10 of the Worst Physiques in MMA History
Having the ultimate or near-enough ripped physique in MMA should at best be a prerequisite for all athletes contesting in the ever-growing sport of diversified combative skills.
Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case, as some fighters either let themselves go, or have a "what you see is what you get" attitude to the game. To the hardcore contingent, it isn't that big a deal, but to the casual fans who tune in for a fleeting glimpse of the new breed of fighter, it could mean changing the channel.
That said, physique-wise, it’s safe to say that none of the fighters on this list are ringing endorsements of what a true professional mixed martial artist should look like.
Let’s take a look.
10. James Toney
James “Lights Out” Toney, a former three-division world boxing champion brought his fluctuating (from 217-257 pounds) weight to the gates of the UFC when he locked horns in a lose-lose contest against Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture back at UFC 118.
And as the photo of the weigh-in would suggest, Toney’s 237 pounds isn’t what you’d call a specimen of jacked proportions, more a case of packed out with sugar and spice and all things nice.
9. Roy Nelson
The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 winner has all the attributes to make it as a top-five upper-echelon fighter.
Roy “Big Country” Nelson is a black-belt BJJ practitioner, has a cast-iron chin and to boot will give any heavyweight in MMA more than a run for their money, as has been the case against heavy-hitters Junior dos Santos and most recently Fabricio Werdum.
However, the underlying issue has been his weight (246-plus lbs) and the physique that follows it—his overly obtruding stomach smacks of unprofessionalism.
Though there have been calls suggesting Nelson (16-7 MMA, 3-3 UFC) move down to the light heavyweight class where some feel he’ll be more effective, it’s highly doubtful he could make the cut given the fact he can’t even contain his weight in the heavyweight division.
8. Tank Abbott
The original “Huntingdon Beach Bad Boy,” Tank Abbott is to some extent a street fighter and bar room brawler, the latter of which must’ve played a role in his protruding stomach (the beer part that is), and the reason his fighting weight was somewhere in the region of 255 pounds.
At 6’0'', Tank should’ve been able to apportion the weight evenly, but where guzzling is concerned and a taste for the delicious is on tap, can you blame him?
With no formal mixed martial arts background to fall upon, he had to rely on his street instincts, a bit like Kimbo Slice. It was his street savvy that garnered him 10 victories—the same street fighting ethics were also the catalyst in his 14 defeats.
In his 13 UFC outings, Tank won five—his losses were accredited to the likes of Oleg Taktarov, Vitor Belfort and Frank Mir.
He last competed in 2009—a KO victory against Mike Bourke.
7. Mark Hunt
The 37-year-old New Zealander has been around the MMA circuit since 2004, competing in Pride FC and the UFC, where he currently resides.
Almost every heavyweight in the UFC, save for Hunt and Roy Nelson, possess physiques that suggest they’re participating in a professional capacity, but not the “Super Samoan”—he has a tendency of hitting the scales at 264 lbs.
His weight wouldn’t necessarily be so bad, until the question of his height is brought into the equation—Hunt is 5’10'', and that makes him look like one of the characters out of the children’s television series the Teletubbies.
At present, Hunt is 8-7 in MMA competitions. He holds notable wins over the likes of Wanderlei Silva and Mirko Filipovic and most recently Cheick Kongo.
In addition, he’s suffered defeats at the hands of Josh “The Warmaster” Barnett, Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem and Gegard Mousasi.
6. Scott Ferrozzo
Scott “The Pitbull” Ferrozzo was never a picture of health when he stepped into the steel cage—his average contesting weight was 325 pounds of primed fat.
That said, in his six outings, Ferrozzo came up trumps on four occasions. Five of those six fights took place at UFC 8, 11 and 12.
Back in 1996, in the semi-finals of the UFC 11 tournament, The Pitbull encountered his fellow beer-bellied combatant Tank Abbott—he won the match via unanimous decision.
However, 15 years later they would meet again, with the fight taking place in someone’s backyard and not the Octagon. And this time, it was Tank who came out victorious.
Ferrozzo’s last professional MMA fight was a TKO defeat to Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort at the UFC 12 heavyweight tourney.
