Home Columns Shortt Stories & Tall Tales: Coming of Age & UFC 273
UFC 273 Results

Shortt Stories & Tall Tales: Coming of Age & UFC 273

by Michael Shortt

*A specific portion of this column is satirical.*

Most coming-of-age stories are feel-good and hilarious despite children being put in harm’s way. My coming-of-age story will have you questioning my parents’ capacity to raise seven children who all survived to reach adulthood. 

In this edition of “Shortt Stories and Tall Tales,” I will be giving you four stories and leaving you, the reader, to decide which story is the tall tale and which three actually happened.

Story No. 1: Children of the Streets

Most children of the ’80s and ’90s will tell you those were different times. While I would hesitate to let my nine-year-old daughter walk three houses down unsupervised, I was allowed to roam my neighborhood barefoot and alone at the age of three. This was not a high-class neighborhood either. We’re talking low-income projects with shattered glass covering the streets. 

We didn’t have a lot of money, so we made use of objects we found lying around. A wet cardboard box next to a dumpster might not seem like much, but to us, it was a fort or a shield. Take a set of cement steps, a little rain and a cardboard box, and you had the perfect hill for sledding. 

Most children wouldn’t consider a beehive a toy either, but that didn’t stop us. The game all the neighborhood kids gathered to play involved sticking a plastic bowling pin in a hole in the ground that held a beehive and rattling the pin around. If you got stung, you lost that round, with the last one standing, declared the winner.

One kid in the neighborhood decided that the only thing the community was missing was a supervillain. He used to collect the bees in Mason Jars and threaten to unleash them on us if we didn’t do what he said. Of course, bees didn’t scare us because of our go-to game, so when he finally decided to unleash the bees, he accidentally dropped them in front of himself. 

It turns out Bee-Man was allergic to bees and spent the next three nights in the intensive care unit. 

Story No. 2: Lord of the Flies

The older kids in the group constructed a fort in the woods. To be granted access, you had to endure a gangland initiation. I wasn’t nearly old enough to qualify, but my sister was about that age. Her assignment to get accepted was simple:  Make another kid bleed. 

This was usually accomplished through simple methods. Kids would cut each other with pocket knives or scratch each other with sticks. These were clear pretender kids, not authentic gangsters, and expectations were small.

One afternoon I was riding my bike down the street and a girl put a stick in my spokes. This was the go-to move to establish dominance in my neighborhood and a quick way to draw blood to enter the secret society of woods children. Unfortunately for this girl, my sister was also applying and had a short temper. She proceeded to punch the other girl 30-40 times until their moms had to separate them.  I still fear my sister to this day. 

As a result of this violent outburst, my sister not only gained acceptance into the club but ran it for the next five years. My mother was so intimidated by what she saw that she enrolled my sister in counseling.

Story No. 3: Return of the Bee-Man

A few months had passed, and the Bee-Man was making his rounds. My big sister was far more intimidating than me, so he began targeting me when I was out alone. The little things got the job done; putting a stick in my bicycle spokes, throwing glass at me. One day I walked out of my house, and lo and behold, I saw his bike propped up next to my house for some reason. I decided to go on the offensive, slash his tires, and remove his brake line. 

I’m not proud of this, but I was maybe six during this turf war and did not fire the first shots. A day passed, and my father came in fairly upset. He had found the perfect bike for me at the flea market, but unfortunately, some degenerate kid had slashed the tires and removed the brake line. 

I never came clean about being the degenerate kid in this equation, but he managed to get new tires and repair the brake lines to the best of his abilities. I took it out for a test drive that afternoon, and, as karma would have it, I got my foot stuck in the brake line that was half repaired. As I attempted to adjust my foot, I turned the handles ever so slightly and flew over the top.

Karma’s price was seven lost teeth and an apple sauce diet for six months. 

Story No. 4: Ant-Man

This story is strange to me because I did not know it was real until more than 20 years later. I was always strangely affected by movies I watched as a kid. When I saw “Jaws” I was afraid of swimming pools. After seeing “The Exorcist,” I refused to share a room with my little brother. If his head started spinning, I wouldn’t have hesitated to take him out. 

When I was three years old, I remember knocking on my friend’s door only for his mom to answer and inform me that he had started school. That concept meant nothing to me, and I just stared at her, still waiting for him to come outside. Like “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” we had a stare down for several minutes before I decided to move along. 

