The 25 Weirdest Moments in MMA History
We live in a peculiar world. On a daily basis, events occur that simply take us by surprise due to their unusual nature.
The mixed martial arts community is certainly not immune to these moments.
Here is a countdown of the 25 weirdest moments in MMA history.
Author's note: Chael Sonnen has been banned from this list. Otherwise, his outrageous moments would take up most of the list. And that simply isn't fair to the rest of the countdown. I apologize for any emotional turbulence that this causes.
25. Chael Sonnen Brings Fake Championship Belt to Press Conference
Photo: screengrab of video interview
I was just kidding about not including Chael in this countdown. The guy has given us too many weird moments to go unnoticed. However, I will limit myself to just one Sonnen appearance.
At UFC 117, MMA fans around the world witnessed Chael Sonnen put a beatdown on longtime champion Anderson Silva before ultimately succumbing to a triangle choke halfway through the final round. Silva left that night with his middleweight title strapped firmly around his waist.
Or did he?
At the UFC on Fox 2 press conference, Sonnen arrived wearing an extra piece of jewelry that struck fans as odd: a replica of the UFC middleweight championship.
24. Rousimar Palhares Stops Fighting to Accuse Nate Marquardt of Greasing
Rousimar Palhares is a weird guy. His intensity level is through the roof, and his mental focus has been questioned on several occasions. Never has that been more obvious than during a headlining fight against Nate Marquardt.
Early in the opening round, Palhares was able to get his opponent down and "Toquinho" immediately snatched a hold of a leg. Knowing that the Brazilian is renowned for his leg and foot locks, everyone assumed the fight was over.
To the surprise of many, Marquardt easily slipped free and returned to his feet. Instead of continuing to fight, Palhares turns to the referee and points to Marquardt's leg as a way to insinuate that he illegally lubricated his legs before the fight.
Keep fighting until the bell or until the referee tells you to stop. It's a lesson that Palhares learned the hard way.
Marquardt took advantage of his distracted opponent and hammered him for a TKO victory.
The oddest thing about this situation is that Marquardt's legs were checked before he left the cage and no traces of grease or other lubricants were found.
23. Matt Brown Knocks out Pete Sell Twice at UFC 96
Yves Lavigne has been called the worst referee in MMA. Everybody makes mistakes, but Lavigne's have been fairly egregious.
At UFC 96, scrappers Matt Brown and Pete Sell tangled on the main card. It was an exciting battle where Brown used his fists to show "Drago" the quickest way to fall down. In only 92 seconds, Brown defeated Sell by TKO twice in the same fight.
Brown battered Sell with strikes to a point where Lavigne had to step in and call him off. However, Sell began to get back up, which prompted Lavigne to actually restart the action.
Not only does the call go against the unified rules of MMA for Lavigne to reverse a stoppage after calling off the aggressor, but it was also incredibly dangerous for him to put Pete Sell back in harm's way.
Shortly after the restart, Sell was knocked out once again, as Matt Brown continually yelled at Lavigne for not protecting his opponent.
Thankfully, Lavigne recognized and addressed his mistake. Via Cage Potato:
I did let Mr. Sell take maybe -- not maybe -- I let him take a beating for absolutely nothing. So I didn't do my job properly. So basically, I screwed up. I screwed up and I'm going to learn from it and try not to do it again. ... I'm going to make sure not to do it again.
22. Diego Sanchez Is a Very Positive Person
Diego Sanchez is a weird guy to begin with, as evidenced by his time on The Ultimate Fighter. However, with an intensity meter that borders on the insane, Sanchez can be outright scary at times.
The most peculiar Sanchez moment comes as "The Nightmare" walks to the cage. In an apparent trance that allows Diego to psych himself up, the TUF winner repeatedly screams the word "YES!" as he walks to the cage.
Over and over again. Why?
21. Bustamante Earns Two Submission Wins over Matt Lindland at UFC 37
Believe it or not, Pete Sell vs. Matt Brown was not the first time that a UFC referee has stopped a fight and then changed his mind.
