Sports history is rife with champions who were somewhat less expressive than the average piece of equipment with which they plied their trade. Bill Russell, Eli Manning, Ivan Lendl and every single golfer and baseball player who has ever lived come to mind. That can be disappointing or inconvenient, especially here in Social Media America, but the fact is that some people and cultures are just plain old not emotional.
That can actually be an advantage in the pressure cooker of big-time pro sports. But the whole thing takes on a different dimension when you're talking about MMA. It may be even more advantageous in combat sports, given all the violence and adrenaline overdrive and all. As you know, Fedor Emelianenko is one of the sport's all-time great champions and unemotional fighters.
There's also the matter of fact that a more robotic fighter is either knee-slappingly hilarious or knee-bucklingly terrifying. No real middle ground there.
Guess which category fits each of these 10 fighters, who I regard as the most robotic, stoic and/or unemotional in the UFC today.
Mark Hunt lands on the list because of his pulseless post-fight interviews. He gets the bottom spot, though, because they seem more like work than shoot, based on the reasonably normal (if not always enthusiastic) answers he gives in other venues.
I have no idea why he goes limp when the most eyeballs are on him, but that's his deal.
Not unlike Hunt, Rory MacDonald's lack of emotion is accompanied by the faint aroma of gimmickry. Nevertheless, he has always come across as a training and fighting prodigy who is perhaps a bit, uh, over-programmed on that side of things, perhaps at the expense of things like, you know, a full complement of human feelings.
But it's OK. All part and parcel of being The Canadian Psycho.
Dan Henderson is not a very excitable guy. Unless he just H-bombed prime Wanderlei Silva or something like that. That steadiness is probably part of what makes him such a tough nut to crack in the cage. Away from the cage, he leverages the lack of emotion with an awesomely deadpan sense of humor.
In the future, the machines will create a plan to strike the very heart of the resistance...before it is ever born.
Not known for a lot of nonsense, the machines send one of their own, a perfectly engineered "eliminator" of life, if you will, back in time to realize the ultimate objective.
What did they send? Well, it was part living tissue. It was part metal endoskeleton. And it was all Duffman.
I worry sometimes about Georges St-Pierre. He is the greatest welterweight in the world. But at what cost success, Georges St-Pierre?
He used to be candid and breezy with reporters. Nowadays he's stiffer than a, uh, like an old board, or what not. The only question he answers with any relish is the one about how it feels to answer all the questions (hint: it's an unfavorable feeling).
It seems by all accounts that he's still the same terrific guy behind the curtain. It's just that the curtain keeps getting shorter and shorter. And that glaring camera seems to be vampiring some of the life out of him.
OK, no dime-store psychoanalysis in this one. Yushin Okami is a block of wood that came to life somehow. He's the Pinocchio of the UFC. That's actually why his wrestling is so good. Have you ever tried to wrestle a block of wood? It's hard.
Gegard Mousasi has his own hilarious brand of emotionlessness. He just fought not too long ago, so his bedheaded apathy to everything around him is pretty familiar to everyone at this point. He actually comes off like a pretty likable guy despite his pulse never appearing to rise above below normal.
Gunnar Nelson is the Fedor Emelianenko of Gegard Mousasis.
The only thing the Icelander really seems to care about is not caring about things. Well, that, and grappling the crap out of everybody.
You know that phrase where you say you "got short" with someone? Like when you get annoyed or whatever? I feel like Jake Shields is constantly short with everyone and everything he encounters, though not out of annoyance or any other reason.
It's just how he rolls. It's like every Jake Shields conversation, every restaurant order, every college term paper presentation, every marriage proposal is an interview with Tiger Woods interview after a two-stroke penalty. Ka-BLAM!
The moniker "baddest man on the planet" feels a little limiting. How about baddest entity? Baddest closed system? Because Cain Velasquez is the baddest closed system on the planet.
Imagine the black hole of emotionlessness that would have opened in the center of the cage between Velasquez and Fedor. I think it would have spontaneously generated a cold, silent and ghostly wind inside Saitama Super Arena. In the middle of July.