Robbie Lawler doesn’t believe in curses. When faced with a supernatural event Lawler puts his head down and wings punches at his problem. After losing to Johny Hendricks at UFC 171, Lawler needed to rip up his old game plan and walk to the cage a new man at UFC 181 in Las Vegas.
While watching the UFC 171 main event replay on loop late one night, the Illinois welterweight had his “ah ha” moment. Lawler stomped his 8 Mile Blu-ray double disc collector’s edition, unwound his favorite mix tape, and threw away all his colorful button-shaped candies when he realized he was struck down by the “Eminem curse” in his first fight with Hendricks.
If a fighter walks out to Detroit rapper Eminem, the odds of him winning a fight drop dramatically. Walk out to Eminem while wearing non-prescription sun glasses indoors decreases your odds double time. Walk out to Eminem while wearing non-prescription sun glasses indoors and have your hat stolen by a greedy fan triples the odds that some random act of fight god wrath will be bestowed upon you.
At UFC 181 Lawler could not take any chances and he had to walkout to a song by an R&B duo who appreciated oversized tortoises. The title track of Sam & Dave’s 1966 album “Hold On, I’m Coming” was the walkout song Lawler needed in his rematch versus Hendricks. On the cover of the album, R&B legends Sam Moore and Dave Prater are seen riding a giant cartoon tortoise.
A strange bit of symbolism exists between Lawler’s fighting career and the giant cartoon tortoise on the cover of the classic Sam & Dave album. Stay patient, hit welterweights and middleweights like a Sherman tank to the face, and your figurative giant cartoon tortoise will guide you the rest of the way.
Johny Hendricks is a man who knows what he likes. Hendricks likes eating Sonic burgers, hunting hogs, and punching UFC welterweights. Does Hendricks have any use for oversized tortoises in his life? Riding on the back of a giant reptile would most likely hinder Hendricks’ next hog hunting expedition.
Texas singer song-writer Bleu Edmondson anthem “$50 and a Flask of Crown” has been Hendricks walkout track for the majority of his UFC championship run. The “Johny Hendricks pay per view package” where fans get the event and a flask of whiskey was never really promoted to its fullest potential by the UFC’s promotions department.
Slow and steady wins the race. After 13 years and a 34 fight career, Lawler is finally a UFC champion. The 32 year old Lawler wore down Hendricks and continued to push his violent pace deep into the championships rounds. Two of the three cageside judges scored the fight in favor of Lawler.
Now a product of American Top Team, if Lawler stilled trained at Miletich Fighting Systems Tim Sylvia could have painted himself green and dressed as a six foot eight hard shelled pet.
Turtles don’t normally have barbed wired arm tattoos but Robbie Lawler is the UFC’s new welterweight champion and if his spirit animal needs to make a body ink statement, it behooves all future 170 pound challengers to not question the new champ’s prefight rituals.
UFC 181 Walkout Songs
Fighter Artist Song Album Year
Robbie Lawler: Sam & Dave “Hold On, I’m Coming” | Hold On, I’m Coming (1966)
Johny Hendricks: Bleu Edmondson “$50 and a Flask of Crown” | Southland (2008)
Anthony Pettis: Tum Tum feat. Jim Jones “Show Time” | Eat or Get Ate (2007)
Gilbert Melendez: Zion I feat. The Grouch “Silly Puddy” | Mind Over Matter (2000)
Travis Browne: Aotearoa Maori Singers “Kamate Kamate” | Haere Mai (2012)
Brendan Schaub: Puff Daddy feat. Notorious BIG & Busta Rhymes “Victory” | No Way Out (1997)
Todd Duffee: NoNoNo “Pumpin Blood” | Pumpin Blood EP (2013)
Anthony Hamilton: Ivan Gough feat. Georgie Kay “In My Mind” | In My Mind (2012)
Tony Ferguson: Freestyle “The Party Has Begun” | Don’t Stop the Rock (1984)
Abel Trujillo: Rich Gang & Young Thug “Lifestyle” | Rich Gang 2 (2014)
Urijah Faber: 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre & Roger Troutman “California Love” All Eyez on Me (1995)
Francisco Rivera: Snoop Dogg “Who am I (What’s My Name)?” | Doggystle (1993)
Josh Samman: Hozier “Take Me to Church” | Hozier (2014)
Eddie Gordon: DMX “Stop Being Greedy”| It’s Dark and Hell is Hot (1998)
Corey Anderson: Mike Stud “Closer” | Closer (2014)
Justin Jones: Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers “Bustin’ Loose” | Bustin’ Loose (1979)
Raquel Pennington: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis “Can’t Hold Us” | The Heist (2012)
Ashlee Evans-Smith: The Interrupters “Take Back the Power” The Interrupters (2014)
Sergio Pettis: Diggy Simmons “Great Expectations” | Out of This World (2014)
Matt Hobar: Rage Against the Machine “Bulls on Parade” | Evil Empire (1996)
Clay Collard: Echosmith “Cool Kids” | Talking Dreams (2013)
Alex White: Silverstein “My Dagger Versus Your Sword” | Discovering the Waterfront (2006)
UFC 181 YouTube playlist
UFC 181 Spotify playlist