Forrest Griffin: From reality TV fighting star to hit author

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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Opponents of Forrest Griffin might want to avoid page 21 of his New York Times best-seller "Got Fight: The 50 Zen Principles of Hand-to-Face Combat."
The passage in question isn't even written by Griffin. But the anecdote from his friend Big John, speaks volumes about the mixed martial arts star.
Before making his name in the UFC, Griffin was in law enforcement. Griffin, Big John (also in law enforcement) and John's roommate went out on the town. The roommate, also a cop, proved to be a blowhard.
When they all got back to Griffin's apartment, he had had enough and wanted to shut the loudmouth up. So he asked him to toss over a lighter, fired it up and placed it directly under his arm while fixing his eyes on the offending roommate.
"After holding it there for approximately four seconds, he said, 'My record is 16 seconds. Wanna see me break it?"' Big John recounts.
Three seconds later, as "the smell of burning flesh filled the room," Big John knocked the lighter away. The stunned roommate didn't say a word the rest of the night as Griffin, electing not to treat the wound, relaxed and watched a movie.
"That kind of toughness is not something you can develop. It originates from lunacy," Big John concludes. "It might not be a perfect condition if you want to be a refrigerator repairman, but it's tailor-made for fighting."
Given that lunacy, it's perhaps not surprising that Griffin didn't hesitate when asked to step up against middleweight champion Anderson Silva, considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet.
Griffin (16-5) had been preparing to meet Thiago Silva, but UFC president Dana White - looking to challenge the 185-pound champion after two wins that were workmanlike at best - pulled him aside during a photo shoot and offered up Anderson Silva instead.
The fight, the co-main event Saturday night at UFC 101 at Philadelphia's Wachovia Center, will be contested at 205 pounds.
The Anderson Silva matchup came out of the blue, Griffin acknowledged.
"But you know me, I'm always game, man," Griffin said, recalling his reaction. "Whatever. It's good, We'll do it. Let's make it happen."
Silva (24-4) will be a hard nut to crack. The 34-year-old Brazilian has won all nine fights in the UFC, a run in which he has only lost one round (to Dan Henderson, whom he submitted in the second round at UFC 82).
Other than a disqualification loss to Yushin Okami in January 2006, it has been 13 fights and 55 months since Silva was beaten - submitted by Ryo Chonan in a Pride bout in December 2004.
Silva is more than a 3-1 favourite to beat Griffin according to some bookies, but the Brazilian will have his hands full. As the lighter story illustrates, the 30-year-old Griffin is very focused - and apparently has a high pain threshold.
"I think this is one of those fights that is right up Forrest's alley," said welterweight Amir Sadollah, who trains with Griffin at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. "He loves these fights - tough opponent, good name. He likes the hard route and he's got it. This is definitely a fight I know he's excited about it."
Griffin is coming off a TKO title loss to Rashad Evans at UFC 92 in December, a fight in which he was doing well until the third round when Evans caught him attempting a kick, took him to the ground and punched away.
Prior to that, Griffin had decisioned champion Quinton (Rampage) Jackson and scored an upset submission win over former Pride star Mauricio (Shogun) Rua.
The UFC chose Griffin because he will push Silva, a wrecking machine of a fighter who did not showcase many of his skills in recent comfortable wins over Thales Leites and Canadian Patrick Cote.
"I think he's bored in the 185-pound division," UFC president Dana White told a fan question-and-answer session prior to UFC 99 in June in Cologne, Germany. "He's walked through everybody with ease. So I decided to put him in with somebody who would definitely fight him, challenge him, make him work - and somebody that he has to worry about."
"It's going to be interesting," he added. "I've talked to Forrest and Forrest thinks he can do it, I can tell you that. Forrest said to me: 'The difference between everybody else he's fought and me is I know I can beat him.' So we'll see."

Organizations: New York Times, Griffin's, Wachovia Center

Geographic location: Big John, Philadelphia, Las Vegas Cologne Germany

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