The Inconspicuous Return

I’m starting to get the feeling, more and more, to come back…It’s like a knife that I have to keep sharp just in case I ever decide to jump back in the mix…”

George St. Pierre

Most comebacks in professional sport are met with terrific fervor. In boxing, the comebacks of Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson attracted global attention. When Fedor Emelianenko — The Last Emperor, as he is known in the world of mixed martial arts — declared he would make his comeback on New Years Eve 2015 after a three-year retirement, there was a frenzy over who he would face and if the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) might sign him. Earlier in 2015, there were murmurs that another heavyweight sensation, former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, might leave professional wrestling for a second time in order to make another run inside the Octagon.

Despite the passion and excitement that was generated on most of these occasions, the comebacks were either short-lived or disappointing. Ali was badly beaten by former training partner Larry Holmes and then lost again to Trevor Berbick before finally hanging up the gloves a few months before his 40th birthday. Tyson was knocked out in his final two fights, looking like a shell of himself and admitting after his loss to Kevin McBride that he didn’t have the guts to stay in the sport anymore. Fedor surprised everyone when he fought an MMA nobody in former professional kickboxer Singh Jaideep and beat him up in an expectedly lopsided win. Lesnar decided he’d rather keep working part-time as pro wrestler and raking in the cash than risk serious injury as a cage fighter.

Some returns are less heralded. Inconspicuous, almost unnoticed by the rest of the world. After being knocked out for a second time by Chuck Liddell in 2006, Randy Couture retired only to return a year later and challenge Tim Sylvia for the heavyweight title. Couture was 46 years old, six inches shorter and more than 40 pounds lighter than Sylvia. But, he dominated the giant man to win all five rounds on every scorecard and become the oldest UFC champion in history.

With the creation of Dope on the Ropes, I’m making my third semi-serious run at blogging. The other two were as unheralded as it gets. The most popular post on my last blog had 300 reads if I was lucky. But, I’m hoping to sneak by, like Couture, and create a memorable space to reflect on topics that we rant about in Facebook posts or with friends in coffeeshops. Most of you know me as either a friend or a local sports writer. I’ll be talking about the topics of friendship and sports here, as well as manhood, spirituality, and literature. I’ll share poetry and short stories. Who knows. But, I invite you along for the ride.

Also, if you have ideas for stories or blog posts along the way, share them. I aim to post at least once a week. Let’s see where this goes together.