While we all love mixed martial arts, we can hardly deny that its premier organisation has had its fair share of mind-numbingly boring fights.
Whether we’re talking pre-Zuffa or post-Zuffa UFC, both incarnations have offered up some of the most tediously dull bouts in combat sports history.
So without any further rambling, I present to you the five most boring fights in UFC history.
This bout is still fresh in the memory for many of you, so I probably don’t need to describe its shortcomings.
But I will anyway.
Clay Guida clearly intended to implement a gameplan similar to the one employed by Carlos Condit against Nick Diaz. However, he forgot one crucial detail of said plan: Condit actually threw some strikes.
Rather than stick and move, “The Carpenter” just moved…and moved…then he moved some more. So egregious was his Usain Bolt impression, even the normally mild-mannered Gray Maynard became irritated, flipping Guida off and barking obscenities in his direction.
It’s fair to say that Forrest Gump covered less distance than Clay Guida did at UFC on FX 4. Had a British pensioner tuned in midway through the fight, he would have thought that ESPN were airing re-runs of Benny Hill.
Don’t expect to see any of this fight’s footage during the UFC’s Baba O’Riley themed pre-event montage.
Mir vs. Cro Cop had the makings of a decent scrap. Though older, slower and more gun-shy, we still held out hope that the once-great Croat would turn back the clock just once before he retired.
Additionally, Frank Mir had impressed with his improved striking against the likes of Cheick Kongo and Big Nog.
Perhaps we were too optimistic, but hope springs eternal, etc.
Unfortunately, someone must have told the fighters that the main event of UFC 119 had been changed to a staring contest.
Both men gazed into each other’s eyes like star-crossed lovers, reluctant to hurt one another. And after 14 minutes of inactivity, it seemed as though both would depart the Octagon unscathed.
Then Frank Mir threw an entirely unromantic knee straight into Cro Cop’s brittle jaw, putting as all out of our misery.
In all honesty, the bout deserved far less than a highlight-reel knockout. The ending almost qualifies as a non sequitur.
Given what preceded the fight-ending knee, we would have been less surprised had the bout ended with the pair making out in the middle of the cage.
Think Anderson Silva vs. Demian Maia at UFC 112 was boring? If for some reason you like inactivity, you should check out the pound-for-pound king's UFC 97 bout against Thales Leites.
For five rounds, both fighters generally stared at each other while moving around in circles. The monotony was only ever briefly interrupted whenever Silva decided to throw some sidekicks to his opponent’s knee.
Credit to Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg for their attempts to provide excuses for the pair, who had seemingly engaged in a waltz—occasionally punctuated by all-too-brief spurts of violence.
More frustrating still was Leites’ penchant for periodically flopping over onto his back, like a capsized turtle. Anderson became progressively more and more annoyed with his opponent’s stalling tactics, yet willingly resumed their 25-minute dance as soon as Leites climbed to his feet.
Billed as a “Superfight”, the rematch between Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock could scarcely have been further from “super”.
Despite being choked out within seconds at UFC 1, we all expected Shamrock to come a little more prepared the second time around—and boy, did he come prepared.
Indeed, he came so well prepared for Royce’s ground game that he made absolutely no attempt to do anything except lay in the Brazilian’s guard and wait for a stalemate to be called.
Thirty-six minutes later, the future WWE star got his wish.
Not that Royce Gracie is entirely blameless. While his BJJ game may have proved potent against someone who had never so much as heard of an armbar, let alone defended one, in reality his skills on the mat were fairly basic.
Some may call this revisionist or Marc Laimon-esque, but it happens to be true. Either the Brazilian was incapable of attacking from his back or he simply couldn’t be bothered to swivel his hips and extend his legs.
Either way, this “fight” between the UFC’s first stars could have been replaced by footage of a man mowing his lawn and we would have been equally entertained.
What is it with Ken Shamrock and yawn-inducing rematches? Was he sponsored by Ambien?
To be fair to Shamrock, he came into the fight with so many injuries that one wonders whether he dragged himself to the arena after being involved in a plane crash: torn meniscus, partially torn ACL, broken nose and cracked ribs. Moreover, the fighters at UFC 9 were banned from striking with a closed fist.
With all that in mind, one would need to be almost pathologically optimistic in order to believe that this fight would do anything other than stink the joint out.
Both men circled each other for almost the entire contest, with neither willing to so much as look at the other the wrong way. Had the event been advertised as a track and field event, we’d have thought we were watching two men simply running laps.
I don’t recommend watching this fight even out of morbid curiosity, unless you want to feel like you’re mainlining Lorazepam.