At UFC 37, middleweight champion Murilo Bustamante snatched a hold of an armbar on Matt Lindland and caused the Team Quest founder to tap out. However, after the referee called a stop to the action, Lindland protested and claimed that he had not submitted.
In a moment of ridiculousness, the fight was restarted and Bustamante quickly earned another submission by way of guillotine choke.
20. The Lights Go out in Charlotte
Heading into the Octagon, fighters find their focus. It's a time where they hype themselves up and get ready to go to war. Some guys sing along to their walkout music as if it's karaoke night in the UFC. Others walk quietly while collecting their thoughts.
It's a ritual that many fighters take tremendously seriously.
At UFC Fight Night 21, moments after Roy Nelson and Stefan Struve went out to the cage, there was a lighting malfunction in Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C. The arena went black, and the focus of each fighter was redirected to the situation at hand.
Nelson and Struve, already sweating from their pre-fight warm up were suddenly standing without the heat of the lights as they stood shivering in their fighting attire.
Struve was never in the fight for a second, and was knocked out 49 seconds into the first round. Whether that had anything to do with the distraction or not is debatable, but the situation itself was rather awkward.
19. Forrest Griffin Runs Away Before Decision; Interviews Opponent Post Fight
At UFC 148, Forrest Griffin was a about as unsportsmanlike as they come.
After a close battle against Hall of Fame fighter Tito Ortiz, Griffin assumed that he had lost the fight and didn't feel like waiting for Bruce Buffer to make the announcement. Instead, the former world champion raced to the back to spare himself humiliation.
UFC president Dana White ran after Griffin and sent him back into the Octagon, where he was awarded the decision victory.
In what was the final fight of his career, Tito Ortiz awaited his final interview with Joe Rogan, where he was expected to give a farewell speech to his loyal fans.
Instead, Griffin snatched the microphone from Rogan and conducted a bizarre interview with Ortiz, robbing him of his final moment in the UFC.
18. Lyoto Machida Believes Drinking Urine Makes Him Stronger
Lyoto tells the crowd what number tastes best
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Lyoto Machida exploded in the UFC with a style that was both unique and dangerous. Some attributed his success to an outstanding counter-striking style with roots in karate. "The Dragon" would likely agree, but also gives some credit to the drink that made him No. 1: his own No. 1.
The practice of urine therapy may not be glamorous, but Machida believes that it provides beneficial properties that give him strength.
My father does that for a long time and bring it to us. People think it’s a joke (laughs). I never said it in the United States because I don’t know how the fans will react (laughs). I drink my urine every morning like a natural medicine.
In other words, if you have breakfast in the Machida household, take a pass on the apple juice. You wouldn't want to accidentally drink from the wrong glass.
17. James Chaney Tries Biting His Way out of a Submission
Desperate guys will go to desperate measures to avoid a loss in a high-pressure situation. However, it's rare for technique to be thrown out the window in exchange for some chewing of the opposition.
On Season 16 of The Ultimate Fighter, crazy James Chaney used his already-awkward looking mouth to chow down on opponent Jon Manley's rib cage.
Manley locked in a guillotine choke that Chaney simply couldn't escape.
The fighter explained himself in an interview with MMAweekly.com last year.
I spat out my mouthpiece to breathe and buy me time. I fought the choke the best I could , but he had extended me out, locked up a grip I couldn’t fight, and tightened up the choke.
I was desperate and in that moment I did the only thing I can think of. I bit Jon, I was hoping it would do something, anything to get me out of the choke and back in the fight. Had I any clarity of mind obviously I would realize that what I did was not only completely despicable, but unlikely to help my case.
It seems much less crazy when he talks about it, but in the end, we're talking about a fighter who spit out his mouthpiece and bit his opponent while fighting for the UFC.
16. TUF Coach Matt Hughes Cancels Practice in Lieu of Bible Study
John Gichigi/Getty Images
In Season 6 of The Ultimate Fighter, former champion and coach Matt Hughes was looking to both inspire his team and break up the monotony of their daily lives in the house. These are guys who live in a house with no television, books or Internet, so finding ways to pass the time can be rough.
With nothing but good intentions, the coach crossed some lines by calling an impromptu Bible study before practice. It's simply not cool to assume that everyone on your team is Christian (they weren't) and even worse to try and get them to read after they decline.
