5 Fighters That Continuously Shoot Themselves in the Foot
Fighters who consistently think logically both inside and outside of the cage tend to experience the longest periods of success in the realm of MMA.
Guys like Georges St-Pierre, Benson Henderson and Lyoto Machida, among many others, all adhere to strict moral codes and avoid self-destructive episodes.
But it's no easy task finding level-headed fighters in the ilk of "GSP", "Bendo" or "The Dragon". Too many professional fighters practice anarchy and conduct themselves with reckless abandon inside and outside of the cage.
Failed drug tests, unnecessary injuries and no-shows for pertinent meetings are just a few of the criteria used to describe these irresponsible but undoubtedly gifted fighters.
Here's a look at five fighters who perpetually shoot themselves in the foot.
1. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
2. Matthew Riddle
3. Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos
4. Nate Marquardt
5. Thiago Silva
6. Shane Carwin
7. Dave Herman
8. Ian McCall
9. Jacob Volkmann
10. Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal
5. Josh Barnett
Failing a pair of drug tests for anabolic steroids at two of the worst times in his career landed Josh Barnett on the back end of this list.
"The Warmaster" first had his heavyweight title stripped from him after testing positive for anabolic steroids following his win over Randy Couture at UFC 36 in March 2002.
Then, 10 days before the biggest fight of his career, Barnett again tested dirty for anabolic steroids, this time leaving opponent Fedor Emelianenko hanging 11 days before Affliction: Trilogy, an event that was unceremoniously cancelled.
Barnett most recently set his career back when he foolishly failed to come to terms on a contract with the UFC's brass. UFC president Dana White later admitted that Barnett would have locked horns with former champ Junior dos Santos at UFC 160.
At the age of 35, Barnett, a tremendously talented grappler, still has an open invitation to join the UFC when he comes to his senses. Otherwise, he can continue to dominate inferior heavyweights and never gain any real ground.
4. Melvin Guillard
Missing weight, failing a drug test and getting nabbed for greasing are just a few of the bonehead maneuvers UFC lightweight Melvin Guillard has pulled to sabotage his volatile career.
Guillard, grossly athletic and extremely powerful, first saw one of his most notable early wins get overturned due to greasing against Roger Huerta at Freestyle Fighting Championships 14.
Guillard then tested positive for cocaine after getting choked by Joe Stevenson at UFC Fight Night: Stevenson vs. Guillard, a mishap he attributed to the untimely death of his father at the age of 44.
In his next fight, at UFC 79, Guillard got choked by Rich Clementi before trying to attack "No Love" after the fight. He was subsequently released from the promotion for one bout.
Most recently, Guillard failed to make the 155-pound weight limit in a pivotal bout against Donald Cerrone at UFC 150. Cerrone took the fight at a catchweight and KO'd Guillard in the first round.
Sheer talent and raw athletic ability once put Guillard on the cusp of a title shot in the UFC. His utter disregard for authority has Guillard teetering on the line of expulsion.
3. Anthony Johnson
Unlike his peers on this list, Johnson has never failed a drug test. "Rumble" landed at No. 3 on this list, in front of guys like Barnett and Guillard, because of his inability to control his weight.
Johnson missed weight an astounding four times in his 18-fight career, including three times in the UFC.
In his most notable ordeal, Johnson showed up for a key middleweight tilt with Vitor Belfort at UFC 142 weighing over 200 pounds. Belfort fought Johnson at a catchweight of 197 and choked Rumble out late in the first round.
Johnson received his walking papers from White after the debacle with Belfort and hasn't returned to the promotion since.
With strong wrestling chops and potent striking skills, Johnson could make his way back to the UFC if he can prove he's found the right weight class. His recent choice to move up a few divisions is a step toward getting back.
2. Chris Leben
Multiple DUI’s, a pair of failed drug tests and personal problems that led to losses to inferior opponents are all predicates for the top spot on this list.
Although Chris Leben can own up to the all of the aforementioned screw ups, the Icon Fitness MMA member got No. 2 instead because of his propensity to typically bounce back.
“The Crippler” first got arrested for DUI while on probation in April 2008 and had to serve 35 days in jail.
Less than six months later, Leben tested positive for stanozolol after dropping a unanimous decision to Michael Bisping at UFC 89.
Jake Rosholt then choked Leben unconscious in his next fight at UFC 102, a loss that fueled a three-fight winning streak for The Crippler that included finishes over Aaron Simpson (TKO) and Yoshihiro Akiyama (triangle choke). Sherdog.com named Leben the 2010 comeback fighter of the year for his efforts following the stanozolol incident.
After another DUI arrest, Leben regressed in the Octagon again, suffering a TKO loss at the hands of Brian Stann at UFC 125.
In typical Leben fashion, he rebounded with a spectacular KO of Wanderlei Silva at UFC 132, only to get TKO'd in his next outing by Mark Munoz at UFC 138 in a fight that he tested positive for painkillers.
As unpredictable as they come, expect Leben, who has fallen short in his last two fights to Munoz and Derek Brunson, respectively, to bounce back again—and then later repeat his vicious cycle.
1. Nick Diaz
Barely meeting his media obligations for the biggest fight of his career doesn’t give Nick Diaz an exemption from this list.
Diaz should have fought welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre back at UFC 137, but got booted from the card after no-showing a pre-fight press conference at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
In his next bout at UFC 143, with the interim welterweight belt up for grabs, Diaz got outpointed by Carlos Condit, seemingly making the match with St-Pierre seem far-fetched.
To pile on, Diaz tested positive for marijuana metabolites after the fight, ultimately receiving a one-year suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for the incident.
It wasn’t the first time Diaz got popped for marijuana in a post-fight drug test in Nevada, however. “The Stockton Bad Boy” tested positive for marijuana metabolites after stunning Takanori Gomi with a gogoplata at Pride 33.
The win over Gomi, which at the time marked arguably the most noteworthy moment of Diaz’s career, was overturned and deemed a no contest. For a coup de grace, the NSAC suspended Diaz for six months and fined him 20 percent of his purse.
Diaz may have baited St-Pierre into requesting a fight with him, but the Californian, a 3.5-to-1 (+350) underdog, will have to bring his A game and be on his best behavior if he intends to best the champ and overcome his demons.