Tank Abbott was one of the bad boys of the early days of UFC. Now 53, the California based heavyweight showed little compassion for his victims whilst his bash and crash approach utilised strength over skill. A wrestler and footballer in high school and college, Abbott then received boxing coaching, turning him into an absolute weapon.
He used this deadly combination to engage in a good deal of street fights, apparently rarely losing. At 6’ and 120kg, the man was an absolute monster. He worked at a liquor store to get through college when he beat the crap out of the wrong person. The young man was the son of a detective. Consequent charges led to a conviction and a 6-month stint in jail. The sentencing judge remarked “Mr. Abbott, you are a maniac. I’m surprised you haven’t killed somebody.”
His jail time led to an even harder demeanour and when he made his UFC debut in 1995, his pre-fight interview was laden with expletives as he mocked the sport he was about to engage in. The brawler prevailed in his first fight, knocking out Hawaiian John Matua. Abbott further solidified his reputation by mocking Matua’s convulsions after the KO while the ring doctors rushed the cage. He then smiled as he beat Paul Varelans to a pulp in his second fight of the night.
After retiring in 2003, Tank tried to make several comebacks through PRIDE, EliteXC and Strikeforce however had minimal impact against younger and more skilled fighters. Once a street fighter, always a streetfighter, Abbott still loved getting down and dirty. In 2011, a 46-year-old Abbott took on old foe, Scott Ferrozzo.
The two had met on the big stage at UFC 11 when Ferrozzo won by unanimous decision. The backyard fight was a little different. The two met, severely out of condition doing their best to hold their own. It was a one-sided affair with Tank getting the job done, but Ferrozzo showing his typical, and sometimes comical, defiance as the pair struggled. Check it out: