"ANY PLACE . . . ANY TIME". . . 

Page 1 - part 1 - 5

Page 2 - part 6 - 10

© Marc Wickert 

photos courtesy of UFC 

Itís hard to think of the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) without thinking of David "Tank" Abbott. From the moment Tank made his dynamic Octagon debut in UFC VI, the international fight scene has never been the same. Martial artists, boxers, would-be tough guys and all fighters alike have had to review the street-effectiveness of their skills, or have chosen to turn a blind eye to the havoc this street fighter has unleashed on the martial arts world.

Leading up to UFC XVII, Brazilian Luta Livre exponent Hugo Duarte claimed, "Tank is not a fighter, heís a bully. He does not have any skills. He needs to learn a lesson. He is going to get beaten up badly." Ironically, Tank Abbottís motto is "Any place, Any time." This offer of Tankís is also directed at "Anybody." Even when UFC officials were unable to find a willing competitor to take on Maurice Smith in UFC XV, Tank Abbott accepted with only a last minute notice. At the time, Abbott described his preparation for the fight as being, "Three days to get from my bar stool to the Octagon." Tank hasnít won all his fights, but heís not afraid of losing, which is probably the main factor that separates him from his adversaries. And despite tournament outcomes, 90% of his opponents have ended up in hospital.

In a lead up to Tankís fight with Hugo Duarte, it was announced that Duarte only wanted to fight the big names, and that heíd won most of his fights in less than a minute Ė his last going for 28 seconds. Tankís reply was that heíd never heard of Duarte and asked, "Is that the guy on the coffee can?" Hugoís fight with Abbott also lasted less than a minute: 43 seconds to be exact. But this time it was when referee John McCarthy had to step in to save Duarte from Tankís vicious jack-hammer right hooks, after Abbott had escaped from a naked choke and an armbar. To rub salt into the wounds, Tank then unceremoniously placed one of his T-shirts over Hugoís flattened body.

But Tank says he was not phased by Duarteís remarks before the fight. "I always hear people say things. It doesnít bother me one way or another. Theyíre a little beneath me to get under my skin."

Looking back on David Tank Abbottís career, he started wrestling at nine years, and at eighteen, became a junior college All-American. "I took up boxing at twenty-five. I was getting thrown in jail for fighting too much on the street. So I stumbled into the old boxing gym and started throwing the dogs in there, which just meant more fighting on the street. It was like, ĎNow I can box. Now I can punch and rip your head off,í" says Tank.

When David L Abbott debuted in UFC VI at Casper Events Center in Wyoming, he was labelled "Tank" and categorized as a "Pitfighter." In retrospect, Abbott says, "I didnít give a ratís arse Ė just let me fight."

And fight he did. But unlike the song ĎTaking it to the Streetsí, Tank took the streets to the Octagon. At 265 lbs. Abbottís first bout was against 400 lbs. John Matua, who was representing the ancient Hawaiian bone-breaking art of Kuialua. Just 21 seconds later, Abbott was menacingly standing with his arms out, imitating his unconscious opponent, who had to be helped from the Octagon whilst wearing an oxygen mask.

Advancing into the semi-finals, Tank dispensed with 300 lbs. Paul Varelans in 1:51, after unmercifully unloading huge punches to Varelansí body and face, before forcing Varelansí head into the Octagon fence with his knee, and tauntingly smiling to the crowd.

Tank says it was purely by coincidence that his first two opponents were the two biggest men in the tournament. "It was actually by chance. They had lottery balls. I think it was by destiny. Itís no fun beating up little guys. You have to beat up the big guys Ė they flop on the floor more."

In the final, Tank came head-to-head with Russiaís Oleg Taktarov. Although the result eventually went to Oleg by way of a choke, the bout lasted 17:45, and is regarded by many as one of the greatest fights ever. "It was a war. Two guys in a war, and thatís what went down. It was a good time."

Tank delivers a jackhammer

Abbott was the first competitor to wear mitts into the Octagon. Some spectators thought they were worn for his opponentsí protection, but they were to protect his own hands from breaking Ė a problem other competitors were experiencing. They were soon to follow Tankís example. "Thatís probably because Iím smarter than all those other dumb guys. Itís true."

