With a Mixed Martial Arts record of 11 wins and only 6 losses and a draw* against the best fighters in the world, Vernon "Tiger" White ranks among the sport's elite. Tiger fought Brazilian Jiu Jitsu legend "Zé" Mario Sperry for a full 15 minutes at the Australian UFC in a fight most people felt he won. Nevertheless, the judges were so enamored with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that they declared Sperry the winner, to unanimous boos from the audience. Next came a controversial loss to Vladimir "The Janitor" Matyushenko in a battle to crown the IFC's first world heavyweight champion. Our hero dominated the fight, but the rules, which heavily favored wrestlers, hampered him all night and Matyushenko took advantage, winning with a choke. White's performance so impressed the international martial arts community that he was hand picked by KRS to face up and coming star Kazushi Sakuraba in Pride 2. White again was handicapped by unfair rules, this time exacerbated by the fact that Sakuraba was being built as the next big Japanese star. White submitted to an armbar after a valiant effort in which he nearly overcame Sakuraba's unfair home advantage. White was then invited to the Abu Dhabi Combat Club's Submission Grappling World Championship tournament, confirming his reputation as one of the greatest grapplers alive.
Finally, after standout performances all over the world, the IFC was forced to grant White a much deserved rematch against Vladimir Matyushenko. He didn't disappoint, handing the previously unbeaten Matyushenko the worst beating--and first loss--of his career and winning the IFC world heavyweight championship. After destroying Matyushenko, whose manager Lou Chiapparelli was so humiliated he avoided commenting on the fight for weeks, Tiger won his second world title by knocking Carlson Gracie fighter Todd "El Tiburon" Medina in nine seconds to become the King of the Cage middleweight champion! A controversial decision loss to Allan Goes at Pride 9 followed. Most fans and experts who saw the fight felt that White thoroughly dominated Goes, but in order to justify a multi-fight contract that Dream Stage Entertainment had signed with Goes, the judges were pressured into awarding him an undeserved win over Tiger. Undaunted, White went on to defend his King of the Cage middleweight belt with wins over UFC veteran David Dodd and Marvin Eastman. A third fight was signed against Vladimir Matyushenko, but fearing another devastating loss at the hands of the Tiger, the RAW Team pulled Matyushenko from the fight. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Marcos Da Silva stepped in, but was taken down by our champion.
White extended his phenomenal winning streak with victories over Joe Priole, James Lee and Mike Rogers. Then, on May 16, 2003, to the dismay of all fans and MMA press in attendance, Vernon White was the victim of what many are calling the biggest travesty in the history of the sport when he lost the King of the Cage light heavyweight (formerly known as middleweight) title to Jeremy Horn by judges decision! Despite a dominating performance that should have guaranteed him a unanimous decision in his favor, White was robbed of the belt he'd so proudly defended for three years, a title reign of unprecendented length in MMA. Fortunately, Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White recognized Tiger's greatness and awarded him an opportunity to fight as a substitute for an injured Ken Shamrock in UFC 43 against Ian "The Machine" Freeman. Tiger made the most of it and, despite fighting on only 21 days rest, he dominated Freeman, only to once again fall victim to poor judging, as the fight was declared a draw. We're certain to see Tiger back in the UFC soon, though, hopefully in a championship fight to once again prove he's the best in the world!
*Pancrase and submission grappling fights not included
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