January 11, 2010
Tony Halme was a big, bad man. That's what Randy Couture remembers as he got set to fight the Finnish giant at his UFC debut in August, Ga. way back in 1997. Couture was a winner that night and the rest is history as he picked up multiple UFC title belts on his way to becoming a UFC Hall of Famer. Halme's path was a little different. He was professional wrestling before the UFC, a television star after his MMA fight and eventually got involved with Finnish politics. His post-UFC story came to a sad close yesterday when he was discovered dead at his home at the age of 47.
"Scared [expletive] comes to mind," Couture said about the night he faced Halme. "I didn't see the [prefight video interviews but] my Mom was watching actually watching it on television from Seattle and started crying when he started talking about how he was going to rip my arms off.He was a 300-pound man, I was like 'what have I gotten myself into? It was pretty crazy"
Couture won that night via rear-naked choke. Halme was "Ludvig Borga" in the WWF. His poltical career involved a stint in the Finnish parliament in 2003. Soon after, Halme had issues with firearms and drugs during several arrests. Currently police are saying there was no foul play involved in Halme's death.
"Obviously his hands have been the biggest thing he's improved on working with gil Martinez. He specifically got a lot of time in with Neil [Melanson] for this fight working on his ground fighting. And coming up with submission defense because he doesn't want to get caught with something like he did in the exhibition match [Ultimate Fighter 5 semifinals] against Nate."
Couture has a lot of respect for the Diaz brothers, Nate and Nick. He also addressed the issue of teammates of not wanting to fight each other. He thinks if it came down to it, Maynard would fight Tyson Griffin if the reward is a title shot against B.J. Penn.
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