After eventual winner Mac Danzig showed resistance to reading, Hughes repeatedly pushed the material on him in a way that has been perceived by some as being passive-aggressive.
You don't have to read it. I just really think you'd enjoy it.
Thanks, Matt. Let's force religion on these guys who are hoping to learn from you. Either they can read along and look like sheep while the cameras roll, or they can refuse and run the risk of being perceived as Bible bashers in front of the world.
15. Referee Marco Lopez Blatantly Screws Scott Smith at UFC 59
Hard-hitting Scott Smith and David Terrell went toe to toe at UFC 59. At one point, referee Marco Lopez calls for a break in the action. Smith hears the call and immediately breaks.
Terrell clearly did not hear the call and continued fighting. Acting quickly, Terrell takes Smith’s back and locks in a rear-naked choke.
Lopez took no action to let Terrell know that a break had been called, and when Smith is forced to tap in order to get Terrell to release the choke, the bout came to a close, with Smith on the receiving end of an ugly loss.
Appealed to the California State Athletic Commission, this bout should have instantly been declared a no-contest. Instead, Smith saw a five-fight winning streak snapped and suffered only the second loss of his career.
I understand why someone might not be brave enough to own up to a mistake, but when it occurs on live television in front of the world, doing the right thing is the only option.
14. Gray Maynard Knocks Himself Unconscious
In the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 5, standouts Gray Maynard and Rob Emerson met in a collision between promising prospects. Only one could come out with his arm raised, however, on this night, neither man did.
After hurting Emerson early with a body shot, it was clear that Gray Maynard smelled blood in the water. At the start of Round 2, Maynard scored a power double-leg takedown that was too much for his opponent to take. After being slammed into the canvas, Emerson grimaced in pain and tapped out due to an injured rib.
However, Maynard spiked his own head on the mat when landing and seemingly knocked himself unconscious in the process. Maynard denies ever losing consciousness, but it was clear to the audience that he was unable to continue.
Without a precedent on how to move forward, there was no clear ruling on what to do. Emerson certainly didn't beat Maynard, but "The Bully" couldn't go on with the fight, either.
The bout was ruled a no-contest, which saved Emerson from adding a loss to his record, but irritated Maynard, who dominated every minute of the action.
13. Heath Herring Gets Kissed Pre-Fight; Knocks out Opponent
This one really speaks for itself. I'll just leave you with the video and one note: If you decide to kiss a man nicknamed "The Texas Crazy Horse," you had better be ready for the wrath that is about to rain down upon you.
12. Steven Seagal Takes Credit for Inventing Front Kick
Anyone who has seen any mixed martial arts in the last two years has likely seen the replay of Anderson Silva's brutal front-kick knockout of Vitor Belfort at UFC 126. The teepe variation was the first of its kind to KO an opponent inside the Octagon.
Of course it was the first of its kind. After all, actor/judo master Steven Seagal invented the kick and taught it exclusively to Anderson Silva for the fight. Or so he would have you think.
Let's be honest here. Steven Seagal is a dangerous man, but he comes across as slightly off his rocker.
In 2010, IKF Muay Thai world champion Dave Nielsen used the kick to viciously knock out his opponent. According to the information section of the YouTube video, many UFC fighters, including members of Black House (Anderson Silva's gym), were in attendance for this fight.
Since Seagal is an actor from the martial arts genre of action, we can also relate this attack from his industry. Perhaps you are familiar with a film called Ong Bak. If not, you might recognize the strike in this clip. (Warning: NSFW)
11. Randy Couture Spanks Tito Ortiz
In the heat of battle, two fighters scrapping over a world championship could do some very unpredictable things. However, the idea of giving your opponent a spanking inside the Octagon has rarely come into anyone's mind.
While fighting against Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture knew that he was well ahead on the scorecards, and the final seconds of the matchup were running out. Ortiz rolled for an unsuccessful kneebar, but since he had a solid grip on Couture's leg, "The Natural" was unable to improve his position.
Watch the included video to hear the Hall of Famer describe this hilarious and bizarre moment.
