With Leather Book Club: Tank Abbott’s ‘Befor There Were Rules: Bar Brawler’ Part 1

Tank Abbott's toupee

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Tank Abbott Bar BrawlerEd. note – Brandon here. As regular readers of With Leather know, we have been obsessed with former UFC fighter Tank Abbott’s debut novel, the thoroughly-titled Befor There Were Rules, A Trilogy By #1 MMA Cagefighting Legend David “Tank” Abbott, Book One, Bar Brawler, A Novel since news of its existence broke last week.

So far we’ve written about the book’s Amazon synopsis (“Tank Abbott takes readers from the parking lot to the cage with a realism and honesty about mixed martial arts never before told or exposed”) and Abbott’s incredible follow-up where he says he got drunk to write it and it’s just like The Old Man And The Sea

We need to know everything about this book. Thankfully, With Leather favorite Jessica, aka Lobster Mobster, actually ordered a copy (!) and seems pleased with it (!!), so we’re letting her do the grunt work and create a sort-of SparkNotes for the trilogy. Without further ado, here is everything you ever wanted to know about Tank Abbott’s book trilogy with an ‘e’ missing from the title but were afraid to ask.


Tank wants you to understand how true he is and how much of a real warrior he’s always been. He despises posers and the people that have turned mixed martial arts into something clean and profitable. Apparently fighter safety isn’t important for any reason other than that it leads to more money to be made.

Thanks to his degree in History, Tank knew he could write this novel, but so much time being a real warrior left him hazy on grammar rules. Luckily, a “prominent author and director” advises him to ignore conventional spelling and grammar conventions, which allows Tank to cut out the bullshit and just be true to himself. Just like the time he ate sliced New York steak at an anniversary party at Spago in Beverly Hills with his hands.

Key line: “Several years ago, when I started writing this, I was sitting outside at the Malibu Health Club, looking at the queen’s necklace, sipping on a siren, and struggling with what I was going to write.”

What the f**k does any of that mean?

Tank Abbott Beer


Fights of all kind are important to Tank. Back in the good old days of the early 90s in Southern California, two drunk guys could beat the hell out of each other and there were no problems. Now, some jerk can say something you object to, and then you get into legal trouble when you punch his face into bloody chunks!

This novel isn’t meant to be autobiographical, because while Walter Foxx and Tank encountered similar choice-forks, Foxx occasionally deviates from the path Tank went down, sometimes to Tank’s chagrin. Surprisingly, there are some characteristics that Tank shares with his self-insert protagonist, like LIVING LIFE FULL THROTTLE AND NOT CARING WHAT ANYONE THINKS ABOUT HIM!

Key lines: “I wrote a decent opening but as my life would have it, I lost it in one of my drunken vodka blizzards, which seem to come around nearly every day.”

Dairy Queen absolutely refuses to make vodka blizzards for me, no matter how much I try to bribe them.

“No one gets over on me. If you think you have and you’re still untouched then I just haven’t gotten around to you yet.”

Tank Abbot is waiting in your closet and he’s going to punch you for calling him fat online back in 2002. But he might be passed out drunk, so just hang on.

“Walter Foxx represents how a warrior thinks so let’s talk about how he became a fighter in the No-Holds-Barred Fighting Championship, or better yet how the NHB came across a real warrior in the world and not some poser who shaved his legs, dyed his hair, and made up a persona just to become known as a fighter in order to impress people.”

Nice Tito Ortiz burn, Tank!

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