As per usual, Abbott does back up his talking: heís a university graduate with a degree in history. "Now I make people history Ė The Historian."

In the Ultimate Ultimate 2, Abbottís first bout was with Carl Worsham, whoíd previously threatened to, "Tame the Tank". Not surprisingly, Abbott seemed to have it in for Worsham, and from the opening seconds of the fight, Tank appeared to be trying to throw his startled opponent over the five-foot fence and out of the Octagon.

"If Iíd really wanted to throw him out of the Octagon I would have. But he just kind of ended up there. I actually thought about it for a second, but I thought, ĎNo f*ck, I donít want to work all over again. Heíll probably just come back in. I may as well throw him on his back and beat the shit out of him.í"

It seems that there is rarely a boxing match held these days, whether it be a title bout or just a spar at the local police boys club, where the fighters donít try to stare each other down in order to intimidate and unnerve one another. And this practice often occurs before many of the UFC battles. But Tank doesnít partake in the ritual, opting to pace up and down the Octagonís edge like a caged tiger waiting to pounce.

"Iíve been looking and looking, and Iíve seen many fights. And Iíve never seen anybody get hurt by being stared at. So I donít really waste my energy on that. I think when they get punched in the face they get unnerved. If I hit them right, theyíll get unplugged. No more electricity going to their brain."

Police officer Big John McCarthy was the first man to referee a Tank Abbott UFC match. In the beginning, Abbott believes McCarthy wasnít impressed with him. But things seem to have changed. "Heís an all-right guy. I donít think he liked me at first, but my overwhelming charm won him over. If you believe that, Iíve got a bridge in Brooklyn you can buy."

It would appear that Tankís street-fighting days are over. In the past, he would bait people into thinking they could take him. But today, even the bravest and most foolish steer clear of David L Abbott. "No one wants to mess with me. And if people get beat up, itís always by people who look like me. Itís never really me. If the cops call, I tell them it had to be a look alike. Itís never really me. And there are a few imitators out there, thatís for sure."

Surprisingly, Tank doesnít have trouble getting training partners despite his reputation. "Iíve got old friends that Iíve known for a long time, so itís not really a problem. Weíre like birds of a feather - you know what I mean? Youíve got to be kind of screwy to lock yourselves in a room and beat each other up. But theyíve been doing it for years, and theyíre still around."

On June 6, 2003, Tank Abbott will be returning to the Octagon to take on another UFC legend, Kimo, in Las Vegas. The two warriors could have met up previously in Ultimate Ultimate 2, but they were placed on opposite sides of the bill, and Kimo was too exhausted to continue after his epic bout with Paul Varelans. Tank says heís not approaching his training any differently for the UFC 43: Meltdown, but is preparing for the showdown as though it were any other fight. "Iíll just get my cardio going, get my hands flying, get my wrestling down, and letís go."

Tank says he hasnít heard anything about the shape Kimo is in, and doesnít really seem to care. He expects his own weight to be around 260 lbs. Tank is back to lifting weights and is bench pressing around 570 lbs. having previously benched 600 lbs. on a UFC show. "I do really deep squats without a belt at over 405lbs for 4 Ė 6 reps. When youíre running all the time, it doesnít pay to do reps of ten because itís kind of like double dipping. My fitness is good: Iím down to drinking two days a week.

"I competed in the Huntington Beach Shoreline Marathon about four years ago. You can look it up so youíll know Iím not lying."

When it is suggested to Tank that Huntington Beach is a beautiful place, his reply is swift. "Itís so beautiful that theyíve kicked me out of almost 90% of it. I canít go into many public bars anymore, because sometimes I get a bit too loud for them."

On the subject of boxing trainers, Abbott has parted company with Jesse Reid and is now with Tyrone Bennett. Amazingly, fight commentators are quick to comment on Tankís powerful right hand, but they fail to notice the incredible destruction he has caused with his left strikes. "My right hand is about the same size as my left," Tank laughs. "I hit pretty hard. When you have my kind of strength, and you know how to throw punches, you should be able to hit hard. I donít eat steroids and I never have. Thatís probably why people make comments about my being so robust."

