10 Fighters That Are the Biggest Headaches for the UFC
We experience this in life all the time. Certain people are just harder to work with than others.
The UFC is no different.
Certain fighters just end up causing problem after problem for the UFC and its top dogs. Sometimes it's intentional, but other times it's just coincidental.
Who are the guys that have caused the most headaches for the world's largest MMA promotion? Find out here!
The UFC, right or wrong, expects fighters to step in on short notice. Lyoto Machida, though, is plain-and-simple not somebody that is going to do that.
On at least two separate occasions, “The Dragon” has turned down main-event fights on short notice.
The first time was at UFC 133, where Machida was briefly linked to a main-event fight against Rashad Evans (who was originally scheduled to face Phil Davis). While his handlers initially agreed, his manager Ed Soares apparently tried to squeeze a few extra dollars out of the UFC last-minute.
White would tell him where to stick the contract, and ended up getting Tito Ortiz to volunteer for a fight with Evans.
The second time was at UFC 152. After giving Ryan Bader the healthiest scalp of his life, Machida earned a rematch against light heavyweight champ Jon Jones (who had beaten him just eight months earlier).
His chance came earlier than expected, though, as Dan Henderson injured his knee (more on that later), moving his title shot from some time in early 2013 to UFC 152 in September.
Even a title fight on a downright stacked card wasn't enough to get Machida to step up, though, and it cost him. Now, after out-pointing Dan Henderson in a wildly unpopular fight, Machida is set to rematch Jon Jones yet again in a fight the UFC can't be especially excited about.
He beat the promotion's top draw, Brock Lesnar, into retirement, instantly dropping the UFC's projected buyrates per year down by at least 500,000. This set up a title fight with Junior dos Santos at UFC 146 that would never come to pass after Overeem checked in with a wacky T:E ratio, earning him a nine-month suspension.
This put Overeem in Dana White's doghouse, but he still found himself in a potential top contender fight with Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva at UFC 156. Then he lost that fight really hard, which made for a really-not-very-interesting rematch between Cain Velasquez and “Bigfoot.”
Well, that's okay, because now a grudge match against Junior dos Santos is in the cards, right? Well, too bad Overeem got injured and has since been replaced by Mark Hunt.
Ken Shamrock loves attention. Like...so much.
Shamrock, remember, is a guy who fought a who's who of MMA stars in the 1990s. He beat Dan Severn, he beat Bas Rutten. He fought Royce Gracie to 36-minute-long draw.
Then he left MMA for the WWF. Why? Well, the money and the attention.
The thing is, while guys like Cung Le have left the sport to fight to a script, professional wrestling isn't the same as Hollywood acting. It's at least as destructive to your body as MMA and when he was either no longer a valuable asset for the WWE, or just plain not physically capable of going on any longer, he returned to MMA as a shadow of himself.
Splitting time between Pride and the UFC, he racked up a record of 1-6. To any outside observer, he was done. Not according to Shamrock, though. He wasn't going to accept jumbotron appearances at UFC events as his only moments of applause quite yet.
Bouncing from promotion to promotion, he racked up losses to people who you probably have never heard of. In between those fights, he found the time to bad-mouth the promotion that made him a star in America.
Shamrock, at this point, is struggling to find a place in MMA where he can endure. If such a spot exists, though, it continues to elude him.
Dana White is always quick to praise Anderson Silva, but the long-time middleweight champion would probably make the UFC's boss pull out clumps of hair if he had any. His UFC career is one that has always had a background of turmoil.
It starts with him unseating popular champ Rich Franklin in devastating fashion at UFC 64 in 2006. In 2008, and into 2010, it moves into the territory where Silva became a downright pariah in the MMA industry.
He put forward less-than-entertaining performances against Patrick Cote, Thales Leites and Demian Maia (that fight against Maia, by the way, came at one of the UFC's most important events of all time, UFC 112).
Then, after that, he became the fickle, choosy Anderson Silva of today. The one who has been looking to fight just about anybody other than the top middleweight contender, Chris Weidman.
Granted, Silva's one of the biggest draws for the UFC, and is the clear-cut greatest fighter of all time...but man, Dana White must keep bottles of Advil handy whenever he starts negotiating with him.
This is the biggest no-brainer on this list. Nothing about working with Nick Diaz is easy.
Missed media obligations. Missed fights. Failed drug tests. Out-of-the-cage incidents. In-the-cage incidents. Ridiculous declarations of retirement.
