Whether it happens deliberately or inadvertently, antagonizing a UFC fighter can spell grave trouble for a layman.
But since it's common knowledge that each of the UFC's 389 signed fighters possesses the ability to inflict significant physical harm on an opponent, it takes a particularly senseless fool to fall into this unfortunate scenario.
The first type of culprit—also known as the oblivious challenger—simply hasn't learned, or doesn't care, about the radical measures UFC fighters take to prepare for battle.
The second most likely candidate—or the brave challenger—has watched UFC fights, but assumes that anyone could participate, as if stepping into the Octagon is similar to taking a seat at the World Series of Poker.
Here's a glimpse at 10 reasons non-UFC fighters should avoid picking fights with UFC fighters.
It seems like a risky proposition to square off with a UFC fighter in any light, but a layman could suffer exponentially more damage in a bout outside than Octagon than in a sanctioned tilt inside.
A referee like Herb Dean has the power to not only prevent any illegal or dangerous techniques from being thrown—such as knees or kicks to a downed opponent—he can also prevent any excessive beatings or potential damages from submissions.
Try to envision Shinya Aoki’s hammerlock submission of Mizuto Hirota unfolding in an unsanctioned setting. With no referee around, Aoki may have ripped his arm clean off at the elbow.
If you get rowdy with a UFC fighter in a non-sanctioned setting, prepare to face the consequences of dealing with their full arsenal of tools.
Because of the measures they regularly take to avoid defeat, UFC fighters often make daunting tasks seem elementary.
How many times have you seen a UFC fighter fending off a choke attempt with blood spewing into his eyes, nose and mouth? Or on how many occasions did you witness a fighter wearing brutal low kicks round after round on legs that look like meat had been fried on them?
Mainstays like Chan Sung Jung, Jon Fitch and Frankie Edgar have each soared to great heights because of their uncanny knack for handling dangerous dilemmas with such savvy and valor.
Truth be told, though, fighters like “The Korean Zombie,” Fitch and Edgar are all certainly uncommon, just not so much in the UFC.
It's rare to find a mixed martial artist—let alone one in the UFC—who doesn't have a wealth of calcium deposits accumulated on their shins from years of sparring.
Fighters like to replace the nerves on their shin bones with hard balls of calcium. These deposits minimize pain on impact and morph a fighter's shin bone into a more durable instrument to strike with.
Those who haven't conditioned their shins to absorb the blow of a low kick shouldn't attempt to check one from a UFC fighter. A typical layman would likely opt to wear a kick on the femoral artery before checking one, though.
But regardless of where the kick lands, the victim of the blow will be rendered virtually one-legged. Ever fight with one leg? If not, ask Urijah Faber or Nate Marquardt how they felt during their respective fights against Jose Aldo and Tarec Saffiedine.
Some extremely gifted martial artists never grace the Octagon because their jaws prove too flimsy in the minor leagues to handle the accurate impact of a four-ounce glove.
The same can’t be said for UFC stars like Nick Diaz, Roy Nelson and Dan Henderson, all of whom seem capable of handling several shots from a hammer to their jaws.
Many of the nearly 400 fighters in the UFC have skulls and jawlines similar to that of a Neanderthal, in fact.
This means if an amateur wants to put a fighter like Diaz, Nelson or Henderson to sleep with a strike, a baseball bat or a frying pan would probably help.
Unlike the big leagues in other major sports, not every UFC fighter has job security or financial stability.
For example, take Junior dos Santos’ purse at UFC 155 and compare it to the earnings of another fighter on that card, Byron Bloodworth. “Cigano” took home $400,000, while Bloodworth bagged only $6,000.
Even mid-tier fighters like Jay Hieron, who won a title in the IFL and fought for another in Bellator, don't rake in nearly the kind of scratch garnered by promotional staples like Rashad Evans.
Hieron made $12,000 in his loss to Tyron Woodley at UFC 156. At the same event, Evans netted $300,000 in his setback to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Because they’re still generally underpaid, at least in the gamut of pro sports, UFC fighters remain volatile individuals.
Although the same behavior is often perpetuated by NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL players, some UFC fighters genuinely have nothing to lose, and that's a downright frightening proposition for bad guys.
In some social cases, especially when alcohol’s involved, small spats can result in rather large altercations.
It's in these situations that confident challengers seem most at risk of getting embarrassed by a UFC fighter and losing respect from family members, friends or significant others.
Visualize, for example, a much larger and equally athletic former Division I football player attempting to lock horns with an explosive UFC featherweight like Chad Mendes.
A fighter like Mendes may look relatively harmless in street attire, but looks carry little weight in the realm of competitive fighting. Guys like Mendes have the ability to dismantle a man twice their size, a fact that doesn’t bode well for a potential victim’s ego.
Few fighters exist who don’t revel in the chance at landing a fight-ending, highlight-reel head kick in the UFC.
In the same vein, no UFC fighter looks forward to absorbing a head kick, undoubtedly the most devastating striking technique in MMA.
If Hayato Sakurai and Josh Thomson couldn’t maintain consciousness after wearing head kicks from Marius Zaromskis and Yves Edwards, respectively, it’s hard to imagine a typical barfly doing so.
Just picture an average Joe provoking Vitor Belfort until the Brazilian lost control and planted his shin bone across his forehead. With nothing soft to lessen the blow, the strike could prove fatal.
The UFC has evolved so much since Zuffa LLC bought the company for just $2 million in 2001. Back then, few elite grapplers existed in the sport.
Most of the best takedown artists competed internationally either in wrestling or judo.
These days, however, few of the UFC’s massive stable of fighters struggle in the category of wrestling.
The UFC’s elite, like Georges St-Pierre, Chael Sonnen and Daniel Cormier, have mastered the art of mixing strikes with shots.
Picture eating three or four jabs, a few hooks and straights and a kick to the liver before getting launched in the air with a blast double-leg takedown, and that’s before the ground-and-pound starts.
The best fighters in the world either already compete in the UFC or have plans to someday join the promotion. That’s not to assume that superior wrestlers, Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners and boxers don’t exist outside the UFC, though, because they definitely do.
But pitting an opponent who’s dominant in just one facet of the game against a UFC fighter who’s well-versed in all areas of combat just isn’t fair.
There’s no single martial art that teaches a student to cope with a blend of boxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, tae kwon do, judo, karate, freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling, among other styles.
Still, this theory hasn't stopped naïve boxers like Floyd Mayweather and Tyson Fury from calling out some of the UFC's best.
What athletes like Mayweather and Fury can't seem to comprehend, however, is how much they'd struggle to ever implement their boxing chops or win a fight in the UFC.
To get an idea of what great lengths UFC fighters take to reach the pinnacle of physical conditioning, spend some time in Albuquerque, N.M., at Jackson’s MMA and watch guys like Jon Jones and Clay Guida work.
This may represent just one small corner of the MMA world, but fighters at Jackson’s capitalize on their naturally arduous surroundings. Training in an unforgiving environment with extreme heat and altitude transforms fighters like Jones and Guida into cardio machines.
So even if a novice were to land a lucky punch on the button, that punch would need to utterly incapacitate a UFC fighter in order to end the scrap.