For the Americaís Cup yacht race, Tank travelled to Fremantle, Australia, and got to see some action of his own after the crew of an opposing yacht started to bad-mouth Dennis Connor. "We went into a bar and they got one of their big grinders, you know the guys who do the sails, and he thought he was going to box me in the alley, until I started using his head for a soccer ball."

Former All-American Wrestler Tank Abbott

And what does David Tank Abbott drink when he is sitting at the public bar?

"Stoliís on the rocks with a minute splash of cranberry."


His tip for the Kimo fight? "Put your seat belts on, cause Iím going to be slinginí some dogs!"


Tank Abbott
The Timeless Warrior

part 2

©Marc Wickert  photos courtesy of UFC 


"I was fighting when the prize was going to jail
I wasn't winning a belt
And I'm still here doing it
I loved to do it then
And I still love to do it now
And I didn't turn on the TV one day
And say, 'Hey, I want to be an Ultimate Fighter'
I've been a fighter/warrior all my life
And that's the way I'll die."
-David L Abbott
(from UFC 43 Meltdown prior to the fight)

The above words could have come from Jesse James, Ned Kelly, Spartacus or some other timeless warrior whose legend will hover over the centuries, but not be laid to rest in any fixed time frame. In two hundred years from now, no one knows what techno-wizardry people will be looking back at today's videos on, but Tank Abbott will be regarded as one of these elite warriors.

Tank was recently asked who he thought could play his role when they make a movie of his life, and Abbott honestly answered, "Nobody could." When Tank enters the Octagon, it appears as though he could have been beamed down from another galaxy to do battle. He could be from any time zone, and no other fighter has this aura about him.

David "Tank" Abbott is ageless. He isn't interested in computers, the Internet or any modern-day gizmos. He lives in a timeless zone where a handshake means something, where litigation is litter-gation - the kind of stuff that should be flushed away. Tank is a man of his word, and he stands by it. He is a man who would rather settle disagreements toe-to-toe than contribute to the monetary obesity of the legal system. He may swear, but he doesn't hide behind words, and when he does employ colourful language, it's probably what kids are listening to on their televisions or CD collections anyway.

And there are a lot of other admirable qualities about David L Abbott that, sadly, seem to be missing from today's society. If Tank likes or dislikes something or someone, he lets it be known, but he's honest and doesn't lie. He's not a backstabber - everything's 'up front' with Tank. He'll fight with all his heart, but he isn't afraid to lose. In his Octagon appearances, Abbott has displayed patience, determination and perseverance. He may be different, but what you see is what you get - the genuine, undiluted Tank Abbott.

Abbott displayed incredible strength of character in his last two UFCs. When asked if there was anybody in particular he would like to fight next, Tank says, "The only people I'd like to fight right now are Frank Mir and Kimo Leopolodo again. My mind hasn't been in fighting since....I don't know....since around the Super Bowl time. I had some bad news come my way, and I hadn't really wanted to be fighting....I wanted some time off. But I signed a contract, and I'm a man, and so I honoured it. But obviously not to my....to making things go my way. I'm kind of going through the motions, but my head hasn't been in it."

Fortunately Tank has finally had some time to himself since the Kimo fight. Though it was only for a week, he did manage to escape to Costa Rica. "I'm still working through it. And I told them (UFC fight organizers) that I'm not going to get in the Octagon again until my head is right. Those two guys I fought, I could beat up them on the same night, and they'd need a stepladder to wipe my arse. But my head hasn't been into it.

"I don't have any fire for anybody, and I'll fight anyone, but those last two fights weren't me. Next time I step into the Octagon my head will be in it." Running is an important part of Tank's cardiovascular training, and like everything he does - he does it with total commitment.

"On a typical week, Monday I'll just go for a four mile jog. Then Tuesday, I'll do eight four-hundreds (measurements in yards), with breaks of thirty seconds to a minute in between. Then on Wednesdays, there's a hill near my house, I run up and down the hill ten times - running up and jogging down. Thursday, I run eight-hundreds, either three or four. And the same thing - with a thirty-second to a minute break in between. Friday, I run two miles, and Saturday, I run hills again. Sunday is my drinking day."

