Ed. 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?
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!
Chapter One – Kaos Rules:
Walter Foxx wakes up to some serious pain in his right hand and reminisces about last night’s adventure. Foxx and his friends, collectively known as Kaos, were hanging out at Café Pistol at Happening Harbor and watching people walk to the nearby Dead Grunion nightclub for Pajama Night. The ladies looked good and the “pajama boys” were open for ribbing, so it was going to be a good night.
Unfortunately, “Donovan” is a pajama boy, 6’8”, over 300 pounds, an NFL lineman, and he and his two friends decide to take a seat at the table right next to Kaos. Their withering looks are enough to send the younger members of Kaos packing, but Foxx stays sipping his drink. That is, until he hears the call of “Kaos! Kaos!”
Foxx investigates to find six pajama boys and six members of Kaos squaring up. Since it’s an even fight, Foxx hangs back, just watching. Walter’s buddy Marcus is getting the better of his particular pajama boy, so the guy takes off for his car, so of course Marcus has to jump into the moving vehicle, followed by two other pajamas boy, but it’s all good, Marcus puts the driver in a chokehold and forces him to stop the car. That’s when a conscientious objector pajama boy fires a gun into the air and that kills most of the fight mood.
Just as things look like they might be dispersing, Donovan and his two buddies roll up, and Donovan has the “I’m a big guy, so I can intimidate everyone else” attitude that Foxx just hates. After a tense moment, Donovan heads to his car, but finds the fresh paint has been scratched by someone carelessly overturning a beer onto it. He insinuates Foxx is fat, and that doesn’t sit well with Walter. Donovan gets into his car and aims for Kaos, looking to get the crew to scatter. Walter’s friend Tim hucks a beer bottle and it shatters against the trunk of Donovan’s new BMW convertible.
Donovan gets out of his car and challenges the bottle-thrower to come forward and get murdered. Foxx pulls a Spartacus and steps up to the giant. Walter steps into Donovan’s sloppy hook and drops him with a right straight, a one-hit KO (Must be the four-rep 495 pounds Foxx has been bench pressing recently). With Donovan down, Walter climbs on top and starts unloading on his unconscious foe (Steve Mazzagatti must have been refereeing this bout), then he grabs Donovan by the hair and cracks his head into the pavement. With a possible corpse on his hands, Foxx jumps on Donovan’s belly twice before making his getaway.
Foxx waits for the cops and paramedics to show up and take Donovan away before he heads to a payphone to call his buddy Rolando for a ride home.
• Did Walter fight? Yes
• Walter’s opponent – Donovan, 6’8”, 300+ pounds (Had at least 70 pounds on Walter and eight inches thanks to the cowboy boots)
• Did Walter get hit? Nope
• Walter’s Compu-Strike Numbers – 1 standing arm strike (KO), 3+ ground arm strikes, 1 head slam
• Similar MMA fight – vs. John Matua, UFC 6
Key lines: “I was being quiet and trying to be a good boy but he dialed the right combination to open the throw-down vault and it was on.”
Holy crap, that is an amazing line, I have to find situations to use it in my life.
Be sure to visit With Leather again soon for Part 2, featuring chapters 2-4.