Video-game fans are well aware of The Madden Curse, where athletes fortunate enough to grace the cover of the annual football franchise end up either on the injured list, or they turn in a season full of numbers much lower than they should have.
While making the cover of a video game is hardly cause for you to have an unproductive season, the connection is still there.
Madden fans aren't the only ones seeing some of their favorites affected by the novelty of video-game fame. UFC fans are seeing a bit of the same curse afflicting them. While UFC Undisputed 3 cover-star Anderson Silva is down with an injury right now, he is hardly a man I worry about. This is a tale of the curse of downloadable content!
When UFC Undisputed 3 announced the game roster, there were a handful of notable fighters that had gone missing.
Thankfully, THQ quickly remedied that by announcing that pre-orders of the new game would come with a downloadable-content pack of four fighters: Phil Davis, Brian Stann, Jason "Mayhem" Miller and Nick Diaz. If only THQ had left those poor boys alone.
After a breakout 2010, Phil Davis kicked off 2011 as a short-notice replacement for Tito Ortiz, winning an uninspiring decision over Antonio Minotoro Nogueira.
The bout wasn’t much to look at, but a victory over Lil Nog was enough to send Davis into the main event.
Shortly after the UFC Undisputed 3 roster was announced, Davis signed on to face former UFC light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans for an August bout.
A simple knee injury is what starts our curse, as that’s what forced Davis out of his first headlining spot on pay-per-view.
Never allowing himself to stay down, Davis agreed to fight at UFC 140 against another former UFC champion, Lyoto Machida. With lingering issues to his knee, Davis once again had to remove himself from the highly anticipated matchup.
When Davis finally returned to the cage in January of 2012, he faced off against Rashad Evans in the main event of UFC on FOX 2, where he was soundly defeated after five rounds of being thoroughly outclassed.
Time will tell how well his career can recover from being called up to the top so quickly.
Brian Stann is an American hero.
He has a true story that put him in a combat zone, where he fought for his country.
America loves Brian Stann so much that Wanderlei Silva, one of the most popular men in the history of MMA, requested an opponent change in order to not be booed against the marine.
That may have started the downfall.
After knocking out iron-chinned slugger Chris Leben in the first round, he proved himself as a member of the UFC big boys. He followed it up with a decision victory over a returning Jorge Santiago.
In October of 2011, the man across the cage from Brian Stann was not “The Axe Murderer.” Instead stood a man who pulverized unbeatable middleweight champion Anderson Silva for 22-and-a-half minutes: Chael Sonnen.
The bout between Sonnen and Stann didn’t last long, as Sonnen was able to take the fight down and secure an arm-triangle choke halfway through the second round of their October 2011 encounter.
Stann will attempt to rebound in April when he takes on Italian boxer Alessio Sakara.
Ultimate Fighter coach Jason "Mayhem" Miller missed the deadline to be part of the regular Undisputed roster despite signing with the UFC in early 2011.
After his tenure on MTV as the host of Bully Beatdown, it seemed like Mayhem was going to be one of the fastest-rising stars in the UFC due to his crossover success.
He is a colorful, humorous and playful fighter with dangerous jiu-jitsu, and he has held his own on the feet with several good fighters. So of course, he was a good fit for the DLC contenders pack.
The curse continued with Mayhem in December 2011, when he made his UFC debut against fellow TUF coach Michael Bisping.
After a controlling first round that was scored for Mayhem, it looked as if he would be the one to break the curse. Then in Round 2…everything changed.
Mayhem began the second round looking horribly fatigued, as if something had suddenly come over him. He spent the next two rounds without the energy needed to walk up a flight of stairs, let alone square off against a top-10 middleweight fighter.
He would spend the next 10 minutes being picked apart by the striking of Bisping until the referee mercifully pulled “The Count” off.
Mayhem’s performance was universally panned, and he has yet to receive a follow-up assignment. With his job in peril, Mayhem has taken to Twitter to rally his fans behind him and help secure a second bout in the UFC.
The fourth man in our DLC for UFC Undisputed 3 is none other than Nick Diaz.
You could argue that the curse isn’t real, or that Diaz brought all of the trouble on himself.
You might even argue that Nick Diaz is the poison that tainted the rest of the bunch.
In any case, our story continues.
When Nick Diaz arrived in the UFC, his originally scheduled fight was a welterweight championship bout with Georges “Rush” St-Pierre. Diaz would try his hand against a man who hadn’t looked vulnerable in many moments of his career.
Diaz would fail to meet his promotional obligations leading up to the bout and was stripped of his title shot.
After defeating new opponent BJ Penn, Diaz would once again lay claim to a welterweight championship bout. Several weeks before his second attempt at squaring up with GSP, the champ fell to injury and would once again be unable to make the highly anticipated bout a reality.
Diaz’s fortune looked up, as he was given an interim championship bout with Carlos Condit to keep him busy. Diaz would be frustrated by an evasive strategy from Condit, and go on to lose a unanimous decision that is one of the most talked-about sources of judging controversy ever.
Nick’s curse continues here, as a post-fight drug test came up positive for marijuana metabolites. There’s no secret that Nick Diaz smokes marijuana. However, his home remedy for getting the drugs out of his system hadn’t failed him in five years.
The new batch: Since the original DLC was announced, THQ has announced that several more fighters would make their way into the game, via future DLC packs.
The new packs include several top-tier fighters, such as Alistair Overeem, Joe Lauzon, Rory MacDonald and The Korean Zombie Chan Sung Jung.
Let’s hope that the curse has ended now that the game has hit stores.