Greetings fight fans, we are here to to take a moment and look back and celebrate the career of one of the greatest fighters to make his mark on the Tycoon world in Sydney and abroad. This modern day warrior began his career fighting in mid tier Sydney based Orgs SEC & RCS before stepping foot in an AXF/BDU/Syndicate fight cage. It is very surprising to learn that when Dee first took interest in the world of MMA it was because he had gotten a job as a sparring partner at his local gym. Dee reflects back on that time in his life...
Tweedle Dee: "I went to the gym for a job. I was a good wrestler in high school and saw an add in the paper for a sparring partner. I never dreamed I would ever find myself in a main event."
Bawon Samedi, a mainstay in the Sydney fight scenes talks about watching his young protege
Bawon Samedi: "I was a new manager just setting up a gym. I needed some guys to help spar with my fighters. Dee and his bother Dum came into my gym to help my fighters work on their wrestling. But Dee took an interest in some of the striking and picked it up fairly fast. I was lucky enough to get him a scholarship at an established gym run by a big name manager. Dee has been my best, I am sad to see him go."
When looking back at the early days Tweedle Dee seemed destined for greatness as he began his Pro career on a torrid 10 fight win streak before running into former Sydney legend Kha Ri early in 2012. Dee's win streak was enough to earn him a shot at then Sydney's top prize in the Middleweight division as he battle for the AXF Gold. This fight unfortunately did not go the way he had hoped, or planned I am sure however it was nothing short of entertaining for the 18063 fans in attendance in Sydney's Superdome as Kha Ri and Tweedle Dee battled for 5 rounds ending in a unanimous decision in favor of Champ Kha Ri. We caught up with both Kha Ri and his former manager Feyd Harko to get some thoughts on Dee...
Kha Ri : I remember well that Dee was from Sydney like myself. At the time, I already had a decent amount of fights, but there was a handful of youngs guns who were supposed to be the next big thing... Dee was amongst them, and the most hyped of them all.
Kha Ri : His resumé was already impressive, but i knew i had the skills to beat him, and most of all the experience he didn't have... plus at the time, i wasn't that old (laughs). But seriously, i knew i had a tough challenge in front of me and was prepared for a war.
Feyd takes a moment to give us some thoughts on preparations for their encounter with Dee...
Harko : We knew he'd want the takedown... the plan was to break him, put his confidence to the test once he'd realize that for the first time, he couldn't control where the fight took place. If you rewatch that fight, that's exactly what happened. Dee still put on a great fight in the standup, but Ri managed to lands the better blows.
Dee on Kha Ri - "Ri was a big fight for me. AXF was the place to be in Sydney and here I was fighting for one of its belts. I gave him everything I had. But his experience and skill was more than I was ready for."
Following their initial battle these 2 warriors once again found themselves face to face a mere 2 months later ready, willing and able to go to war...
Harko : We were as confident, but we were prepared for Dee to bring hell this time : suffering the first loss of your career changes a fighter for better or worse, and Tweedle showed after that first fight that he learned a lot of lessons and was coming back better than ever.
Ri : The gameplan stayed the same, but it was much harder this time : Dee really didn't want to suffer another loss! (laughs). At the end of it, I honestly didn't know who won, and honestly, after such a great fight, i almost didn't care (laughs) ...it could have gone either way.
After 2 hard fought decision victories we aksed Kha Ri if in his opinion, had he faced a tougher opponent during his career?
Ri : I've had a storied career and a handful of losses, but in early 2012, Dee and I were the shit, the two best fighters from Sydney... He was definitely the hungriest of my opponents, and i was hoping to face him a 3rd time, but it never happened.
Kha Ri also took time to reflect on the great career Dee has enjoyed...
Ri : I remember he had a bad streak after our 2nd fight, but those were really close fights... he managed to rebound in a beautiful fashion and became the superstar we all know now. Being able to pull yourself back together after a few tough losses and beat the shit out of your opponents for such a long time after that is something i respect.
Following the second hard fought loss to Ri Dee went on a bit of a tailspin failing to achieve a victory in his next 3 fights, leaving him winless in 4 and 5 out of 7 without a W would likely send most fighters off into the sunset but Dee took a month off, focused on what made him successful and went on a run in Syndicate that saw him win 7 of 8 fights including 2 against verteran Oswaldo Sanchez. We were able to catch up with Sanchez to get his thoughts on Dee and his 2 cracks at him in the Syndicate Cage...
Sanchez: Going into the first fight I knew it was going to be a real battle, he was young, hungry and well rounded which makes for a great combination. I knew it was going to be one of the toughest fights of my career and that proved to be the case. The first fight was close, it was pretty competitive striking, if anything I just managed to edge it but the takedowns made the difference and gave him the nod on the judges scorecard. I knew in the second I couldn't go in there simply trying to outpoint him and tried to push the pace and be more aggressive, unfortunately I guess I underestimated his power and got caught, but hey, it happens.