With all the kids away at school that I knew, I decided to roam around in the woods. Since our go-to game was messing with beehives, I began re-enacting it by sticking a plastic bowling pin in every hole in the ground I could find. It turns out I had poked a red ant colony, and they had more numbers than the bees. I suddenly became covered from head to toe in red ants biting me all over.

I ran from the woods screaming and stumbled upon a neighbor laughing hysterically at the situation while watering his garden. These were the days neighbors could freely intervene with children and tell their parents about it after the fact. Imagine getting whooped by a neighbor only to have them tell your father so he can do the same – different worlds. 

The neighbor eventually gave a helping hand and began spraying me to remove the ants. The sheer number of ants led me to believe this was a childhood embellishment from a traumatic event. But my mother later confirmed I was bitten so many times that it looked like chickenpox, and they didn’t let me in the store with my mother. On top of the ant bites, I was whooped for playing in the woods thanks to my snitch of a neighbor. 

UFC 273 Recap

Gilbert Burns vs. Khamzat Chimaev

Regarding controversial fights, we’re barely removed from UFC 273, where there was no shortage of disputed endings. This card delivered the possible fight of the year in Gilbert Burns vs. Khamzat Chimaev. It also split fans with the decision going to Chimaev despite Burns landing more significant strikes.

Despite this controversy, I had the fight scored in favor of Chimaev. For those who don’t know, UFC has a scoring system unlike any other combat sport that relies on striking, grappling, aggression and octagon control. While Burns may have had the slight edge in striking, Chimaev decidedly owned the grappling, aggression and octagon control. 

While it wasn’t a clear and decisive win, Chimaev proved he could handle a full UFC fight. He absorbed one strike in his first four UFC fights combined and 119 strikes against Burns. This was a much-needed test that Chimaev clearly passed. 

Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan

Aljamain Sterling earned a reputation as one of the most despised UFC champions by securing a win via Disqualification (DQ). In their first fight at UFC 259, Petr Yan hit Sterling with a knee while the latter was down on the mat, which rendered Sterling unable to continue. This led to a win for Sterling by DQ in a title fight.

Fast-forward to their second meeting during UFC 273, and Sterling didn’t do much to help his reputation. Grappling gets an unfair reputation in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) since it’s not overly exciting, and Sterling put on a very unexciting grappling performance. Despite coming back to win rounds four and five, Yan came up short against Sterling, who spent the night getting booed by the Florida crowd.

The UFC doesn’t tolerate unexciting fighters very long. Dana White will strip Sterling of the title or create an interim title at the first hint of an injury. An upcoming match against T.J. Dillashaw makes sense since Dillashaw will keep the fight standing and keep it exciting enough for White. 

Jung Chan-sung (The Korean Zombie) vs. Alexander Volkanovski

This fight was tough for me. Jung Chan-Sung, aka The Korean Zombie (TKZ) is a legend among fight fans and someone I’ve always wanted to see win a title. He is a relentless and tough fighter who has always served as a gatekeeper, and unfortunately, it seems it will always stay that way. When TKZ faces top competition, he inevitably gets shut out, and this was the worst example yet.

Alexander Volkanovski outstruck him 138 to 48, and at times I couldn’t help yelling at the TV for TKZ to “throw in the damn towel” like in “Rocky IV.” I’m sure we will get a few more exciting fights from TKZ, but it’s time to accept that we will never see him with a UFC title.

As for Volkanovski, he’s already beaten his top competition. I believe Henry Cejudo may have seen enough to return from retirement and face him. Either fighter would put themselves in the Greatest Of All-Time (GOAT) conversations with a win if that match were to take place. 

UFC Two Truths and a Lie

In keeping with the spirit of my column, I am now going to provide a few stories from the UFC, and I will leave you to decide which one is a tall tale. 

  • A UFC fighter once went toe-to-toe with the ring announcer in an elevator, and the fight was a draw. 
  • A UFC fighter once hid under the cage to avoid USADA drug testers.
  • Following a fight, both fighters were escorted to the hospital, where they continued to brawl along with one of the fighter’s brothers.

Story Key

Stories No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 are all true, and story No. 2 is a tall tale.

UFC stories No. 1 and No. 3 are true, and story No. 2 is a lie stemming from a rumor initially reported.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to reach out to let me know any short stories you’d like to see used in a future edition of “Shortt Stories & Tall Tales.” For more of my content, find me on Twitter @3rdandShortt.

You may also like

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?
Update Required Flash plugin