Roy "Big Country" Nelson used to be one of my favorite UFC fighters. I liked him for the same reason that a lot of other people did and that was because he doesn't look like a fighter at all. He just looks like some fat F**K that you hope doesn't sit next to you when you see him walking down the aisle of an airplane looking for his seat. He doesn't look tough at all.
Roy kind of shocked all of us when he won The Ultimate Fighter season 10, which unless I am mistaken was the first UF to feature heavyweights. With the likes of people like Kimbo Slice in the mix as well as ex NFL players and people who appeared to be in much better shape than Roy, I don't think anyone counted on him being victorious despite the fact that he had actually been a fighter much longer than anyone else on the show. He actually had more professional fights than either one of the hosts; Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans.
I mean look at these two... who would you choose as a victor?
Nelson went on to perform quite well in the UFC at one point bashing his way into the the top 10. However, it was quickly realized by basically everyone that he only had two weapons in his arsenal: A killer overhand left and the fact that it was basically impossible to knock the guy out.
Once his opponents realized that the only thing they had to do in order to defeat the big man was to circle left at all times, the man was basically just a punching bag. I don't know why his team didn't attempt to alter his game, but after a string of losses including getting KO'd by Mark Hunt
Big Country also had a apparent bad relationship with Dana White because of multiple reasons but Roy would claim it was because he had been accusing White of allowing certain fighters to get away with doping if they were big draws but other fighters would recieve multi-year bans for the exact same behavior. Nelson was one of the few fighters that actually fought for greater testing of PED's and joined up with VADA (the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association) along with other great names such as Georges St. Pierre.
Regardless of what the circumstances were, Nelson left UFC (or was released, I'm not sure which) in 2017.
When he first arrived on the scene, Nelson was already a huge draw and he won his first fight versus Javy Ayala pretty convincingly and looked like he could be a serious contender for the belt. Unfortunately from the point forward things just got progressively worse for Nelson. He lost his next 4 fights and in an especially touted match was absolutely dominated and KO'd by Sergei Kharitonov.
Nelson, a man that will never be accused of being a world-class physical specimen, appeared winded and gassed just halfway through the first round and after a series of brutal knees to the face was KO'd for the 2nd time in his career. His weapons of wild haymakers don't really have much effect anymore and honestly, he wasn't looking like a contender of any sort at this point.
He still had 2 more fights in his contract and after losing both of them it was pretty obvious what the next step was going to be: Bellator released him, along with 30 other fighters were released from their contracts on October 27th 2020.
So what is next for Roy Nelson? I think that if he is smart he will take his good-natured attitude and utilize it in order to encourage others, especially youth, to pursue fighting in a clean manner. He is 44 years old after all and while I am sure there are some lower level divisions that would likely give him a contract for a fight here and there, I think doing so will only tarnish what little remains of his good name.
Thanks for all the good years though Roy, you were fun for a while but it is time to hang up the gloves and go back to eating burgers I'm afraid.