Following their second fight Sanchez talks about what he learned and took away from the matchup...
Sanchez: I guess I took some positives out of it, it made me realise that in this day and age you need more tools to your game, and can't just keep going into fights with a similiar stand and bang strategy, I learned that I needed to evolve my game and start mixing it up more.
Sanchez then took a moment to reflect on the amazing run Dee went on following the first round victory over himself and was followed up when he represented Sydney in the inaugural ITFL tourney followed up by of course a quick jab...
Sanchez: I've got to be honest and say it surprised me, I knew he was a good fighter but for anyone to pull that sort of run off against quality competition is nothing short of incredible, fair play to him, although it was nice to see my buddy Veron be the one to put an end to it.
Dee on Sanchez - "I was coming out of a slump and really needed to get some momentum. I was very happy to get the decision in the first fight. It really could have gone either way. But I think the only person more surprised than I was with the second fight TKO victory was Sanchez. After that win I really started to believe in myself."
As stated above, the second victory by Dee began a run achieved by very few in the MMA world as Tweedle Dee took the ITFL by storm, defeating 14 consecutive fighters, a display of success many would not have been able to predict or even imagine. Along the way Dee ran into a man believed by many to be the butt of all jokes, a man who knew how to talk the talk but when it came time to walk the walk, he preferred to go nighty night. Yes if you havent figured this puzzle out by now, it is the one and only Artie Lange we are describing and lets just say he had some choice words to share with us...We asked Lange prior to his meeting during week ten of ITFL he had boldly predicted a loss for Dee ending his winning streak during the tourney, so we wondered just how silly did he felt when he through up a goose egg and the ref had to jump in to save save him? His response is nothing short of expected, and fueled by ludicris acusations
Lange: The fuck you talking about man? Are you high right now, or maybe you've been heavily drinking. Dee is a bum and all he wanted to do in that fight was dry hump me into the canvas. Yea the fight ended with him being awarded the TKO victory but if you watch the replay you'll clearly see the vaseline he had rubbed all over his dick had managed to make its way to the mat. He didn't connect with a punch that knocked me down, I fucking slipped on that spot of vaseline! I cracked my head so hard I thought Dee was one of my usual escorts when he mounted me. That's why I wasn't fighting back or defending myself, Champange likes it a little rough from on top. By the time I realized what was going on I had already finished and the ref was calling the bullshit stoppage.
Following the second round stoppage, amazingly Lange was much quieter then he had been in the lead up to their encounter, which was not unexpected however Lange has different ideas, unbelievable reasoning I might add on why that was the case...
Lange: The only reason I was fucking quiet was due to the fact that Dee, pretty much, brought me to climax. Next question.
We tried our best to reason with Lange, almost begging him to be honest with not only the fans but most importantly himself in regards to admiting he really had no shot in his fight with Dee...
Lange: A shot? Are you fucking kidding me? I was well on my way to winning that fight bro. Dee was able to take me down in the first round and hold me there but without the vaseline slip in the second, which by the way happened when he was trying to dry hump me in the first, I was just about to expose that chump with my devastating power. Ask Antonio Hong about what these babies can do. *Lange kisses his fists and looks at them lovingly*
We decided to end our interview with Lange with one final, yet very explosive question, asking Lange if the rumours were true that in comparison to his mediocre career Dee's success made him violently jealous and ultimately led to his retirement as he was unable to focus on anything but his shortcomings, I still maintain that Lange's bell was rang one too many times as his thoughts always leed in one direction, I am just glad he didnt go screaming "GRAPES" at me while trying top piece his thoughts together...
Lange: If my career is your definition of mediocre you're one misinformed motherfucker man. I fought the best of the best bro and make no excuses for my losses. At the end of the day I know I gave it my all each and every time I stepped into that cage, I mean Dee, for example, only has 20 of his 45 wins via knockout. That's not even 50% bro, I finished 15 of my 17 career victories with a knockout which is pushing 90%. You tell me who the better fighter is. That's it I'm done talking about this creepy fucker now. Did I tell you he didn't wear a cup during our bout? I could feel his erection, all covered with vaseline. Still gives me chills.
Dee on Lange - "Lange is crazy. I mean the man is certifiable. I don't know why they ever let him out of the cage. Lange is the kind of guy that after KOing you, he goes after your family."
Not sure how we are supposed to recover from that display but next we caught up with Juan Sebastien Veron, the man who ended the amazing 18 fight win streak but more importantly ended Dee's dreams of ITFL glory, Veron described his thoughts leading up to and following their epic final battle:
Veron: I think in this profession you always have to be confident, if you go into a fight thinking you're going to lose then most likely you will. I certainly wasn't over confident though, I knew from speaking to the likes of Sanchez and watching him myself just how tough it would be, I just know that on my day I'm capable of beating anyone. It was a great moment for me to get a win over such a talented opponent, especially since I don't think anyone really gave me a chance before the fight, so to pull it off was fantastic.
