Heavy’s E Spencer Kyte notes that Tim Sylvia is ‘one of the most maligned former champions in all of sports’ – his star has crossover anti-appeal that transcends even the sport of mixed martial arts. But get this: Kyte thinks that Sylvia doesn’t deserve it:
No one goes back and reassesses the championship runs of basketball, baseball or hockey teams, wondering if the opposition was really that good or banishing them from ever returning to the major leagues when subsequent seasons don’t deliver the same success.
Individual sports show the same sensibility. Golf has produced some unexpected champions who never repeat their major championship success, and the same can be said of tennis as well. Names like Todd Hamilton and Thomas Johansson aren’t dragged through the mud the same way mixed martial arts fans and media mangle the moniker of the former UFC heavyweight champion.
Despite having twice held championship gold and competing in nine title contests under the UFC banner, Sylvia is slammed at almost every turn. His triumphs over the likes of Ricco Rodriguez, Andrei Arlovski and Jeff Monson are picked apart and panned, while his failures against Fedor Emelianenko and Ray Mercer are mentioned at every turn. No matter what Tim Sylvia says or does, he comes out on the wrong end of the editorial far more often than not.
I wouldn’t say that it has nothing to do with what Sylvia says or does – I’d actually argue the opposite. Sure, Big Tim has never really been a huge favorite even back when he was knocking motherfuckers out, but the real hate only came after he started jabbing his way to decision wins so awful that the UFC happily gave him his walking papers when he asked to leave the org back in 08. Zach Arnold sums up the situation by showing Tim’s legacy from a TUF noob’s point of view:
I think amongst newer MMA fans (say: three years or less), the legacy and/or impression of Tim Sylvia (fair/unfair) is that:
* He’s the guy that got involved in the bizarre “love triangle” feud featuring Andrei Arlovski and Patricia Mikula. Leave it to Cage Potato to summarize that deal. Leave it to Arlovski to call Sylvia pee-pee taste.
* He’s the guy who Randy Couture slammed around for five rounds in Columbus, Ohio to win the UFC Heavyweight title and belched (on camera) in between rounds
* The guy who got knocked out in 36 seconds by Fedor
* The guy who got knocked out by Ray Mercer in 10 seconds
Just one of those events is hard enough to recover from, but when you have a string of incidents like that it creates a caricature that is hard to erase or correct.
Don’t forget the pants pooping and various rascal / scooter photos as well. But in the end it’s all about the fights and Tim hasn’t been involved in a non-joke match in almost two years.