When it's remarked that this is an incredible workload, Tank simply states, "Yeah, well I want to be successful." Tank doesn't do standard deadlifts, but does straight-leg deadlifts instead, without reversing one hand. He says these work his lower back and hamstrings. "You basically would be holding the bar, bend over at your waist, and go down to where it touches your toes, and straighten back up. It's all lower back and hamstrings. I do those after squats."

To build those huge shoulders, Tank uses an incline bench that is more like an upright bench than the regular incline bench. Everything Abbott does is from the heart, or as he says, "There's no bullshit goin' on here." Money has never been a motivational factor for Tank. In fact, he was surprised to receive his first payment for competing in UFC 6. "I shit a brick when they gave me a cheque and I wasn't going to jail."

Prior to Tank's UFC debut, he worked in a liquor store to put himself through university. He regards this employment as being his undoing. "I ended up beating up one of the smart-arse customers I had, and got put in jail for six months. He was a detective's son - not the smartest guy to beat up. And so they came after me with bated breath. He was not so much of a smart-arse after that. I f*cked him - pretty much put him in a coma for a while.

"It went to trial and the judge read my records. And I'd been in a hell of a lot of street fights, so the judge said "Mr. Abbott, you are a maniac. I can't believe you haven't killed somebody.' So I appealed the case, because I didn't beat his arse just to beat someone up - he was begging for a beating.

"Well, I got a letter in the mail saying my appeal was denied and I was going to jail. Around about that time, someone knocked on the detective son's door at about two in the morning, saying they'd got in a car accident and they needed to use his phone. And low and behold, he got the holy hell beat out of him again. The district attorney claimed he knew I had something to do with it, but that he couldn't prove it."

When Tank Abbott does return to the Octagon, his many fans worldwide can rest assured it will be the Tank of old who shook the foundations so many times before, with his 600lb jackhammer fists and ground'n'pound wrestling techniques, who will be fronting up to cause more mayhem.


Abbott favours the Octagon arena to a ring with ropes, explaining that while he has boxed in roped rings, he has never tried to throw an opponent up against ropes and bring them down that way. Nor has he trained in a boxing ring for no-holds-barred competitions.

"It's hard to explain, but it is difficult to stay in a boxing type regiment when you get into the Octagon. It's completely different. I like to call it 'outside of boxing'. You're boxing, but it's really outside of boxing, because you've got punches landing down by your knees. And people react differently while trying to tackle you. So that's cool, you still strap on the old gloves and bang it out."

In recent UFC matches, Tank has been fighting in bare feet, but this is not something he elected to do. "It's the rules, so we have to do it. I'd rather have my shoes on, but I can't do it now. I think it's for the athletic commission and to be able to have the UFC in Vegas."

Can we expect to see David L Abbott Down Under?

"I don't know. When's the next America's Cup going to be on down there? I might go down and knock out a few more grinders. They (an opposing crew) called me a f*ckin' Yankee while they were still mopping up their friend. It was an epic night. All of them standing there with their jaws on the floor, wondering what the f*ck just happened, like their tough guy just got throttled, I guess."

Tank agrees they wouldn't have known who he was at the time, but it's certain they'd know who he is now.

"You better watch out, I might be down that way (Australia). I don't know
when, but like I say, I just got back from Costa Rica, and I don't know if
I'm done f*ckin' and partying. You never know where I might end up."




part 3

© Marc Wickert

On Novenber 21, 2003, David "Tank" Abbott will be returning to the Octagon for the Ultimate Fighting Championshipís 10th Anniversary Ė UFC 45:Revolution. Tankís opponent for the match is Welsey "Cabbage" Correira, who TKOíd Sean Alvarez in UFC 42 with a knee-left hook combination. Cabbage has been openly requesting a fight with Tank for some time, and he is now about to get his wishes/nightmares answered.

