Saddest MMA Moments in 2012
There have been plenty of great moments in MMA over the past year, but injuries and other mishaps have plagued the UFC in 2012. At this point, it's safe to say the injuries that have caused havoc on fight cards are a part of the sport and are here to stay.
However, some of the other unfortunate happenings to occur recently will hopefully be minimized in the MMA community in the years to come. Deaths and disasters hit close to home for fighters and MMA pioneers in 2012, leaving the MMA community in a frequent state of sadness.
Here are the lowest moments MMA has seen in 2012. And let us hope there a far fewer to account for 12 months from today.
Dan Henderson Tears MCL
Dan Henderson is an MMA legend, but one important title has eluded him. The former Pride and Strikeforce champion has competed for UFC titles on two occasions, but he came up short in those back-to-back championship bouts against Quinton Jackson and Anderson Silva.
After beating Mauricio Rua in his return to the Octagon in 2011, Henderson was booked for a third UFC title shot against Jon Jones. Unfortunately, Henderson suffered a knee injury late in his training camp that forced him out of that matchup.
As a result, UFC 151 ended up being cancelled and Henderson lost his place as top light heavyweight contender. The 42-year-old now finds himself preparing for a tough fight with Lyoto Machida, who is very capable of spoiling Henderson's chances of ever earning another title shot.
Forrest Griffin Steals Spotlight from Tito Ortiz
Tito Ortiz fell quickly from the top of the light heavyweight division late in his career, but a highly competitive and entertaining bout with Forrest Griffin provided an excellent window to retirement for the former UFC champion.
Unfortunately, Griffin decided he would use the moments after that fight to throw a temper tantrum of sorts. Disappointed with his performance, Griffin stormed out of the Octagon only to return to the cage and steal the microphone from commentator Joe Rogan.
Griffin tried to lighten the mood by interviewing Ortiz himself, but it wasn't the right time or place. Instead, Ortiz's final moments inside the Octagon were spoiled.
Stephan Bonnar Fails UFC 153 Drug Test
Win or lose, a late-notice fight with Anderson Silva was supposed to be a great moment that Stephan Bonnar could look back at with pride at the end of his career. Instead, it will now be remembered as one of the more embarrassing series of events Bonnar has had.
Forget that Bonnar was no match for Silva inside the cage. That was to be expected. What was so upsetting was the fact that Bonnar tested positive for steroids at UFC 153.
In a way, it was better for Bonnar that he ended up losing that fight. Had he won, things could have been even more messy. Though the result would have been changed to a no contest, failure in any form would damage the aura surrounding Silva, and that would have had a major impact on the entire sport.
Sean Loeffler Injured Warming Up
Sean Loeffler worked long and hard to get his shot inside the Octagon. After 30 fights, a six-fight winning streak was enough for the world's premier MMA organization to give him a call.
The 30-year-old was booked to make his UFC debut in February, and he was only moments away from competing against Buddy Roberts when he suffered a nasty ankle injury warming up in the locker room.
Since the incident, Loeffler's profile has been removed from the list of fighters on the UFC's website. Though nothing official has ever been reported on the situation, this is often a sign a fighter has been released from the organization.
Hopefully, Loeffler will eventually get his chance to put his skills on display at the highest level of the sport.
Geronimo dos Santos Has UFC Debut Ruined by Hepatitis B
With 34 career wins under his belt, Geronimo dos Santos was expected to be a solid addition to the UFC's heavyweight division. Tragically, a medical exam revealed Dos Santos was positive for Hepatitis B.
Now, Dos Santos will have to undergo treatment for an extended period. The Brazilian remains on the UFC roster for now, but his MMA career will be secondary to his health for the foreseeable future.
Here's to a quick and full recovery for dos Santos, who deserves a chance to compete inside the Octagon at some point down the road.
Dennis Hallman Personal Issues and House Fire
In October, Dennis Hallman came to the UFC on FX 5 weigh-in seven pounds overweight, resulting in the cancellation of his scheduled bout against Thiago Tavares.
After the event, UFC president Dana White explained that Hallman's problem with making weight was due to personal issues he was dealing with at home. The organization paid Hallman his show money, but the veteran was released from his contract as a result of his failure to hit the 156-pound mark.
Sadly, his issues were only beginning. On Thanksgiving, Hallman's house burned down in an electrical fire.
Chris Weidman Hit Hard by Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast hard in October. Among the well-known members of the MMA community, none were hit harder than middleweight contender Chris Weidman.
A New York resident, Weidman's house was flooded in the storm. Shortly after the weather calmed, Weidman allowed MMAFighting.com to visit his neighborhood and view the damage.
While still cleaning up his home, Weidman suffered an injury that forced him out of a scheduled bout with Tim Boetsch. It was a fight that would have moved Weidman very close to a shot at the middleweight title, but he must now wait until he is healthy to return to action.
Jason 'Mayhem' Miller Arrested
Fans were ecstatic about Jason Miller's return to the Octagon in 2011, but "Mayhem" collapsed quickly and in ugly fashion.
After losing to Michael Bisping and C.B. Dollaway in unimpressive showings, Miller was released from the UFC earlier this year. Soon afterward, Miller was arrested after being found naked in a church. Charges related to that incident were later dropped.
"Mayhem" fell silent for awhile following the incident until appearing on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. Miller's bizarre behavior on the show led many to worry for his mental health, but a follow-up interview revealed Miller was simply trying to stay in character with a fighter he played in Here Comes the Boom.
Mike Chiesa Grieves Death of Father on National Television
While competing on the only live season of The Ultimate Fighter, Mike Chiesa lost his father to leukemia. Chiesa left the show only briefly to be with his family and attend his father's funeral before returning to the competition.
Chiesa was understandably in tears on the reality show, but his tears of sadness were eventually turned to tears of joy when he won the reality series by submitting Al Iaquinta.
It's no consolation for his loss, but the likable Chiesa will never be short on fans after letting the MMA community into his personal life as he did.
Jeff Blatnick Passes Away
Jeff Blatnick has never really received much recognition for his contributions to MMA, but the former UFC commentator and commissioner did plenty for the sport. When MMA was near death, Blatnick led the charge to develop regulations that would help shed the sport of its many detractors.
In October, Blatnick died following complications from heart surgery. The death of the former Olympic gold medalist brought tremendous sadness to the MMA and wrestling communities.
However, Blatnick will never be forgotten for his accomplishments in combat sports. There are already campaigns to have Blatnick inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, and there is no reason that shouldn't happen in the near future.