Worst MMA Moments of 2012
Jon Jones defended the UFC light heavyweight title twice in 2012. However, in some ways, the champion still had the most disappointing year of his MMA career.
In May, Jones wrecked his Bentley and was arrested for driving while intoxicated. While that was clearly Jones' most serious misstep of the year, he would continue to come under criticism for turning down fights on late notice following an injury to previously scheduled opponent Dan Henderson.
Additionally, the light heavyweight champion came dangerously close to losing his belt in a bout against Vitor Belfort. Though he fought through a tight armbar and ended up beating the Brazilian challenger, Jones finally looked beatable for one of the first times in his career.
Jones wasn't the only fighter to face problems in 2012, though. Let's take a look at the worst moments in all of MMA over the past year.
20. Sean Loeffler Pre-Fight Injury
Sean Loeffler had been booked to make his UFC debut against Buddy Roberts at UFC on Fuel TV 1.
Unfortunately, moments before Loeffler was to walk out to the Octagon for the bout, the 30-year-old MMA veteran injured his ankle badly (via MMAJunkie.com).
Loeffler was unable to compete, and his roster page has since been removed from the middleweight roster on the UFC's website. No announcement has been made regarding Loeffler's release from the promotion, but there's a good possibility he won't be offered another UFC bout in the near future.
19. Tim Means Pre-Fight Injury
Tim Means was originally booked to fight Abel Trujillo at UFC 151. However, once that fight was cancelled, the matchup was moved to UFC on Fox 5.
In cutting weight for the UFC on Fox 5 weigh-ins, Means slipped in the sauna and suffered a concussion (via MMAJunkie.com).
With Means unable to fight at the event the following night, Marcus LeVesseur stepped in as a replacement and was defeated by Trujillo.
18. Jeremy Stephens Arrested
White worked almost the entire night to free Stephens from custody in time for his bout. Despite White's claims that Stephens would fight at UFC on FX 5, he was not able to bail his lightweight fighter out of jail.
Stephens would later meet Edwards at UFC on Fox 5, where he was knocked out in a shocking first-round upset.
17. Daniel Sarafian Forced out of TUF Finale
Daniel Sarafian earned a spot in the middleweight finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil by knocking out Sergio Moraes in the semifinal round. However, it was Moraes who ended up taking Sarafian's place in the season finale when the latter was forced out of the competition due to injury.
Moraes was defeated by Cezar Ferreira, who became the first winner of the Brazilian version of the UFC's reality series.
The promising Sarafian has still not made his UFC debut, but he's expected to do so against C.B. Dollaway in January.
16. Brian Stann Forced out of Hector Lombard Fight
A bout between Brian Stann and Hector Lombard was supposed to bring depth to the UFC's fourth event aired on network television.
However, a Stann injury forced that potential slugfest off of the UFC on Fox 4 fight card and left the former Bellator champion to fight Tim Boetsch in what turned out to be a disappointing bout at UFC 149.
15. Quinton Jackson Forced out of Glover Teixeira Fight
Coming off back-to-back losses and considering a move to another organization, Quinton Jackson was booked for an interesting fight with fellow power puncher Glover Teixeira.
The matchup had been scheduled to take place in October at UFC 153. However, a Jackson injury resulted in a bout between Teixeira and Fabio Maldonado. After Teixeira dominated Maldonado, he asked for his fight with Jackson to be re-booked.
Thankfully, Jackson and Teixeira are now expected to compete against one another in January.
14. Vitor Belfort Forced out of Wanderlei Silva Fight
The original season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil featured Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva as coaches.
On the reality series, Belfort and Silva developed a rivalry to help build up their rematch. Sadly, a Belfort injury spoiled an entire season of promotion for the fight.
Rich Franklin replaced Belfort and had an exciting bout with Silva, but it didn't carry the same element of rivalry. With both fighters aging, a rematch between Belfort and Silva is now in doubt.
13. Shane Carwin Forced out of Roy Nelson Fight
Just like Vitor Belfort, Shane Carwin was forced out of a fight with an opposing The Ultimate Fighter coach.
Carwin and Roy Nelson instructed fighters on The Ultimate Fighter 16 and showed some serious disdain for one another. The heavyweights were not able to settle their feud inside the cage, though, as the often injured Carwin went down again.
Matt Mitrione stepped in for Carwin, but he lacked experience in comparison to Nelson and was knocked out in the opening round.
12. Luke Rockhold Unable to Fight Lorenz Larkin
The final event in Strikeforce history was to be named Strikeforce: Champions and would have featured several title fights.
One of those championship bouts was expected to be a middleweight contest between champion Luke Rockhold and Lorenz Larkin. However, Rockhold was not able heal an injury in time for the event and will now likely compete inside the Octagon in his next appearance.
After multiple event cancellations, things were already looking bad for Strikeforce's farewell event.
11. Gilbert Melendez Unable to Fight Pat Healy
Like Luke Rockhold, GIlbert Melendez was supposed to defend his title at Strikeforce: Champions.
Nonetheless, for the second time in 2012, Melendez was forced out of a title fight with Pat Healy due to injury. With only one title fight remaining on the fight card, Melendez's removal from the event forced Strikeforce to scrap the Strikeforce: Champions title and replace it with Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine.
