Following his fight at the inaugural Super Fight League card, my colleagues were extremely critical of Bob Sapp and his desire to put in the work needed in the gym to be a successful fighter. It's an ongoing joke that Sapp has essentially become a "weekend warrior," a fighter who schedules so many fights that he's forced to tap almost immediately just to keep his bookings the following weekend.
Prior to his fight at SFL 1, Bob Sapp made various claims but the most unbelievable, as in no one actually believed it, was that he was putting in significant time in the gym to prepare for James Thompson. Sapp stated he was finally taking his career seriously and was training anywhere from three to six hours a day.
In typical Bob Sapp fashion, the fight finished quickly with the “Beast” tapping to a single leg takedown off of a scramble. Initially believed to be a knee injury, Sapp left the cage in good spirits, celebrating yet another easy payday and another money mark fooled. Once again the world bought into the Bob Sapp hype only to watch him escape the fight without giving an honest effort.
So why, after so many disappointing performances from the "Beast" should fans give him another chance? The simple answer is that Sapp is a rarity in the sport. He's so intriguing that no matter how poor his showings, he'll continue to be booked around the world as the star attraction.
His next MMA bout promises to be one of the best freak show fights in MMA history. Sapp will test his skills against the former World's Strongest Man, Mariusz Pudzianowski at KSW 19 in May. If Sapp is the worst fighter in the world, Pudz is not too far behind him in terms of talent and gas tank.
Mariusz Pudzianowski is an icon in Poland. As a five-time winner of the World's Strongest Man competition, Pudz is celebrated for his ability to lift heavy things. This celebrity allows him to pretend to be a mixed martial artist for Polish promotion Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki (KSW) several times a year for a big money payday.
KSW is so desperate for Pudzianowski to be viewed as legitimate that they have booked him strategically. After he was embarrassingly defeated by James Thompson at KSW XVI (16 for those that don't speak Roman), the promotion went ahead and booked a rematch.
The rules for the fight are still confusing as it was only a two-round bout that saw Thompson again embarrass Mariusz. The judges scored the fight for Mariusz and Thompson went on a rampage in his post-fight interview. The promotion changed the decision to a “No Contest” because of a “judging error” and Mariusz escaped without taking the loss.
So what can fans expect when Sapp and Pudzianowski collide in May? It would be unfair to try and hype this as anything more than a fight between two massive men with extremely limited skill sets. Sapp was booked because of his propensity for losing fights and his name recognition.
Make no mistake, this is not a legitimate fight. While for legal reasons I cannot claim this to be a worked fight, Sapp was not hired to win. His role will be to put Pudzianowski over for the Polish crowd. For literally tens of seconds Mariusz will put a beating on Bob Sapp who will ultimately submit to strikes.
Once again Mariusz will be the national hero. The man who bested the “Beast.” And Bob Sapp? He’ll leave Poland with another hefty check from another satisfied promoter who got exactly what they wanted.