Demystifying Fighters' Heights, Auras, and Egos

Jung Soo KimCorrespondent IDecember 1, 2009

You all know what I am talking about. I possibly cannot be the only one cracking up every time I see Shane Carwin listed as 6'3" in the UFC tale-of-the-tape segments. In a recent episode of Inside MMA, he was even listed as 6'5"! In fact, I have seen occasions where even Joe Rogan laughs at the inaccuracies.

I once pictured Carwin trying to walk towards the Octagon wearing high heels (make them pink). The sheer ridiculousness of the idea had me laughing hysterically.

It is quite ironic to think that a guy nicknamed "the Engineer" cannot measure his own height properly, but a man's ego can do wonderful things. Sometimes, it's not even his fault. The industry will always make their models look bigger and better.

The list is just starting.

I have seen Randy "the Natural" Couture listed as tall as 6'2". Then I saw the old man literally look up at Brock Lesnar's gigantic head, and I realized, Couture ain't 6'2". He's my size—around 6'0"! Lesnar is at least 6'3", if not 6'4".

I have noticed that this kind of statistical error is usually predominant in the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions of the UFC.

It's not difficult to understand. Bigger, heavier guys draw more attention and more Pay-Per-View buys. Fabricating stats is nothing new to organizations such as the NBA, NFL or even MLB. Even high school coaches do it.

A casual fan, when told that Carwin is 6'5" and 260 pounds, will cry out, "Holy Moly, now that's a big son of a gun!" Reveal that he's 6'0"-6'1" and 260 pounds and the same fanatic will show only half of the excitement.

It is why Greeks made gigantic statues of their idols; the alpha-male should be stronger and bigger and be perceived in such a way. We all cheer for David to beat Goliath, but secretly in our hearts, we aspire to resemble Goliath and envy him.

In no way am I trying to diminish any of these fighters' reputation, but the truth just has to be told. That's it.

One might dispute: "How can you trust someone like me?"

Well, I think I've done my fair share of research and nosing around. Comparing Pride FC stats with UFC stats has helped, and getting good photos without deceiving camera angles also helps. So here goes...

Quinton Rampage Jackson is a solid 6'0", and not 6'1" as publicized.

Mauricio "Shogun" Rua is only 5'11". Wanderlei Silva and Rua are basically identical in height and many photos have proven this. Add in Rashad Evans.

Fedor "the Last Emperor" Emelianenko is also at a comfortable, but somewhat disappointing 5'11". He seriously looked like a midget next to Andrei Arlovski, who is a legit 6'4" fighter.

Lyoto Machida, Keith Jardine, and Rich Franklin are solid 6'1" fighters. Vitor Belfort is a very strong 6'0".

K-1 sensation Mirko "Crocop" Filipovic is only 6'1", and is identical in height to his nemesis Gabriel Gonzaga. Add in matador Cain Velasquez to the mix, and Frank Mir.

Chuck Liddell and Anderson Silva are at a good 6'2".

Silva is a particularly funny example because back in Pride, he was listed as short as 5'11". Even in his early UFC fights, he was still a lowly 5'11", but then the vitamins and nutritious hamburgers in America apparently did him some good.

Silva grew an astounding three inches during his meteoric one-year rise in the UFC middleweight division.

Forrest Griffin is 6'3"—something that the UFC got right. Cheick Kongo and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira are 6'4", with Junior Dos Santos being somewhere between 6'3" and 6'4". Brock Lesnar is also somewhere around there.

I can go on, but I think I have made my point.

UFC still has a long way to go in getting their fighter's heights right, and they may never even attempt to correct the "facts" they have right now. Some are minimal errors that can be understood, but Shane Carwin at 6'3"?

You gotta be kidding me. He stands victorious while all of his opponents are lying on the mat; that's what matters. Carwin is human-sized, and in fact is a human, believe it or not.

Perhaps this is why I love MMA. It shows how imperfect we are. Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant might be able to play a game without making a single mistake, and Tiger Woods might play a flawless game of golf. Apparently, in a YouTube video, Woods can even walk on water, but in the world MMA, no one is perfect. No one can be perfect.

Disregarding a few flash knockouts that end in a matter of seconds, every fighter leaves the Octagon or ring in a bruised or battered state.

We will cheer for our fighters, regardless of whether they are 5'5" or 6'5". As long as they bring a good fight, we will pay, and we will watch.