©Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
“I was fighting when the prize was going to jail
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.”