I hate the bro hug. Two fighters, in the midst of a fight, taking precious time off the clock to hug it out? It's the worst thing ever.
But when Mark Hunt and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva embraced before the fifth round of their fantastic majority draw? I couldn't bring myself to mind it. The two enormous heavyweights, men built for brevity, had done battle for 20 glorious minutes. They deserved it.
It was a fight that started slowly, former training partners concentrating on technique and strategy, eschewing physicality for science.
And then, just when it appeared this fight might be a dull drag, things took a turn. The technical and cautious gave way to a hot mess of a fight. Silva, the grappler, scored the bigger punches. Hunt, the kickboxing star, took his foe to the mat.
"Both these guys made it look like we didn't know what we were talking about when it came to the fight," Fox Sports commentator Rashad Evans said after the fight. "Neither of them did what we thought they were going to do."
It was mind-bogglingly unpredictable, a topsy-turvy battle of wills that neither man was willing to concede. The five minutes that followed, if anything, were even better. Exhausted, hurt, delirious, they fought on.
Hunt's dyed-blonde hair had been repainted red. Silva's unusually large head, a product of his acromegaly, had been punched and elbowed in a manner that would have sent any normal man to the showers if he were lucky, to an early grave if he weren't.
"Both of these men displayed unbelievable heart and skill," announcer Kenny Florian said after the fight. Somehow, even that gushing praise felt like an understatement. It was the greatest performance of either man's career and one of those rare fights that helps you understand why there's no other sport in the world quite like this one.
Technically neither man won the fight. In reality, both did. Their names are now written in history, side by side with Randy Couture and Pedro Rizzo, participants in one of the best heavyweight fights in MMA history.
But they were both losers in a way as well. This was the kind of fight that takes years off a fighter's life. Both were punched over and over again in the head, blows that were scary to behold.
And, sicko that I am, I want to see it again.
After five rounds, there was no official winner. The solution is simple—give us five more.
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