25 MMA Fighters Who Held on Too Long
As Joe Rogan pointed out recently, it's understandable that it might be incredibly hard for fighters to walk away from MMA. Especially when all you've got to show for your time in the cage are two bad shoulders and a tough case of cauliflower ear.
Nevertheless, some fighters simply hold on too long. Hey, it happens everywhere; it's not like it's exclusive to MMA. But with MMA, there is an added edge, because a stubbornness to leave the fighting arena can mean you're endangering yourself.
Here's the top 25 list of those guys I think have stayed on too long.
25. Rich Franklin
He's had the same black eye for five years now. I'm sorry. No one's going to confuse me with Dr. Robert Jarvik anytime soon, but that seems to me like that's a high number of years for a black eye. He's been prone to other injuries, too.
24. Jose Canseco
I'm assuming I don't need to explain this one. But it does illustrate that "too long" can be a relative term.
23. Jeff Monson
Monson has a degree in psychology, so it's not like he has no fall back. And he certainly has enough of a name that he could probably start a gym if he wanted to, and fairly easily.
As is, it's tough to see what he's hanging around for, especially given the Fedor loss.
22. Alexandre Nogueira
One of the first and best MMA featherweights spent the last four years of his career fighting five times, losing four times and testing positive for steroids one time.
21. Mirko Cro Cop
No question he had some bad losses at the end, but I also think it could have been worse.
20. Roger Huerta
19. Matt Lindland
When last we left The Law, 41, he had just lost to Mamed Khalidov in a May fight in Poland.
The loss was only the sixth fight in four years for the proud Olympic wrestler; four of those he lost.
18. Takanori Gomi
It can seem symmetrical for people to start the end of Gomi's career right around the time he started in the UFC. But he was 2-2 in Japan before he left for Las Vegas.
17. Tito Ortiz
Tito bought some time with the Ryan Bader upset. But then he sold it right back to Rashad Evans.
It will be interesting to see whether the UFC makes the rematch with Forrest Griffin, who himself is very much on the bubble for future entry onto this list.
16. James Irvin
The Sandman has found himself winless in six of his last seven. After losing the dreaded three straight in the UFC, he was banished to the MMA hinterlands, where he wanders to this day.
His latest loss came to Mamed Khalidov at an event in Poland. (And by the way, I've said it before, and I'll say it again...someone get Khalidov over to the UFC.)
Remember when Irvin knocked out Houston Alexander with that Superman punch in 2008? Yeah, me neither. But remember later, when a rematch between the two was cancelled after Irvin urinated flames before the fight? Yeah, again, me neither.
Oh, and he also missed weight against Khalidov by about 15 pounds. Oh, and that fight took place in Poland.
15. Caol Uno
Hi, I'm Caol Uno. You might know me best as the guy who got KTFO by B.J. Penn in 10 seconds.
I had a pretty good career in Japan, though. But now I'm 36 and a loser in six of my last nine.
14. Kevin Randleman
Randleman is the ultimate guy you remember more for his losses than his wins.
13. Shannon Ritch
It's hard to pinpoint the moment when the 41-year-old Ritch's tradition of consternation began. But it was a long time ago. The most recent string has him a loser in eight of 10.
One of those losses was a TKO by groin injury. Two were taps to strikes. One was a tap to a triangle AND an arm bar. This is what hanging on looks like.
12. Mark Kerr
Kerr worked like a dog to recapture the magic of his early career, but couldn't. Still tough to believe he lost 10 of his last 12.
11. Jens Pulver
It's hard to believe Pulver is still fighting. But here he is, at age 37 and 42 fights into his career. His last fight, which came just last December, was a knockout loss that took place in Nebraska.
(Photo credit: ESPN)
10. Sean Sherk
The UFC may be deciding the very injury-prone Sherk's future for him. He's still signed with the promotion, but hasn't received a fight in quite a while.
(Photo credit: MMAMania)
9. Gary Goodridge
After losing seven straight (and four by T/KO) in three years, Goodridge retired from MMA. Goodridge now says he suffers from brain injuries.
8. Sean Salmon
Interesting blogger, occasional MMA fighter and high-profile Rashad Evans victim Salmon is the proud owner of a 15-month, seven-fight losing streak.
7. Kazushi Sakuraba
One of my favorite fighters of all time continues to fight at age 42. More importantly than the fact that he's dropped his last four is just the sheer volume of abuse this dude has taken in his career.
6. Mark Coleman
He's had quite a few big losses in the final act of his career, but nothing sums it up more than the fight pictured against Shogun Rua, in which Coleman, 45, was visibly and completely exhausted.
5. Fedor Emelianenko
Can he win a few more fights? Sure. Especially if they keep feeding him freeze-dried scraps of Satoshi Ishii.
4. Matt Hughes
It would seem Matt Hughes is in a bit of a no-man's land right now. He wants to go out a winner, and that's understandable, especially for a great champion like Hughes.
Problem is, he doesn't want a charity match and probably can no longer beat an elite opponent. Good luck, Joe Silva.
3. Chuck Liddell
No other way to put it: it was just plain, old sad to watch maybe the greatest knockout artist in MMA die by his own sword over and over again.
2. Dan Severn
I get that he wanted to get to 100 victories. And, at age 51, he did. That's a huge accomplishment.
But then he kept going. He has dropped two straight since, to immortals Ryan Forlin and Lee Beane. What does he do now, go around with state fairs or something?
1. Ken Shamrock
If there's anyone you feel a stronger desire to grab by the lapels and yell at him to hang it up already, go ahead and shout it out.