Does the name Todd Hays mean anything to you? If it does, good for you. If it doesn’t, then pay attention, you might learn something.
Hays was featured in the 1995 Rickson Gracie documentary “Choke,” which follows Gracie through a Vale Tudo tournament in Japan. Vale Tudo, if you don’t know, is Portuguese for "anything goes." A Vale Tudo tournament, which is what the UFC started out as, is a one-day event where you have to win multiple fights to be crowned the champion. (If you call yourself a UFC fan, you have to know this stuff).
In the documentary, Hays enters the tournament to fund his dream of competing in the Olympics as a bobsledder. Hays is a tough Texan who played football at Tulsa and then became a kickboxing champion.
So why all the Todd Hays/old school MMA stuff? Glad you asked.
Hays went on to have a pretty successful career as an Olympic bobsledder, competing in three Winter Games. He won a silver medal in 2002. The bad news is that he suffered a pretty serious injury two weeks ago while training for 2010 Games in Vancouver.
Here's the Dec. 15 story on Hays’ career-ending injury.
And below, in its entirety, is the documentary “Choke.” That’s all 1 hour, 38 minutes of it, so get comfy. But if you call yourself an MMA fan, it’s required viewing. If you want, you can fast forward to the fights, which begin around the 50th minute.