9 Crazy Things That MMA Fans Actually Believed
There are notions in MMA that are frequently mocked today, but the sad truth is that some of these beliefs actually had widespread acceptance.
That is to say, "absurd" thoughts that are universally panned now actually had a substantial amount of people that supported them.
What are some examples of these foolish things that are lambasted now but that conventional wisdom of the day dictated to be true? Read and find out!
A Boxer Had a Chance in an MMA Fight
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Thanks to the prevalence of boxing as well as flashy, false Hollywood movies that depicted ridiculous techniques actually working, the vast majority of the United States wasn't familiar with grappling/groundfighting and thought that the striking arts (specifically boxing) were far superior to all others.
Thus, when the first UFC came along, who didn't think that the boxer—Art Jimmerson—would simply knock out the scrawny Brazilian in "pajamas"—Royce Gracie—as well as all the other competitors?
Of course, they couldn't have been more wrong. Gracie embarrassed the one-gloved Jimmerson and taught the world how powerful grappling was.
Even so, there were still a misguided few who believed that pure strikers could do well.
For example, some fools believed that James Toney had a chance against Randy Couture! There are even people on various Internet forums and Twitter who believe that Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. would be able to win against low to mid-level MMA fighters by using "footwork" to avoid takedowns. Laughable! Absurd!
Bobb Sapp Was Going to Fight Mike Tyson
Remember this video? The one where Bob Sapp and Mike Tyson nearly come to fisticuffs and then talk about how they're going to fight?
Well, fans believed the so-bad-it's-epic bout would actually come to fruition. It didn't.
Tyson was unable to obtain a visa in Japan due to his status as a convicted felon and the fight became one of the great "what ifs" in MMA history.
Brett Rogers Was a Top-10 Heavyweight
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After beating Andrei Arlovski in devastating fashion, people legitimately believed that Brett Rogers was a top-10 heavyweight.
This ridiculous notion was only further given credit when Rogers gave Fedor Emelianenko a bit of trouble in their bout before being the recipient of an incredible knockout.
However, the Rogers myth was disproved.
He got destroyed by Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett, and then he was ejected from Strikeforce after being charged with domestic violence.
More recently, he lost to UFC veteran Eddie Sanchez by split decision.
Brandon Vera Could Be Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champ
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One of the most disappointing prospects in UFC history was Brandon Vera.
"The Truth" was the next big thing at heavyweight; he was the 2005-06 equivalent of a heavyweight Jon Jones. There was talk that he would capture the heavyweight title and then go down to light heavyweight once he had cleaned out the heavyweight division.
The hype reached its highest level when Vera dispatched former UFC champion Frank Mir via TKO in only 1:09 at UFC 65.
However, Vera engaged in a contract dispute with the UFC, which resulted in him sitting out for nearly a year. He was never the same after he returned.
Before the dispute, he went 8-0; after, he only went 4-4-1.
He is now 34 years of age and will almost definitely never hold a title in the UFC.
Royce Gracie Could Be Competitive Against Matt Hughes
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In the early to mid-2000s, Matt Hughes was the fighter at welterweight. He was then one of the most dominant champions the sport had ever seen and was decimating the ranks of the division; there was nary a 170-pound man alive who could test Matt Hughes.
This may sound great, but it eventually became an issue. How can one promote a man once he's beaten anybody who's anybody (Georges St.Pierre, Frank Trigg twice, Joe Riggs, Sean Sherk, etc.)?
By 2006, there weren't really any marquee names left for Hughes to beat up. Thus, a blast from the past was in order. Royce Gracie was brought back to face Hughes in what promised to be an epic clash...to those who were delusional.
By 2006, Royce Gracie was 40 years old and was 1-1-2 in his last four fights (with the lone win coming over freak-show fighter and sumo wrestler Akebono Taro). His skill set was horribly outdated and he had no chance against the younger, faster, stronger and overall more talented Hughes.
Nevertheless, some of the misguided fans believed that the fight could really be competitive and awaited the bout with anticipation.
But it was simply an ass-kicking from bell to bell. At no point did Gracie threaten Hughes, who would eventually win via TKO late in the first round after opting not to break Gracie's arm out of courtesy.
Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz Would Happen
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For as long as UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre was dominating the UFC welterweight division and Strikeforce welterweight champ Nick Diaz was dominating the Strikeforce welterweight division, fans dreamed of a matchup between the two fighters.