In response, Tank Abbott says, "Iím going to be knocking old Cabbage out I think. Thatís if he doesnít take my heart like he said he was going to do," (referring to Cabbageís speech at UFC 44). "I was like, terrified. I was like, ĎI think I better go find a hideoutÖI hope he doesnít know where I live," laughs Tank.

An interview with David L Abbott is always full of humour, clever wit, and spiced sarcasm fired straight from the hip. Tank is also a serious athlete who fights with undying passion. As UFC public relations director Jack Taylor says, "If I were going to war, Iíd definitely want Tank in the trenches with me."

And Tank is back! After taking time off for personal reasons, David Abbott is out of hibernation and ready to launch his own Blitzkrieg. "Iím feeling pretty good actually. Iíve had a little recharge of the mental batteries and Iím back in business.

"I was in a black cloud I didnít know existed. And itís kinda one of those things where you have a little hindsight, you look back, and you go, ĎWow, what was I thinking of a while back?í I was trying to operate, but ÖIím back almost a hundred percent mentally, right nowÖSo Iím doing pretty good."

Tank says he felt like a zombie walking in a haze, but didnít realise exactly what was happening until the Ďblack cloudí had passed. David recalls trying to put it out of his head, but some things need time, and blocking it out was something he couldnít do.

"It ended up manifesting itself in my performances. I was just training to train: like going through the motions. I knew I had to do it. But now, itís like I get up and I canít wait to go and spar, to train, and the whole nine yards. Itís kinda like something I canít wait to do."

The reason Abbott did fight in the Octagon during his Ďdarkí time was he gave his word to promoters heíd be there for the fights, and so he honoured the agreement despite his anguish. "And I also have a problem: I just canít say no to a fight, no matter how I feel or where Iím at. I should have known better, and said no. But I canít do that some times," laughs Tank.

David feels heís in pretty good shape, having commenced hourly runs 5 weeks prior to the interview, in order to burn off excess weight for his bout in Uncasville, Connecticut. "I just started slowly, trying to burn off some of the fat I accumulated over the summer. Kinda like a grizzly bear. I put a big, old coat of fat on me, so I had to get out there and run. And I was doing an hour a day on my treadmill.

"Just after the fight (UFC 44) ended on Friday, I started this week working on my cardio: doing my sprints, sparring, and everything like that Ė doing the whole nine yards. I actually feel pretty good."

In Wesley "Cabbage" Correiraís interview with Joe Rogan during UFC 44, Cabbage graphically described how he was going to take Tankís heart, and continually knock Tank down and let him back up each time, only to knock Tank down again. In response, Abbott replies, "You never know, but somebodyís going to get hurt. And I donít think itís going to be me."

David has no ideal figure in mind for the weight he will be fighting at, but he does know heíll be ready. Tank Abbott is one of the most popular fighters with MMA fans, which is mainly due to his rebel/rogue attitude: Tank lives the life screen stars such as Marlon Brando, James Dean and John Wayne pretended to lead in the movies. But itís also his powerhouse punches, his enormous strength and his total commitment to fighting that fans admire.

"On Friday, I weighed 239. Like I said, Iíve been putting in an hour a day on the old treadmill, which is anywhere from 5 1/2 to 6 Ĺ miles, just nice and slow, burning some blubber off me. But Iíll be slowly putting the weight back on lifting, so I donít know where Iím going to end up, but Iím not going to get too heavy where it effects me. Weight never matters to me. Iím always still strong."

David is talking from his home, and is between training sessions, having just returned from rounds of sparring at Westminster Boxing Gym. He says, "Itís a real boxing gym thatís been around forever. Some world championsÖCarlos Palamino the Welterweight World Champion came out of there. And there are some other guysÖTyrell Biggs was one of the first guys I sparred with in there."

Tank has a weight training room at home, where he does his lifting work. And he chooses to train with the elite athletes in their particular fields, rather than working out with MMA fighters.

"I like to wrestle with guys who are Division 1 calibre wrestlers, and for the most part, they're not really good boxers. But what I do is I split it up. Iíll box and then I go wrestle. And on certain days Iíll put them both together, and have them come at me. Iíll punch one guy and wrestle the other guy Ė alternating minutes."

