DREAM banner in similarly embarrassing fashion as just about all of Sapp’s losses. In a bout against Japanese submission ace Shinya Aoki at DREAM7, Gardner was taken down by Aoki and gave up back-control for an extended period of time. After some scrambling, Gardner escaped. Aoki again took Gardner down and just as before, took his back once more. However, this time, an over-confident Gardner decided to pick this exact moment to soak in the atmosphere. He peered into the sea of people and waved to the Japanese crowd while saying ‘Hello Japan’. Unfortunately for him, all he can get out was ‘hello Japuugghhh’ as Aoki took full advantage of Gardner’s moronic over-confidence and brief loss of concentration and sunk in a deep rear naked choke for the easy win. Needless to say, this move was so dumb, Sherdog.com has taken it upon themselves to gift the nickname of ‘Hello Japan’ to Gardner. How thoughtful.”
- John Petit of Fighters.com: “It was really hard to just come up with one, and I mean really hard, but the ‘dumbest thing a fighter has ever done’ honors has to belong to Jacob Volkmann. If what Volkmann says is true, a day prior to his WSOF 3 win over Lyle Beerbohm he blacked out in his hotel room and had a seizure on the floor. Instead of telling an official, Volkmann kept it to himself and fought anyway. Volkmann says ‘It’s cool, I’m a chiropractor – I’m aiight,’ and so far he is, but the reality of it is that Volkmann set the table perfectly to have MMA’s first death on live television. Volkmann said he needed the money, and I think he should take that money and go back to Hollywood Upstairs Medical College with his former colleague Dr. Nick Riviera from The Simpsons.”
- Brendhan Conlan of FiveOuncesofPain.com: “I’m bad at picking absolutes, especially when there are so many potential contenders to choose from. Do you go with Jacob Volkmann threatening the President of the United States? Quinton Jackson going on a ‘rampage’ while delirious from sleep deprivation and energy drink consumption? Jason Miller’s nude vandalism spree inside a church? Nick Diaz costing himself a title shot by ‘no showing’ multiple press conferences? Forrest Griffin agreeing to face Anderson Silva? One of the million instances of stupidity on the Ultimate Fighter? Dennis Hallman’s Speedo? As is the case in today’s elementary school classroom, everyone is a winner (at least when it comes to boneheaded blunders in the MMA world). So, throw a proverbial dart at the screen, do a quick YouTube search, and try not to disturb your neighbors with all the ensuing fits of laughter!”