If you are one of the people filling my email and facebook inboxes with fanatical Mark Kerr love, please stop. Apparently, my comments in the last Weekend Picks article about “The Smashing Machine” have lit the fuse of some of PRO MMA’s more incendiary readers.
I did mock those who claimed the main event of M-1 Breakthrough was a “trap fight” for Muhammed Lawal. I also alluded to the fact that Mark Kerr is not and never was a great heavyweight. Apparently this view is so outlandish and controversial that one fine gentleman found it necessary to dub me a “Brock Lesnar Noob.” I can only assume this is worse than your everyday “TUF Noob.”
It was hard to not feel sorry for Mark Kerr on Friday night, and I’m not even talking about the massive extra headshots he had to take thanks to an inept referee. As the infamous documentary showed, Kerr has been forced to deal with serious issues in his personal life, and thus he has never come close to realizing his potential. Somehow his fights since then have remained gripping for some hardcore fans. For them, it seems as if a wrestler with his size and pedigree can always be a factor in the shallow waters of the heavyweight division.
Instead Kerr has proved time and time again that there is no chance of rekindling his past fire. Since the PRIDE Grand Prix 2000, Kerr has gone 3-10, including losses coming against MMA stalwarts Yoshihisa Yamamoto, Tracy Willis, and Ralph Kelly. His fall has been dramatic and depressing, but if you think about it, how high was he really when it all started to come down?
We are at a point in MMA in which the history is still being written, and for sports purists like myself it is important that the past be remembered correctly. Partially due to his fall from grace, Mark Kerr’s earlier career is looked at with undue reverence. He did sprint to a record of 11-0 without looking close to fallible, but look at the names he conquered to get there.
The 11-match streak includes three tournament victories as well. The UFC 14 and 15 tournaments did not feature any real competition, unless you include Greg “The Ranger” Stott whose 17 seconds with Kerr amounts to his entire fighting career. Prior to that, the WVC 3 tournament did not feature any significant tests until the final, and Kerr simply maintained top position of Fabio Gurgel for the entire 30 minutes.
Once in PRIDE, he fought bigger names, but not necessarily better fighters. Hugo Duarte is famous for starting a fight on a beach and Nobuhiko Takada even admitted all of his wins were actually worked matches.
Kerr was brutal and rightfully earned the title of “The Smashing Machine” early in his career, but his accomplishments do not measure up to the real pioneers in the heavyweight division. Last Friday and Saturday nights provided a real contrast, as on the M-1 card Kerr was stopped with relative ease, and the next night two real heavyweight legends gave us one of the best fights of the year. Mark Kerr will be remembered, but hopefully not at the expense of some of the real legends of the division.
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