Any and all of these are a distinct possibility at any given point, and at this point in Diaz's career, it's not a question of if he messes up, it's when.
Now, the entire MMA world is holding its breath, waiting for UFC 158's drug test results to come back. That, really, is a testament to just how much of a problem Diaz has been for whatever promotion he happens to call home.
Check out my semi-comprehensive guide to Diaz's foibles here.
Right or wrong, Tito Ortiz's beefs with Dana White out of the cage overshadow many of his actual accomplishments as a fighter.
The most famous example of this was when Ortiz wore a shirt to the weigh-ins reading “Dana is my bitch”. In reality, though, the worst thing for the UFC during Ortiz's years of feuding with the promotion was showing off his contract to other fighters during their own negotiations with Zuffa (which, in turn, would cost the company millions of dollars).
While Ortiz, White and the UFC would hug it all out, the bad blood has started to bubble yet again. Tito Ortiz is handling Cris “Cyborg” Santos these days, and was apparently the guy to throw a wrench into a potential fight between the former Strikeforce champ and Ronda Rousey. This whole sequence of events has Dana White taking swipes at Ortiz again.
We'll see how friendly they remain over the coming months.
“Rampage” was a godsend for a little while there. When the UFC needed somebody to fight Chuck Liddell, he came in and beat him hard to become the UFC's light heavyweight champ.
Then he lost the belt to Forrest Griffin, and the wheels started coming off. His eccentricities started to seem like legitimate mental problems and when he opted to ditch a PPV main event set up in his backyard against rival Rashad Evans in order to play B.A. Baracus in the "A-Team" movie, he became more trouble than anybody would have liked.
The final five fights of his UFC career were mired by injuries, insults and losses.
While he is no longer part of the UFC, Jackson is still finding ways to take shots at the UFC. While he keeps throwing around the idea of disrespect and racism, the biggest claim he has made is that the UFC cheats fighters out of money by understating buyrates.
True or not, it has made both fans and media wonder aloud if the UFC cheats their fighters.
Going into his retirement bout with Lyoto Machida in Toronto, you'd have thought Randy Couture was Jesus Christ. He was the guy who did no wrong, and pulled off miracle after miracle.
In reality, though, Couture has never been on great terms with the UFC. From the earliest points in his career, he has been consistently willing to distance himself from the world's largest promotion, including vacating the UFC's heavyweight belt after just four professional fights.
Time after time, he failed to fall in line with the promotion. Guys like Matt Hughes, Georges St-Pierre and Chuck Liddell were all “UFC fighters.” They were fighters that fought for the UFC.
Randy Couture was not one of those guys, though. Randy Couture looked out for Randy Couture, and if that meant plugging fights for Affliction, lending legitimacy to the IFL, or appearing on the cover of a rival company's video game, he was willing to do it.
The former Pride champ has been tough for the UFC to handle. He came to the UFC after the acquisition of the Japanese promotion with two belts to unify, losing both those fights.
He left the UFC after knocking out rising star Michael Bisping to join at-the-time rival promotion Strikeforce. He would come back, and put on a great fight with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, but the show would fail to draw buys.
That fight, though, set up for a championship bout with Jon Jones at UFC 151. That didn't go so well, either.
Most recently, Hendo came up well short of beating Lyoto Machida in a downright snoozer of a fight. That sets up for a redo of one of Jon Jones' least-watched fights during his championship reign.
Hendo, really, just can't seem to do what the UFC needs him to.
Roy Nelson is basically the only fighter on this list that has taken to actively pushing Dana White's buttons.
Things started off ugly, with Dana White forcing Roy Nelson into “The House” on The Ultimate Fighter 10, in spite of the fact that Nelson was the IFL's undefeated heavyweight champion. While on the show, White took issue with Nelson's cockiness and goofy personality.
As time has gone on, though, Nelson has become one of the most popular fighters in the UFC's heavyweight division. He parlayed that into a coaching spot on The Ultimate Fighter 16 and used that to jab at White from start to finish on issues like PED use, company policy and fighter pay.
Worse yet, he tried to bring in coaches like Balco's Victor Conte and former Strikeforce light heavyweight champ (and huge Dana White hater) Mo Lawal.
Whenever one of them gets asked about the other, they always make sure to take a swipe or two. Roy Nelson has said he and Dana are like “husband and wife” (Nelson is the husband). White called Nelson “the ultimate underachiever," and calls out his appearance and how it drives away sponsors.
Ugly, ugly relationship.