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 And Now He’s Retired:

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PostSubject: And Now He’s Retired:   Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:06 pm


Former UFC heavyweight champion Tim "The Maineiac" Sylvia was scheduled to fight Saturday night at Reality Fighting 53, but was not medically cleared to compete. While the reason was not provided, Sylvia announced at the event that there was an issue with his MRI, and he was retiring.

When mixed martial arts was first getting off the ground, long before it was mainstream with gyms everywhere, Tim gamely stepped up. It was at Rhode Island Vale Tudo in 1999. Tim walked up to me and asked if I was his opponent. "No, I am a judge," I said replied, adding to myself, "thank God."

Tim was focused, 6' 9" and over 300 pounds. He took two steps across the ring at Manny Neves (RIP) gym and hit his opponent Mark Geoffry with an open hand strike. Geoffry fell over, and foam came out of his mouth. When he came to, he went to hospital, and made it back by the finals.

Tim went on to win the UFC heavyweight championship.

I have been a fan ever since that first fight, and still am.

The fight Saturday night was for the same promotion he started with. Rhode Island Vale Tudo morphed into Mass Destruction, and then had a contest on the UG for a new name. "Reality Fighting" was chosen; Saturday would have brought Tim full circle.

Tim Sylvia was not a naturally lean athlete. Instead, he had something more important than talent - hard work. He made a commitment to mixed martial arts, moved to Bettendorf, Iowa, and become an anchor of the legendary Miletich Martial Arts.

Manager Monte Cox joked that he thought at first that Sylvia was only four feet tall, as every time he saw him he was doubled over a can throwing up. But the will to train every class until you throw up is rare, and when Sylvia turned pro, he won 15 fights in a row, earning a shot at Ricco Rodriguez for the UFC heavyweight championship. He won that too.

Sylvia won the next one, but then suffered a broken arm vs. Frank Mir. He wanted to keep fighting, but lost the belt. That was more than 10 years ago.

Sylvia challenged for the title against Andrei Arlovski, but came up short. A year and three wins later, he tried again, and beat Arlovski, and then once again in a rematch. Next he outgrappled Jeff Monson, before losing the title to Randy Couture, in 2007.

Sylvia would contest for the title one last time vs. Antonio Nogueira in 2008, but came up short. He kept fighting across the planet, going 7-5 with one NC. And now he has retired.
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