When Zuffa purchased Strikeforce and Diaz was brought to the UFC, fans were ecstatic. The fight was scheduled for UFC 137 and fans were ecstatic...that was until Nick Diaz failed to attend two press conferences and was subsequently removed from the main event.
Instead, it was St. Pierre vs. Carlos Condit that was made, and Diaz was to face BJ Penn.
Then, disaster struck again. St. Pierre injured his knee and Condit was forced from the card. Diaz-Penn was promoted to the main event, and Diaz thoroughly out-struck Penn en route to a unanimous decision.
Did this earn Diaz the title shot against GSP?
No, St. Pierre's injury was of a grievous sort; he would be out for some time. Nick Diaz would then face Carlos Condit for the UFC interim welterweight championship.
In one of the most heated and maligned decisions in the history of MMA, Condit defeated Diaz, prompting Diaz to retire.
Now it looks like the fight many dreamed of will never happen. And to think that people thought it was a sure thing when UFC 137 was scheduled!
Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva Would Happen
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Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva has been the super-fight fans have been clamoring for for years now.
But it's not happening.
Despite the fact that UFC president Dana White wants the fight to happen, the logistics are simply impossible.
St. Pierre won't return until later in the year and, even if he beats Carlos Condit, there are still several other contenders at welterweight who he'll need to dispose of before he fights Silva.
Also, both men are getting up there in years. Silva is 37 and St. Pierre is 31. Face it, the fight is not happening—only in our dreams.
That the IFL/Affliction/EliteXC Were Viable Threats to the UFC
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There have been many pretenders rise up to challenge the UFC's dominance of the mixed martial arts business—nearly all have failed.
The three most notable failures in recent memory are the IFL, Affliction and EliteXC.
The IFL was a team-based MMA promotion founded by a magazine guy and a real-estate developer. There was tons of hype around them because they had a deal with FOX Sports Net and a unique pay structure that payed fighters actual salaries rather than just fight purses.
They didn't last, in part because of their absurd concept (nobody cares about the New York Pitbulls or the Quad City Silverbacks) and in part because they became publicly traded, turning the reins over to shareholders and a board of directors that new nothing of the fight business. They shut their doors in 2008.
Affliction was a shorter story. The much-mocked clothing brand decided to start their own MMA promotion, with Russian heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko as their marquee star.
They put on two events that were watched only by hardcore fans. Their third show—supposed to be headlined by Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett—fell apart when Barnett could not obtain a fight license. The promotion folded, although the Emeliananeko-Barnett debacle was just the straw that broke the camel's back. Affliction wasn't a sustainable promotion; they were overpaying their fighters relative to how many PPVs they were selling.
EliteXC was possibly the greatest threat to the UFC since the promotion—lead by boxing promoter Gary Shaw and his son Jared Shaw (a.k.a. $kala)—actually earned a spot on broadcast television. They had a prime time slot on CBS!
But EliteXC, too, wasn't sustainable. Fighters were overpaid (Tank Abbott earning 126k? He probably would've fought for a six pack or two) and the promotion was built on a weak foundation—YouTube brawler Kimbo Slice.
Kimbo was their only star. When he lost to Seth Petruzelli (a pink-haired man who wasn't nearly as impressive a physical specimen as Kimbo), the game was up, especially since Petruzelli hinted after the fight that EliteXC officials wanted him to stand with Kimbo, prompting an investigation to be launched against EliteXC.
There were dejected Pride fans rooting for each one of these promotions to destroy the UFC, yet the love of these woebegone cretins couldn't keep these organizations running.
They lacked knowledge of the MMA business; these fools and their money were soon parted. And to have thought that they actually could've beaten the UFC was laughable. The UFC is MMA the same way a kleenex is a tissue and a band-aid is an adhesive strip.
Brock Lesnar Had a Chance Against Alistair Overeem
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A one-dimensional wrestler who is petrified of getting hit, is six months status post intestinal surgery and hasn't fought in over a year versus one of the world's best strikers who also happens to be a well-rounded mixed martial artist. Seems like a pretty easy fight to call, right?
There were people who thought that Brock Lesnar had a fighting chance against Overeem, they still bought the Lesnar hype, they still believed him to be the unstoppable "viking warrior" that the hype machine made him out to be.
Had they forgotten he took a punch to the face like a complete novice? Had they forgotten his pirouette at UFC 121?
At UFC 141, Overeem proved that anyone who thought Lesnar could win was a fool. The fight wasn't competitive and was over in a bit over two minutes.