David says he did watch UFC 44 on TV, regarding it as one of the better things heís seen in a long time. He then fakes a cry. "Some true warriors, huh? They start crying after they lose the fight. Pick up the pieces and go on and fight another day. Donít sit there and cry like a little bitch."

During Davidís "black cloud" period, he suffered defeats by Frank Mir and Kimo. Whilst he agrees it wasnít the real Tank Abbott in the Octagon against those fighters, he would like rematches with them, and says, "But Iím not going to cry about it," adding, "All I can say is theyíre some lucky guys. Thatís all. Every dog has its day, and what can you say?"

Tank Abbott has resisted connecting up to the Internet, preferring to fight, drink and study history: another passion of his. "Iím fighting it (getting the Internet connected) tooth-and-nail. Sometimes I think about it, then I go over to my friendís house and he starts playing on it, and I just go, ĎJeez, thatís too much of a headache for me. Iíd rather be drinking a cocktail than doing thisí. But you could probably do both. That would make for some interesting emails."

Do David Abbott fans have to worry about his going into early retirement?

"Hell no! On a local TV show, Tito was talking about how heís not going to be fighting when heís forty. Heís just using fighting as a vehicle for acting. And I was talking to my buddy, and I went, ĎShit, Iím going to be fighting when Iím seventy, if Iím still aliveí. I mean, thatís what I love to do. Itís not like Iím doing it for another reason. I donít know how my acting career would go," laughs Tank.

The Street Fighting Man

part 4

© Marc Wickert

All photos copyright 2004 Zuffa LLC
Photography by Joshua Hedges

When the Rolling Stones first released their hit "Street Fighting Man" in 1968, thereís little chance they had David "Tank" Abbott in mind as the subject of their song - considering Tank would only have been three years old. But today, when the thunderous tune barks through radio speakers, Tank is understandably the first person most MMA fans think of.

Easily the worldís most famous street fighter, Abbott has a pedigree background in American wrestling and boxing. And although Tank has been absent from the Octagon since UFC 45:Revolution, he is ready to make a return to No-Holds-Barred (NHB) fighting, whatever and wherever the venue may be.

"Iíve been doing the staple boxing, wrestling, submission, weightlifting and condition training. And drinking on the weekends. On a relative scale of one to ten, my fitness is about a five. But it will come back real quick. And Iíve been doing some kicking, and obviously wising up against elbows and knees and that kinda stuff. Just getting back to where Iím on an even keel.

"I get up about noon every day, but I stay up late as hell, and thereís a hundred million dollar lottery in our state, California, right now. And I was lying in bed, wondering how Iíd spend $100 million if I won. So that kept me up all f**kiní night. Iíd spend it on the usual: houses, booze and fights. But that kept me up, and I woke up at 12, and I felt like, ĎOh my God, I feel like Iíve been run over.í

"Actually, I worked out in the gym yesterday: punching and stuff, so I was kinda tiredÖnot much sleep, you know - that rolls. The lotteryís not drawn until tomorrow (28 Aug., 2004), so donít count me out yet.

"Iíll be down in Australia in my own private jet. Iíll have a friend, whoís like a sober interpreter, because Iíll be so drunk. Heíll just be half drunk, so heíll be going, ĎAh, ga, yaÖHe said heís really f**ked up right now.í"

David, will I start looking through the real estate papers for you?

"Absolutely. You know, youíve got to follow the sun."

Although Tankís main fighting style has always been wrestling, and he has displayed incredibly destructive boxing skills, he is now adding some Muay Thai skills to his curriculum.

"The funny part is that I just started working with a Thai-boxing guy. I hadnít been doing it for a while, and I went back to doing it. Just kicking the bag and toughening my legs up. Obviously Iím not going to be the next Larry McDonald, but Iím just toughening my legs up. You know, the first time you kick a bag, you go, ĎHoly f**k. That hurt.í And then about a month later, itís like, ĎWhat the hellís that? Break out some baseball bats and Iíll start slinginí against them.í Iím just doing some kicking and theyíre all thigh kicks.

