Big Tim Sylvia: Misunderstood and Underappreciated

Goober TaylorCorrespondent INovember 20, 2008

Big Tim Sylvia (born Timothy Deane Sylvia on March 5, 1976) is a long-time veteran of the sport and a five-time UFC heavyweight champion.  Despite being possibly the greatest UFC heavyweight champion not named Randy Couture, the fans have never really taken to Tim for a variety of reasons, such as his freakish size, his passion for hunting, and other trivial reasons.

It seems most fans simply do not know the real Tim Sylvia.

It is especially sad to see some of the abuse he takes from so-called MMA fans that make fun of his looks. They call him fat, slobby, flabby, ogre, ugly, and other foul names. I wonder how many of them realize that Big Tim was physically and mentally abused by an alcoholic mother growing up?

The following are a few quotes from Tim about his abusive childhood:

"The rough life growing up plays a lot into what I do today. She is still in the back of my mind. I still got that spot inside me where I'm that fat piece of [expletive] that's never going to amount to anything; that she told me every day."

"She was very physical, abusive, you know, until I was about 12. And then I just grabbed her one day and said: Enough's enough. You're not hitting anymore. When she realized she couldn't hit me anymore she decided to mentally abuse me. I almost think I would rather get hit than be talked to the way she talked to me."

Big Tim admits that he is scarred from the verbal abuse of his mother, and that the fans reiterating some of the same old hateful insults his mom constantly used against him was the reason he took steroids before the Gan McGee fight.

The fans were calling him fat and flabby. He later admitted that the steroid usage was for shedding excess weight to look better. Sylvia apologized and made no effort to claim innocence, voluntarily giving up his belt.

Tim has also been criticized as a "boring" fighter, but one has to wonder how many of Sylvia's fights have these critics watched?  Tim has been involved in some of the most exciting heavyweight matches the UFC has ever seen. His fight against Cabbage, the second bout against Arlovski, and the Minotauro Nogueira fight were all exceptional. 

Tim has only put up one performance that could be labeled "boring" by some, and that is the third Arlovski meeting.  But most true fans of the sport should be able to appreciate a 25-minute technical boxing match.

Big Tim has been the butt of jokes on MMA forums across the web for his unusually honest answers during TV and radio interviews.  The most infamous is probably when Tim admitted to a reporter that he was sick going into his fight against Assuerio Silva and, at some point during the bout, he said he "sharted" himself a little bit.  Ewww!

Another infamous Sylvia moment came during a Sherdog radio interview:

"I’ve had sex before with the belt on. That was back in the Ricco Rodriguez days. The night I won the belt I had a sexual experience with the belt on. But hey, I was 25 years old and it was the biggest thing that ever had happened to me in my life. The girl was like hey, are you going to take that thing off. And I said no, I’m not…I’m wearing it and if you have a problem with it, then I’m leaving."

In bed was not the only strange place that Tim would wear his belt.  When he was reigning as champion, he made it a point to take his belt everywhere.  And I mean everywhere.  He took the belt to all the UFC events that he attended.  He was rarely seen in public without it.  There were sightings of Tim at the supermarket with his belt.

Other events in Tim's past that only add fuel to the fire include appearing on the TV show Blind Date, baring his bottom in a prison shower scene in the movie The Death and Life of Bobby Z, selling his PlayStation on eBay, appearing in a dance contest Youtube video, and having a fling with supermodel Patrycja Mikula (Andrei Arlovski's long-time girlfriend, shown in photo).

In summary, I would simply like to state that Tim Sylvia is a great fighter and a nice guy.  Tim, like most fighters,  does charity events that usually go unnoticed, and he always takes time out for fans for autographs and pictures.

I'm not sure exactly when it became the "cool" thing to make fun of Tim, but I sincerely hope that some of those that have made Sylvia-bashing remarks in the past will re-evaluate Tim.  He's a champion that gets hot chicks and has a sweet ride!


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