Nick Diaz vs. Georges St-Pierre and 11 of the Biggest Letdowns in MMA History
For every moment in MMA that lived up to the hype, there was one—or even more—that didn't.
The history of the sport is littered with such catastrophes, be they hyped matchups that saw the light of day, fights that were supposed to be "wars" but never delivered or any other such malady.
So what are some of the worst offenders in MMA history? Read and find out, but keep in mind such a list is subjective and therefore nigh impossible to rank without significant conflict. Thus, it's ranked chronologically.
The Detroit Dance
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Detroit's UFC 9 was highly anticipated because it featured a grudge match between Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn as the main event.
Unfortunately, the event was not welcomed by one key demographic: uptight politicians looking for an easy win over "smut" like the UFC.
A legal battle in the Detroit courts ensued, and it was decided that the event could go on if certain rules were adopted. One of these rules was banning close-fisted strikes to the head under pain of arrest.
While the UFC and referee John McCarthy looked the other way when infractions were made in the undercard, Shamrock and Severn didn't take any risks, and the result was one of the worst fights in MMA history.
It was literally 30 minutes of circling. It was henceforth known as "The Detroit Dance."
Tank Abbott vs. Ken Shamrock Not Happening
It's hard to believe now, but Tank Abbott vs. Ken Shamrock was the sort of "GSP vs. Silva" of its day, meaning it was an amazing matchup that everybody wanted to see—plus, there was legitimate heat between the two fighters.
At Ultimate Ultimate 1996, the match was a possibility. Both fighters were in the tournament but, alas, they weren't in the same bracket.
They both won their initial fights, but Shamrock had to withdraw due to injury.
Now we're forever cursed to speculate what would've happened rather than discuss what did happen.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Randy Couture Not Happening
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Today, the big "superfight" everybody wants to see is Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva (although some have changed their tunes and now want to see Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones), but there was a time where the hypothetical fight people clamored for the most was Randy Couture vs. Fedor Emelianenko.
And for a time, it seemed like the fight might actually happen.
After Pride was purchased and subsequently destroyed by Zuffa in 2007, Emelianenko was a free agent and signed with the Affliction organization.
Not long after this, Couture "retired" from the UFC, which got fans thinking the fight would take place once Couture's contract with the company had finally expired.
But it was not meant to be.
Couture and the UFC eventually made amends and Affliction died after only holding two events. Emelianenko then went to Strikeforce and Couture, after suffering a defeat to Brock Lesnar, dropped to light heavyweight and eventually retired, leaving Fedor vs. Couture to be one of the great "what ifs" in MMA history.
Somebody Catching the Towel
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The towel was dropped, but somebody caught it before millions could see what they've wanted to see since they found out who Gina Carano was.
Alas, it was not meant to be.
Tim Sylvia vs. Ray Mercer
Just watch and you'll see why this was a huge letdown; the sport of MMA was thoroughly embarrassed.
Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson vs. Rashad Evans
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There are few things worse in MMA than when fighters hype up how much they hate each other and how they can't wait to beat each other bloody, but when the fight happens, you get nothing but a bunch of timid stalking and ineffective grappling.
Such was the case when Quinton "Rampage" Jackson met Rashad Evans at UFC 114 in one of the more forgettable and lackluster grudge matches in MMA.
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Fabricio Werdum
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To most fans and pundits, Fedor Emelianenko vs. Fabricio Werdum was almost on the level of a pro wreslting-esque squash match. That is to say, Fedor was supposed to beat Werdum quickly and decisively.
Instead, it was the other way around.
Werdum made Emelianenko tap only 69 seconds into the fight. Fedor's aura of invincibility was shattered; he had lost in just over a minute to a man some fans perceived to be a "UFC" washout.
He would lose two straight after that fight, both in more brutal fashion.
Brock Lesnar on the Ultimate Fighter
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When it was announced that Brock Lesnar was going to be on the 13th season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite Junior Dos Santos, there was more anticipation than there had been in years for a show that fans criticized as tired and near the end of its lifespan.
However, the season was forgettable and didn't even garner great ratings for a show featuring such a prominent star in Lesnar.
There were no crazy pro wrestling-style antics by Lesnar, and he ultimately had to withdraw from the fight against Dos Santos due to a second bout with diverticulitis.
In the history of TUF seasons, 13 was a disappointment and forgettable.
Nick Diaz vs. Georges St-Pierre Not Happening
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Georges St-Pierre was tearing up the UFC welterweight division.
Nick Diaz was tearing up the Strikeforce welterweight division.
When Zuffa purchased Strikeforce in March 2011, GSP vs. Diaz was the first thing on the minds of many fans.
And it actually looked like it was going to happen. It had a date, a time and everything...
Until Diaz decided to skip out on two press conferences, drawing the ire of UFC president Dana White and losing his title shot at St-Pierre in the process.
In his place, Carlos Condit was given the title shot, but that too didn't pan out due to a knee injury suffered by GSP.
Thus, Diaz was put against BJ Penn. The Stockton brawler won in exciting and overwhelming fashion.
So GSP vs. Diaz was bound to happen after that, right?
GSP's injury was serious; he'd be out for quite some time. Therefore, an interim title was created and the contenders were Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz.
People thought this was basically a setup for Diaz to smash Condit, win the belt and then finally fight GSP—this time with even more hype since the UFC could market the "champion vs. champion" angle due to the interim belt.
But we all know how that wen't; Condit bested Diaz in controversial fashion (we'll get to that next slide) and now it appears as though GSP vs. Diaz might not ever happen.
Nick Diaz vs. Carlos Condit
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Before Condit fans hang me, I actually thought this was a great fight, and Condit's performance was masterful—a truly brilliant piece of fighting strategy.
Unfortunately, I was in the minority.
After Condit used footwork—what haters mistook for "running"—and a diverse array of strikes—some haters chided these as "baby leg kicks"—to his advantage against Diaz's boxing-centric attack, there was an uproar all across the Internet.
Fans were going nuts about how the fight was a horrendous disappointment. They expected Condit to just stand in front of Diaz, engage, and get picked apart a la BJ Penn (and countless others), but Condit was too smart for such nonsense.
Instead, he sought to out-point Diaz en route to a decision and the strategy worked, much to the dismay of fans who expected a "war" and who, more importantly, wanted to see GSP vs. Diaz rather than GSP vs. Condit.
The Ultimate Fighter: Live
Here's an idea!
Let's take the same overdone, dull Ultimate Fighter show and only change one thing: make the show happen in real time rather than film it and then air it months later.
The UFC ran with this idea and called it The Ultimate Fighter: Live.
It was an abysmal failure.
The ratings were awful and the show just didn't have anything memorable or great about it, in part due to the fact that the footage couldn't be heavily edited to create drama since the footage was just taken that week rather than months before.
Thus, the show was just 45 minutes of lackluster buildup for a low-level fight that left fans questioning why they tuned in in the first place.
Thankfully, the UFC has apparently learned their lesson and will not be returning to the "live" concept next season.