Ten Years Ago Today, Rashad Evans Landed One Of The Most Devastating Knockout Punches Of All Time On Chuck Liddell
The first Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view I ever watched was UFC 81: Breaking Point. Its main event featured Tim Sylvia taking on Antônio Rodrigo “Minotauro”/”Big Nog” Nogueira for the UFC Interim World Heavyweight Championship, but more importantly (to me, at least), the co-main event of the evening was a debuting Brock Lesnar vs former Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir. Lesnar was my main and only draw to mixed martial arts, as a lifelong professional wrestling fan, and I really knew nothing about it before watching this pay-per-view.
Now, Lesnar may have lost on that fateful February night, but my love of the barbaric human cockfighting was born, and just a few months later, I had the opportunity to watch “The Iceman” Chuck Liddell fight for the first time ever live, coming off the 2007 Fight of the Year he had against Wanderlei Silva. I was stoked. Remember, I’d just turned 10 years old and was still at this point enjoying the UFC as “real WWE”, so I was naturally drawn most to fighters that looked and acted like pro wrestlers. This guy…
…fits that description. The mohawk, the goatee, the head tattoos, and the phenomenal nickname/shorts combo just made me want to be the biggest Chuck Liddell fan in the world. Not to mention the legends that were going around on the internet about the guy, and his upcoming title shot.
I bought UFC 88 on pay-per-view, made some popcorn, got the Pepsi all ready to go, enjoyed the undercard as the jitters built in my tummy…annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd my guy got knocked the fuck out. Brutally. As brutally as I had ever in my life seen anyone get knocked unconscious in my young life up to that point. Journalist Alexander K Lee recalled the punch today, and stated that he “thought it broke Chuck’s neck”.
It was a pretty legitimately scary moment watching live, especially as a newcomer to the sport who was pretty uninformed at the time, and looking back…yeah it may be to blame for some of Chuck’s brain damage, but BOY what a highlight. Just straight dedded. My word.
Happy Anniversary on the win, Suga!