Another weekend, another sports figure leave the earth — and possibly again at the hands of a woman.
This time it was Arturo Gatti, found dead at the age of 37 in his hotel room in Brazil.
Reports are that he was murdered, and that police are questioning his wife — one week after former NFL quarterback Steve McNair was shot and killed by his girl friend.
There is no kind of fury like you know what — a woman scorned.
Gatti was never one of the greatest fighters of his generation, a former super featherweight champion with a 40-9 record and 31 knockouts. But he was certainly the most exciting fighter of his team, a warrior who was always willing to trade punches with whoever he stepped in the ring with.
Born in Italy but raised in Montreal, Gatti fought often in Atlantic City and became a fan favorite there. He is best known for the three great battles he had against junior welterweight Mickey Ward, winning two out of the three memorable bouts.
It was tough news for Canadian sports fans. on the same night they celebrated the remarkable win by another of their celebrated athletes, UFC middleweight champion Georges St. Pierre, at UFC 100.
St. Pierre dominated Thiago Alves, particularly out muscling the bigger, seemingly stronger fighter by putting him down on the canvas with one takedown after another. St. Pierre only solidified his claim to the best pound-for-pound mixed martial arts fighter.
The big show of the Saturday night event, of course, was Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir for the heavyweight title, and it went just as I thought it would. As difficult as it is for MMA fans to live with, Lesnar is so big (enormous) and so powerful that even more experienced and talented MMA fighters like Mir, who was stopped in the second round after taking a beating on his back, can’t deal with the force of Lesnar.
It will be interesting to see the fallout from Lesnar’s WWE like act after the fighting, ranting and raving at Mir and make some post fight comments in the ring that were right out of Vince McMahon script. Lesnar is a former WWE wrestler (he is also a former NCAA collegiate champion), but UFC doesn’t want any connection to WWE or insinuation that their product is staged in any way, shape or form.
On the other hand, Lesnar made himself the man people hate enough that they will pay to watch him get beat.
The problem is the only heavyweight who may be able to beat Lesnar fights in a rival promotion — Fedor Emelianenko, who is still under contract with Affliction, though his last fight under that deal is scheduled for Aug. 1. UFC president Dana White predicted after Saturday night’s show that he will sign Emelianenko. “We’ll end up getting that deal done and then we’ll do Brock vs. Fedor and we’ll do a huge fight,” White told reporters.
It will be a huge fight, probably ranking among the greatest pay-per-view shows of all time.
I will be on The Sports Reporters on ESPN 980 AM Washington Monday from 5 to 7 p.m.
To learn more about Thom Loverro, go to www.thomloverro.com