Dear Roy: bring back ‘Big Country’
Anyone feel short-changed
because Roy was below par in combat, it was more about the big man
himself. Or rather, the lack of him.
Where was “Big Country”? In my mind: out there in the wilderness
somewhere, still grizzled and growing that Duck Dynasty beard and
whistling tunes with a keg of beer strapped to his back and some
animal skins slung over his shoulder.
Am I alone in thinking that the 249lbs version of Roy Nelson
just doesn’t cut the mustard?
“Little Country” was the man who weighed in at the
Houston event, and it was Lil’ Roy being tossed around by
Daniel Cormier’s use of leverage and technique as if he were
I want big fat Roy, roly-poly Roy, and I want to enjoy every
acre of him for every second that he fights.
‘Big Country’ in 2011 against Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 137
Shorn of those pounds, Lil Roy was no quicker than usual, and
still blowing hard halfway into the first round. This slimline
version is not on. In fact, he should be fined for not making
weight–the Nelson way.
Don’t we identify with Nelson because he is the everyman?
Don’t we admire what he has done because he has taken the
heaviest punches from the baddest heavyweights on the planet, with
belly, mullet and beard?
Didn’t sports fans love an Yokozuna, William “The
Refrigerator” Perry, Pablo “The Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval–or Babe
Ruth, for that matter–because of their shape and size? Those
facets endeared them to us.
Without that belly, Roy just looks wrong. Right now, sucking
himself in, he looks like his midriff’s been ravaged by a
bush fire. He was once six times that of Willie Nelson.
Time to let it go again, Roy. Please.
Cut the beard if you have to, but don’t burn the belly
pork. Big Country without the belly is a bit like Nick Diaz without
the sideways stare look and the nostril flare; like Mike Bisping
being muzzled in the build-up to a fight; or indeed, Chael Sonnen
being banned from banter with Brazil, on ethical grounds.
The belly was the Nelson trademark. Sure, his “hobo chic”–
criticism from UFC President Dana White at his media scrums, but
you have to be somebody to get White on his soap box.
Nelson celebrates his KO win over Cheick Kongo at UFC
The beauty of Roy Nelson is his huge size, and even bigger
silences. He’s a nightmare interview for the media men,
because his insouciance is legendary. Lose the fat; lose the aura.
Sampson had his hair; Roy has his belly.
In so many fights, you know opponents had trouble with
underestimating him because of the blob they were facing off
But in Houston, from a few feet away, he looked like a man
caught on the border–neither big, nor, indeed athlete. Just as
aficionados of MMA dream of pulling off moves which only Anthony
Pettis or Anderson Silva or Jon Jones are capable of in the
Octagon, don’t many of us with our own bellies and man
strength admire the way that Nelson nullifies opponents, takes the
beatdown and appears to emerge unscathed time and time again?
Here’s a little prayer that Nelson gets the turkey and
dumplings in early for Thanksgiving, and gets that big old roast
belly back to what it ought to be.
That way, he can don a Santa suit in six weeks time, do what
Mother Nature meant him to do by delivering presents at Christmas,
and then, in the New Year, when most folk are planning (or at least
claiming to be thinking) about UFC Fit and The Dolce Diet, put on
some pounds and get ready to be big bad “Big Country” again.