10. Rousimar Palhares Celebrates TKO Win Without Actually Winning
When Rousimar Palhares met Dan Miller in Rio, fans were eager to see their native countryman come out victorious. Palhares himself was so eager to have his arm raised that he forgot to actually win the fight before celebrating.
After landing a vicious head kick that put Miller down, Palhares swarmed with punches as Miller covered himself up. Miller wasn't taking a whole lot of damage, but we were clearly only seconds away from referee Herb Dean pulling "Toquinho" off.
However, Palhares thought that he had done enough and didn't wait for Dean to pronounce the match as completed. The chiseled star climbed the cage wall and began posing for the crowd, all the while Dean is trying to tell him to get down and finish the fight.
Watch a .gif image of the incredibly awkward moment here.
9. Nate Quarry Mocks Kalib "Running Man" Starnes
It's one thing to take a beating inside the Octagon. However, take your lumps like a man and leave with a little bit of pride. Apparently, that is not a lesson that anyone gave Kalib Starnes prior to his matchup with former title challenger Nate Quarry.
Quarry won one of the most one-sided fights in UFC history. In fact, one judge scored the contest 30-24 in favor of the Team Quest fighter.
Starnes had no intention of continuing in the fight, but instead of signaling the referee that he was finished, the TUF 3 alumnus decided to run away for the final minute on the clock.
Clearly agitated at his inability to get a finish, Quarry not only chased Starnes around the cage, but mocked him mercilessly in the process. The final sequence of taunting is arguably the funniest moment in MMA history.
View a .gif image of the taunting here.
8. Greg Jackson Tells Georges St-Pierre: 'Hit Him with Your Groin'
Any time that a fighter thinks that there is a problem that he can't control, it has the ability to mess with his psyche. In the wrong state of mind, no fighter is able to compete at 100 percent, and it can cost him greatly.
When Georges St-Pierre tore his groin muscle at UFC 100, he told coach Greg Jackson about the injury between rounds. A true veteran of the sport, Jackson knew that he could not show any concern regarding the serious condition, so he was quick to tell GSP that the injury didn't matter.
At the end of his impassioned speech, Jackson can clearly be heard telling the welterweight kingpin to use his junk as a source of attack. "Hit him with your groin" has been a war cry of coaches across the world ever since.
OK... maybe not. But it should be.
7. Dennis Hallman Fights in Man-Panties
If you ask Dennis Hallman to tell the story of his awful man-panties at UFC 133, he was forced into the awful fashion choice because he lost a bet. However, there were no winners of that bet, as fans around the world had to see much more of the fighter than we would ever want to.
Hallman's testicle was briefly exposed during the fight. Since that time, Dana White made a permanent ban on this sort of apparel inside the Octagon.
Not only that, but opponent Brian Ebersole was awarded a "getting those horrifying shorts off TV as soon as possible" bonus for beating Hallman in the first round.
6. Gilbert Yvel Knocks out a Referee
Gilbert Yvel is one of few fighters with multiple disqualification losses in his career. He is one of the only fighters in the sport's history to attain three of them.
In a 2004 fight with Atte Backman, the fighters were separated while nearing falling over the top rope in a clinch position. For fighter safety, the referee called a halt to the action in hopes of repositioning them.
Yvel repeatedly shrugged off the referee's hand, and after multiple attempts, he suddenly punched the referee in the head before kicking him while he was down.
5. Anderson Silva Batters Demian Maia for Three Rounds; Runs Away for Final Two
When UFC 112 headed to Abu Dhabi for a night of legends in action, few could have predicted the peculiar behavior of Anderson "The Spider" Silva.
Taking on jiu-jitsu monster Demian Maia, Silva knew that this was a fight he wanted to keep standing, where the champion holds an incredible amount of superiority.
For the first three rounds, Anderson pummeled Maia, who was hesitant in exchanges.
That's when things got weird.
With 10 minutes left, Silva decided that he was done fighting for the night, and avoided contact with his opponent as much as possible until the scores were read. Referee Dan Miragliotta actually called a break to the action in the fifth round to warn The Spider that his behavior would not be tolerated.