"I was in the bar the other night, and this guy was being a smart-arse on a bar stool. And my legs are kinda toughened up. So I said Iíd test out my shins and see how they feel right now, and gave him a nice swat right across theÖHe was sitting on a bar stool and his knee was parallel to his hipÖso I kicked him right around the hip area, and he ceased being a smart arse. I kinda chuckled, and walked around the bar and ordered a cocktail, because I wanted to watch it. And sooner or later he walked across, and he kinda had a real bad limp when he was walking out. It (the shin kick) is kinda like my new little toy and I gotta try it out."

But do fans have to worry about Tank Abbott turning up in the Octagon, or any other N-H-B ring, wearing a gi or doing any high-flying, spinning back-kicks?

"No, youíll just see me in the ring, kicking people in the thigh area. Iíve been kicking my friends in the thighs, and they donít think itís too humorous either. Iím actually riding with some guy in the car right now, and he just went, ĎNo. Not funny at all.í I kicked him a couple of times last week. Itís kinda like when you buy a new car: You canít just let it sit in the garage. Youíve gotta test-drive it."

Tank vs Cabbage.

One of Tanksís proteges, Eddie Ruiz, put up an amazing display of skill and courage when he went three rounds with lightweight Yves Edwards at UFC 43: Meltdown. Although Ruiz lost by decision, the pair fought one of the toughest battles the UFC has presented.

"I've been working with my regular training partners: not anyone specific. Eddie Ruiz is still hanging around with me. Heís been bouncing and training. Heís actually doing a lot of cardio right now. I donít drink with him on weekends: He gets too crazy."

At the end of Abbottís fight in UFC 45:Revolution, Tank wanted to address the audience, after receiving a deafening reception from the crowd prior to the bout. But Tank was denied access to the ring microphone. Announcer Joe Rogan complained at the time that he just wanted to hear what Tank had to say, as did the fans.

"For the most part, I wanted to tell them (the fans) that I did not say I wanted the fight to be stopped. The doctor was patching up my eye, and he goes, ĎHow is everything? Is it good?í And I said, ĎNo, I canít see. Wipe my eye cause thereís blood and stuff in my eye.í So he stopped the bleeding, but John McCarthy took the ĎNo, I canít seeí out of context, and stopped the fight. And I was just going to let the crowd know I didnít stop the fight."

Have you been watching any of the wrestling in the Olympics?

"Just the female wrestling. Those chicks are tough. Might get a bottle of booze with one of them - and watch out."

Did you see any of Randy Coutureís recent fights?

"I just saw the one he fought with Vitor Belfort and it was a pretty smooth deal. I liked it. Heís been a tough guy at 205."

At UFC 49: Unfinished Business, Joe Rogan spoke of the pressure outstanding MMA fighters often experience when competing in the Octagon for their first match. "There are a lot of guys that are phenomenal in the gymÖThey spar in the gymÖThey look like world-beaters. And then, under the lights, they just fade. I guess itís just too much pressure, and they canít perform up to their potential. The more comfortable you get in the ring, the more confident you get in the ring."

When Tank Abbott debuted in the Octagon at UFC VI: Clash of the Titans, his casual entry from the dressing room to the ring was more like a man walking from his bedroom to the lounge room, despite being matched against the two biggest men in the Octagon. Tank was born to be a gladiator.

For an athlete who has been an MMA legend for so many years, and fought by the motto, "AnywhereÖAny time", fans will be pleased to witness this Timeless Warriorís return, wherever it may be.

David, is there anything youíd like to add to the article?

"Just like any other fighter, Iíve had my ups and downs. Two thousand and three was one of my down years due to unrelated personal issues. And Iíll be back stompiní arses soon."

For more on David "Tank" Abbott : www.ufc.tv


The Huntington Beach Bad Boy Turns 40

Part 5

Tank Abbott, the original Huntington Beach Bad Boy

© Marc Wickert

All photos copyright 2004 Zuffa LLC
Photography by Joshua Hedges

On April 26, 2005, the original Huntington Beach Bad Boy turns 40. But judging by his conversation, David "Tank" Abbott has bigger things on his mind at present.