Now, Healy will probably not get his shot at Melendez any time soon, as the latter is expected to immediately become a contender in the UFC's lightweight division.
10. Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall Ends in Draw
In March, the UFC began a four-man tournament to determine its first-ever flyweight champion.
To avoid delays in the completion of the tournament, a fourth round was to be used in the event of any ties. Unfortunately, the sudden-death stanza was not utilized in a tie between Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall in the semifinal round.
The athletic commission incorrectly added the scores and initially named Johnson the winner, though it was later discovered the judges had scored the fight a draw. As a result, Johnson and McCall had to be booked for a rematch, while semifinal winner Joseph Benavidez sat on the shelf awaiting the winner.
9. Nick Diaz Fails Drug Test
Following a close decision loss to Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz was to receive an immediate rematch with the interim champion.
Then, for the second time in his MMA career, Diaz was busted for marijuana (via MMAJunkie.com). As a result, the Cesar Gracie-trained fighter was suspended for one year and missed out on his second chance to claim the interim welterweight belt.
Diaz's absence also resulted in a long period of inactivity for Condit, who was willing to wait for the return of welterweight titleholder Georges St-Pierre.
8. Alistair Overeem Fails Drug Test
After decimating Brock Lesnar in his UFC debut, Alistair Overeem was awarded a shot at Junior dos Santos and the heavyweight championship.
Though, one of the most highly anticipated fights of 2012 was lost due to a failed drug test that was administered at a pre-fight press conference (via MMAJunkie.com). Long suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs due to his significant increase in size, Overeem tested with abnormally high levels of testosterone.
Still in the midst of a suspension, Overeem is now preparing for a much less significant fight against Antonio Silva.
7. Dominick Cruz Forced out of Urijah Faber Fight
The past year was an extremely rough one for The Ultimate Fighter. In addition to the two previously mentioned fights between coaches that were lost, a fight between The Ultimate Fighter 15 coaches Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber was also destroyed by injury.
Cruz and Faber were supposed to play a big part in introducing the reality series to the FX audience. Their rivalry did provide some entertainment, but all their trash talk and pranks were rendered meaningless when their rubber match was scrapped due to a Cruz knee injury.
Renan Barao ended up defeating Faber in an interim title fight, and a third fight with Cruz is now in doubt for The California Kid.
6. Georges St-Pierre Forced out of Nick Diaz Fight
In February, Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz were supposed to meet in the main event of UFC 143.
However, the heated rivalry would have to be put on hold, as the Canadian champion suffered a knee injury that would keep him out of action for an additional nine months.
Diaz went on to lose against Carlos Condit at UFC 143, and it appeared one of the most intriguing matchups in UFC history would be lost. However, we now know that is not the case, with St-Pierre and Diaz being booked to fight in March.
5. Jose Aldo Forced out of Frankie Edgar Fight
One of the most injury-plagued fight cards of 2012, UFC 149 lost featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
Aldo was originally expected to fight Erik Koch in the main event, but Koch missed out on his opportunity due to injury. That opened the door for the UFC to put together what was essentially considered a superfight between Aldo and former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
Of course, 2012 lost that fight to 2013 when it was discovered Aldo would not be able to recover from a motorcycle accident in time to defend his belt.
4. Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy Cancelled
Gilbert Melendez was only able to compete once in 2012, as an injury forced him out of a September title defense against Pat Healy only one week prior to competition.
With Melendez being the driving force behind that event, Strikeforce was forced to cancel the fight card altogether. The cancellation of that event began a rapid descent for the organization, which will close its doors following a final fight night in January.
3. Strikeforce: Cormier vs. Mir Cancelled
It was the final nail in the coffin.
When Frank Mir was injured and forced out of his bout with Daniel Cormier, another Strikeforce event was cancelled, leaving the organization with almost no choice but to dissolve into the UFC in 2013.
Cormier will compete on the January Strikeforce event, but his bout with Dion Staring is not one many have their eyes on.
2. UFC 151 Cancelled
In its entire existence, the UFC has never had to cancel an event. That came to an end with Dan Henderson's injury prior to UFC 151.
Henderson's absence left light heavyweight champion Jon Jones without an opponent, and he was unwilling to take a fight with Chael Sonnen on very short notice. Without Jones and a co-main event bout between Josh Koscheck and Jake Ellenberger that was also lost to injury, the UFC had little choice other than scrapping UFC 151.
Having a pay day taken away from them temporarily, preliminary card fighters were vocal about their lack of respect for Jones declining a fight with Sonnen. That negative energy transferred to fans and has probably damaged Jones' popularity for the foreseeable future.
1. Jon Jones Drives While Intoxicated
Many called Jon Jones' decision to turn down a fight with Chael Sonnen at UFC 151 a selfish one, but there was no decision more selfish in MMA this year than Jones' to drive while under the influence of alcohol (via TMZ.com).
Listen, everyone makes mistakes, but this is one that is made far too frequently by influential athletes and everyday people alike.
Luckily, no one was seriously hurt in this instance, and hopefully, Jones can use his mistake to educate others on why drunk driving is not worth putting innocent lives at risk.
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