The 33-year-old Brazilian Vale Tudor fighter has competed in 15 MMA events to date. The 390-lb Zuluzinho also had three of his most famous outings—as well as defeats—whilst plying his trade in the now defunct Japanese organization Pride.
Though he dismantled Henry Miller by way of TKO at Pride 30, his next and final trio of fights in the promotion were an unmitigated disaster.
At Pride Shockwave 2005, Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko took just 26 seconds to end his night. Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira continued the rout at Pride Total Elimination Absolute with an armbar submission at 2:17 of the first round.
In his last fight for the Japanese promotion, he fell (another opening stanza submission—keylock) to someone whom he could relate to size-wise—420-pounder Eric “Butterbean” Esch.
However, his most ignominious trouncing came at the hands of 5’9'', 190-plus-lb Ikuhisa “Minowaman” Minowa—a Round 3 TKO (corner stoppage) on New Year’s eve of 2007.
Having last fought in November of 2010, the 6’8'' Zuluzinho’s record stands at 8-7.
4. Eric “Butterbean” Esch
Butterbean is probably the most famous of all the mixed martial artists on this list with regards to weight as well as his successes in the boxing ring—89 fights, 77 victories and 58 KO’s.
You can’t eat that!!! I meant you can’t beat that!!!
Weighing in at a healthy 420 pounds, Butterbean defeated the equally humongous 177kg (390 lbs) Brazilian fighter Zuluzinho, via keylock submission at Pride 34. Prior to that win he suffered an armbar submission to the minute Ikuhisa Minowa at Pride Bushido 12.
Regardless of the caliber of fighters he’s thrown down with, Butterbean’s record (17-10-1) is nothing to be snooty about—he has 10 submission victories and seven stoppages.
3. Teila Tuli
Teila Tuli’s claim to MMA fame is the fact that he competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s inaugural event—UFC 1: The Beginning.
That was the closest the 440-lb Hawaiian would come to mixed martial arts recognition. In the eight-man tourney, Tuli would succumb to Gerard Gordeau in the quarter-finals, who himself lost to the tournaments eventual winner, MMA pioneer Royce Gracie.
Tuli’s record reads: fought one and lost one.
2. Taro Akebono
Being 233 kg (514 lbs) did nothing to aid the 6’8'' Taro Akebono in is his quest for MMA legitimacy—four times he tried; however, on each occasion he failed miserably.
First, he went toe-to-toe with UFC Hall of Famer and BJJ legend Royce Gracie and lost via omoplata submission. Next came a unanimous decision defeat to Bobby Ologun, followed by a guillotine choke courtesy of Don Frye. And then he suffered a kimura submission at the hands of Giant Silva.
Akebono wasn’t an astute kickboxer either—winning one contest out of eight—most notably against Bob Sapp and the 7’2'' South Korean Choi Hong-man (thrice).
The only discipline Akebono had some sort of acquired skill set for, was sumo wrestling—he attained the rank of Yokozuna.
1. Emmanuel Yarborough
“Manny,” (no relation to eight-divisional boxing champ Manny Pacquiao) has by far the worst physique in the history of MMA, and to boot possessed a bosom that most women would envy—saying Yarborough had man boobs would be an understatement.
Emmanuel Yarborough’s fighting style incorporated judo, sumo, wrestling and smothering (that's no joke).
The 6’8'', 800-pound former world amateur sumo champion competed thrice in professional mixed martial arts.
His first foray was at UFC 3 back in 1994, where he threw down with 200-lb Keith “The Giant Killer” Hackney. He lost the bout via first-round TKO. In his next outing at Shooto: Shoot the Shooto XX, Manny submitted his hapless opponent Tatsuaki Nakano by way of smothering in the opening stanza.
However, in 1998, Yarborough drew the curtain on his overly corpulent MMA career with an embarrassing defeat (submission via punches) courtesy of 169-pound Daiju Takase at Pride 3—the 47-year-old was almost five times the weight of Takase.
That said, I wonder why Miley Cyrus is grinning from ear-to-ear?
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