UFC president Dana White was appalled by the performance and refused to strap the belt around his champion's waist after the fight. In an interview with Ariel Helwani, White confirmed that this moment is the lowest of his tenure with the organization.
4. Frank Shamrock Is Not a Member of the Hall of Fame
Frank Shamrock is a pioneer of mixed martial arts. With a 5-0 record inside the Octagon and four defenses of the UFC championship, no fighter from the early days of the pre-Zuffa era has accomplished as much as Frank Shamrock without being awarded a spot in the UFC Hall of Fame.
Due to a personal turmoil between Shamrock and UFC president Dana White, the submission specialist has seemingly been snubbed from ever entering the prestigious group, which includes the likes of Royce Gracie, Randy Couture and adopted brother Ken Shamrock, among others.
Shamrock has been asked about his exclusion for the UFC Hall of Fame, and in an interview with Rebellion Radio, gave his thoughts on the situation.
First off, I don't think the Hall of Fame has any credibility unless I'm in it. I was the first champion ever and set two world records. I've been pioneering for this sport since before there was weight classes and gloves. so, it kinda looks to me like the whole Hall of Fame is kind of a flim-flam and it's up to Dana's own jock as to who goes in. And unfortunately, that doesn't define a real sport. A real sport is completely different.
A man who broke UFC records and has done more for the sport than 99 percent of his contemporaries isn't making the Hall of Fame.
Weird? I'd say so.
3. Battered Mark Coleman Frightens His Own Children
At PRIDE 32, Mark Coleman took a merciless beating from Fedor Emelianenko.
With his face swollen and bloodied, "The Hammer" turned to his daughters, who were unfortunately in attendance for the pounding that he took. Recognizing the fear in their eyes, Coleman attempted to console his little girls. However, the little girls were horrified by the monster that stood before them.
Coleman received significant backlash for traumatizing his girls by allowing them to be there for the fight, and for bringing them into the ring afterwards.
Morgan, one of the daughters in the ring, commented on the experience in an interview with Inside MMA. Thankfully, her memories of the incident do not seem to be similar to what you might expect.
It was just kind of a moment from being thrown in so fast. Everyone thinks it's his fault, but I would have found out about it sooner or later. So, it's honestly not his fault at all. It was honestly the time of my life because it was so fun out there. So I honestly don't regret that at all.
2. Rampage Jackson Dry-Humps a Reporter
Kudos to interviewer Heather Nichols for maintaining her professionalism during this incredibly awkward moment. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Nichols spoke about her time with the former UFC light heavyweight champion.
At first I was just shocked when he grabbed me, and all I could think was, "Oh my gosh, what is he doing?!" Then I tried to play along a little bit because I knew he was trying to be funny, but after about the first 5-10 seconds, it was just plain awkward. I kept thinking, "What should I do? Knee him? Keep going?" So I decided to keep asking questions, assuming he would stop if I did that. So I asked another question, and he kept going. I asked ANOTHER question, and he kept going. At this point I was just freaking out, but still trying to be a professional and ask all the questions I was assigned to ask, and this has been interpreted by some viewers as me liking it and egging him on. This was definitely not the case. I was hired to do a job, which was to interview Rampage, so I decided to put up with his shenanigans and finish the interview.
1. Tim Sylvia Poops His Pants Mid-Fight
There are a lot of urban legends that either originated as a joke, or as something that got blown out of proportion. For a long time, the story of Tim Sylvia pooping his pants on live TV was considered to be just another myth.
That is, until the former Heavyweight champion confirmed the story.
"Not taking anything away from Assuerio, he's a tough dude, obviously. I hit him a couple of times and couldn't finish him. I was really sick for the fight. I got really sick Saturday and had problems holding my innards. When I was warming up, I had a few problems, and I actually had a few problems in the ring when I was fighting."
"I don't know what it was. It got really cold when we were outside working out and stuff, going back and forth from the room. I caught something, and I just couldn't hold in my number twos... If you look at the fight you'll see that when my shorts came down, you'll see the wet mark in my underwear."
Sylvia would go on to win the bout, and thankfully for Assuerio, the finish did not come via triangle choke.