"I have a fight coming up. I took it on short notice, but sometimes you canít look a gift horse in the mouth. Iím fighting Cabbage again: I get the rematch. Iím going to fight him on May 7 at Rumble on the Rock (ROTR). I wanted to fight him at UFC, butÖ Iím going to fight him at a different show, but same Octagon, same everything.

"Iím getting myself into a little bit of shape. Iím taking it on relatively short notice, but if I can hold my breath for 15 minutes, Iím sure I can fight that long. I told you I was taking 12 months off, so now my brainís fired up and Iím ready to start kicking some arse."

At the time of this interview, Tank is dining in a restaurant after doing some solid training. The man who once brought the street to the Octagon, and dispelled a keg-load of myths about many feared martial arts techniques along the way, is sounding like the Tank Abbott of old. The worldís most famous street fighter speaks with the poise of the true warrior, who only a couple of years ago terrorised NHB fighting.

"I just got done lifting weights. I already got my boxing, wrestling and running in today. I did boxing, wrestling submission, and went and got a run in, and chilled for a little while before I did my lifting. I always do my lifting at the end because Iím naturally strong enough, so other things donít suffer because Iím tired from lifting."

Although it seems David has taken most of his fights on late notice, and he says heís not in the best shape of his life, he believes the five weeksí warning is enough for him to "get the job done."

And getting the job done is something Tank always did with the grace of a daisy cutter in a florist shop. Some of Davidís blink-of-an-eye demolition demos can be viewed on Ultimate Knockouts 1 & 2. But he doesnít consider these to rival his best.

"My best KO you havenít seen because it wasnít on TV. It was at a drive-through, fast food restaurant late at night. I was sitting in my car, and this guy was on a Harley behind me with its headlight coming up through the rear window. I was with a buddy waiting to get some late night food. I said to my buddy, ĎWhatís this f**king idiot doing? Heís got his f**king headlight beaming right at us.í It was a summer night so our windows were down and he heard me talking.

"He said, ĎWhy donít you get out of the car and Iíll show you what Iím f**king doing?í So I got out of the car and walked back there. He got off his motorcycle, and I said, ĎDude, you donít want to do this.í So he punched me, and I rolled my shoulders, and I came back and drilled him with a straight right. I saw his eyes. You could see the life leaving them Ė they just went blank. He fell over like a tree in the forest.

It was quite the scene. He was lying next to his motorcycle, fidgeting, doing like convulsions.

"I walked back, got in the car, and said, ĎI think weíd better leave.í We drove out of there, and the guys who were serving the hamburgers were looking out the window. They had no idea what happened to the guy on the motorcycle. They probably thought he fell off his bike or something."

Tank Abbott vs John Matua

David, can I put that in the article?


Who are you training with these days?

"Oh, just the same old rag-tag crew: my division-one wrestlers, my submission guys, and my boxers."

Will you be at The Ultimate Fighter tomorrow and UFC 52 next week, to check those events out?

"No. They might be lucky, if Iím drunk enough Iíll have the bar flip it on, but Iím not going to be there."

You havenít fought in the UFC since you last fought Cabbage, but youíre still one of the most talked about fighters out there. Why do you think that is?

"Probably because people know that Iím one of the real fighters. Iím a real warrior, and they know that. Iím not fighting for fame or money. Iím fighting for the love of fighting."

Are you ready for the big question now?

"Go ahead."

How are you going to celebrate your 40th Birthday?

"I will tell you, I will be out of my mind by 8 oíclock. Iím going to train during the day, and then God knows whatís going to happen."

So if anyoneís in Huntington Beach that night, they should stay off the streets!

"Thatís probably a good idea."

Hey David, is there anything youíd like to add?

"Just that I took a year off and my brainís back 100%. Iím coming back to kick everybodyís arse who got lucky they fought me in 2003."

Did you want to give your sponsors a plug?

"I donít have any sponsors. Like I said, Iím not in it for the money or anything. I donít have any sponsors. The only sponsor Iíd want is Stollies, but I think Iíd make them go broke. Iíd drink them out of all their profits."


Click here for Tank Abbott
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