March 26, 2013

The Fall of the Pit Bull

By Adam Martin

What in the world has happened to Andrei Arlovski?

The former UFC heavyweight champion of the world, who was at one time one of the sport's top pound-for-pound fighters, is now a member of the World Series of Fighting, and the feisty European main evented their second-ever event
this past Saturday night when he took on former welterweight-turned-heavyweight Anthony Johnson.

Despite a 15-pound size advantage, a two-inch height advantage, more experience in MMA, and coming from a better camp, Arlovski wasn’t able to overcome his smaller opponent, losing the fight by a 29-28 across-the-board unanimous decision, and the fight wasn’t as close as the scorecards indicated.

Having now lost to a former 170-pounder in the main event of a WSOF card, which will eliminate any and all hope of ever getting back with Zuffa (he wore UFC gloves at the event so you know he wanted back in), Arlovski’s MMA career is in peril, and it’s a fair time to examine "The Pit Bull’s" fall from grace.

After a stellar 10-4 run in the UFC, which included him winning the promotion’s heavyweight title, Arlovski’s contract ran out and he signed with Affliction for a deal valued at over a million dollars per fight (which is a far cry from the 30k/30k show/win deal he currently has with WSOF). In his first outing with Affliction he scored a huge knockout victory over Ben Rothwell, and he followed that up by going to Elite XC and fighting Roy Nelson, who he knocked out too (and oh, what a feat that is).

At the top of the world again, Arlovski squared off against Fedor Emelianenko at the second Affliction show in a battle over who would be the No. 1 heavyweight fighter in the world. But despite being competitive in the opening minutes of the bout, Arlovski soon succumbed to a knockout blow, and his career has gone downhill ever since.

Following the loss to Emelianenko, Arlovski was knocked out by Brett Rogers and Sergei Kharitonov, and lost a decision to Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva in a disastrous four-fight stretch that nearly ended his career. But he rededicated himself to the sport again under the tutelage of Greg Jackson, and somehow found himself on a five-fight undefeated streak en route to his main event showdown with Johnson.

But he lost the fight against "Rumble," and, worse yet, he broke his jaw in the fight. He’s lucky he wasn’t knocked out, and he likely would have been had Johnson not continually clinched with him along the fence for much of the fight. And even still, Arlovski was knocked down and nearly TKO'd at the end of the first round.

Arlovski is 34 years old now, sports a 19-10 (1 NC) record, and has been knocked out seven times in his career. With the UFC not likely to come calling again, and with the risk of suffering that next knockout blow that could permanently change his life, maybe it’s time for "The Pit Bull" to call it quits and leave the sport while he still has his wits about him. Because, at this point, it might not be worth the money anymore.

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