Veron also took a moment to discuss the drama that followed his win among participants and managers alike from ITFL including Dee's manager Bawon Samedi...
Veron:I don't think it was really disrespect or anything personal, mainly frustration really. It was unfortunate how the ITFL turned out with people dropping out but there was nothing I could do about that. I just wanted to help keep the tournament going and prove my skills on a big stage. Surely nobody wanted to go down the other route of advancing through the tournament with byes, but I totally get the frustration, it did take the gloss off the tournament a little considering I wasn't one of the original entrants.
After all was said and done cooler heads prevailed, both fighters careers continued in Syn following ITFL with both men winning titles in their first appearances, we asked Veron did this in your opinion solidify both fighters legacy?
I think Dee's legacy was already well and truly solidified at this point, the title victory for him just put an exclamation mark on it. For myself though it was great to add another title to my resume and prove it wasn't just a fluke. All but one of my defeats have been close decisons or stopped by a pesky doctor due to a cut when I'd gladly have continued, I think I've now shown I'm a match for anyone.
Dee on Veron - "I let Veron control where the fight took place. Bawon told me to keep the fight standing. He gave me the wrong advise. I think that is why he lost and created a scene after the fight."
Samedi on Dee vs. Veron - "I really screwed the pooch on that one. After getting Dee through so many tough opponents I dropped the ball on the biggest fight of his life. Veron is one of the greats, one of the toughest Dee ever faced. But with better advise Dee would have won that fight."
Samedi on the forum fiasco - "Two huge mistakes in the same day. It was not the brightest moment in my career. I've learned to stay out of the public eye."
Now we fast forward to what has aptly been titled "Curtain Call" as Dee will take his final steps inside an MMA cage and will face current Syn Middle Weight Champ Dragon Slayer, a fellow ITFL allum who much like Dee, has enjoyed many successes following that great tourney. We discussed with Slayer going into the ITFL individual portion you were actually ahead on overall points by 3, at anytime did you hope or even want to face Dee knowing the run he was on?
Slayer: I was one of the younger less experienced fighters during ITFL tourney, I knew I had the talent to win the whole thing but was short on the experience and made a mistake in the opening round of the individual portion against Katsuro Sato where I got finished by a guy I just finished 3 weeks earlier. The mistake I made was I was looking to end it early again and let him get a TD and back then my ground game was seriously lacking and it showed. So at that time, Dee wasn't the greatest match up for me and probably was going to try and exploit my lacking ground game. I got hammers for fists and can take out anyone in my opinion and that makes me dangerous regardless on who I fight. Was I going to win or lose at that time? Hard to say as it could have went either way, but dee probably had the advantage at that time especially on the ground.
Much like both Tweedle Dee and Juan Sebastien Veron following ITFL Slayer ended up landing in Synchronicity, we wondered aloud if he felt it was inevitable he would one day face Dee in a Syn cage?
Slayer: If you plan on being the best, your pretty much going to fight all the best fighters so I expected that sometime our pathes would cross. It was really just a matter of if or when we both where close to each other in ranking at the same time but eventually it was gonna happen.
We then posed the question to Slayer when you finally faced off against Dee, you lost the first round but then took over winning rounds 2 and 3 gaining the decision victory, how did defeating a former champion and great fighter like Dee make you feel
Slayer: I knew as long as I kept it standing most of the fight, I had a better then average shot at winning. It felt good cause I think a lot of people didn't think I could do it.
We concluded our conversation with Slayer by asking him to ponder the following the time is coming up where you will be a part of Dee's final appearance and his retirement fight, are you preparing for this meeting the same as your first or will you be looking at it from a new perspective?
Slayer: I have rounded out my fighting style now and feel a ton more comfortable on the ground, so maybe I take him down and let him be on his back some for a change or maybe I just stand and bang with him. I'll make that decision when the bell rings.
Dee on Slayer - "I think I was still rocked after facing Charalabous. The first time I faced Slayer. I kept clinching and forgot to follow through to the ground. I am not certain how we will play this upcoming match. Slayer has really rounded out his game. I am just honored to be in the cage with him again. It is a great way to end my career."
Dee on Charalabous - "The boy swings anvils. No one has ever hit me that hard."
Samedi on Dee retiring - "The boy has had enough. He really takes a beating every time he steps into the cage. If his body could take the punishment I would love to keep him around for another few years. He could have another run at greatness. I learned a lot managing Dee. I brought him in to teach my fighters how to keep the fight on its feet, and Dee taught me how to coach a ground game. We have been through a lot together. It is difficult to let him go."