Wildest Conspiracy Theories in MMA History
It seems like shocking events in the realm of MMA always bring conspiracy theorists out of the woodwork.
Dana White may not subscribe to the notion that any of these cover-ups carry any weight, but then again, the UFC president has plenty of incentive to try and protect the morality of the sport.
Whether truth or fiction, outlandish conspiracy theories have always existed in the sport. Some get utterly shrugged off while others become bona fide urban legends.
Here are the five wildest conspiracy theories in MMA history.
Honorable Mention: T.J. Grant Fakes Concussion to Make Way for Anthony Pettis
After seemingly getting granted a long-awaited UFC lightweight title shot, T.J. Grant suffered a concussion and had to pull out of his scheduled bout with Benson Henderson at UFC 164.
The injury not only stripped Grant of the most significant opportunity of his career, it also temporarily robbed him of his honor.
In the days succeeding his concussion, conspiracy theorists accused Grant of falsifying an injury in order to allow Anthony Pettis to step in and take his long-awaited rematch with "Bendo."
Grant cleared the mess up via Twitter by saying:
5. Luke Rockhold Gets Accused of Fixing His UFC on FX 8 Fight
Evidently, a select group of MMA fans didn't believe that 36-year-old former UFC champ Vitor Belfort could pull off the spinning heel kick that KO'd 28-year-old Luke Rockhold at UFC on FX 8 without some help.
Shortly after the stunning KO, conspiracy theorists began spreading the rumor that Belfort knew precisely when to unleash the vicious finishing maneuver because of a subtle nod from Rockhold in the seconds leading up to the kick.
Rockhold took to Twitter to defend his integrity and to clear up any doubts about Belfort's highlight-reel knockout.
"Hearing some talk about my fight with Belfort being a fix. No amount of money would make me even consider taking a fall. I got caught I lost."
B.J. Penn attempted just one takedown in his momentous loss to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 94. Afterward, the former two-division champ said GSP's Vaseline-covered body prevented him from enacting any offensive grappling.
Plenty of spectators witnessed one of St-Pierre's coaches, Phil Nurse, rubbing the welterweight champ's chest and back with Vaseline during the fight.
However, when Penn filed a formal complaint with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, NSAC executive director Keith Kizer nixed the idea that St-Pierre or his coaching staff violated any rules.
Instead of demonizing St-Pierre and vindicating himself, "Greasegate" ultimately embarrassed Penn more than his performance at UFC 94 did.
3. Benson Henderson Signaled for Anthony Pettis to Throw the "Showtime Kick"
Anthony Pettis landed arguably the most creative and talked about strikes in MMA history when he flattened Benson Henderson with his "Showtime Kick" at WEC 53.
But did Pettis get tipped off from "Bendo," and was this renowned kick a hoax?
Just a few seconds before Pettis used his right leg to spring off the cage, leap through the air and round kick Henderson in the face, Bendo backed up and tapped his foot on some of the cage's padding.
Apparently, as the conspiracy goes, Henderson tapped his left foot, a move that can clearly be seen in the video above, in an effort to signal to Pettis to throw the kick.
Furthermore, conspiracy theorists believed that the UFC and the WEC, which were merging after WEC 53, each staged the kick in an effort to promote a potential golden goose in Pettis.
Pettis, however, all but debunked this theory by dropping his promotional debut to Clay Guida in a lackluster showing at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale.
2. Elite XC Officials Bribe Seth Petruzelli
Two days after Seth Petruzelli shocked Kevin Ferguson, better known as "Kimbo Slice," with a 14-second TKO at EliteXC: Heat, "The Silverback" did something even more stunning on an Orlando talk show.
Without being provoked, Petruzelli admitted that EliteXC officials offered him a heftier paycheck to stand and exchange with Slice rather than try and take the fight to the ground.
During a 2008 interview with MMAWeekly.com, EliteXC vice president Jared Shaw denied the accusation that Petruzelli was told that he'd receive a bigger purse if he stood and exchanged with Slice.
Absolutely not (when asked if the allegations were true). Whether that was something Seth was taken out of context or Seth was trying to say something different, I don’t know. What I can tell you, I was in the locker room with Seth with the contract; that did not happen. Why in a million years would we ask Seth to not take Kimbo down? That’s crazy. That’s all Kimbo’s been working on is the ground game. Ken Shamrock, 84 percent of his wins are submission and through the ground, so Kimbo was ready for the ground. If anybody knows Seth Petruzelli, he’s a K-1 fighter, I wouldn’t want him standing. So to say 'Don’t take him down,' that’s ridiculous.
Shortly after Shaw's statement, and during an interview with Fiveouncesofpain.com's Sam Caplan, Petruzelli backtracked on his original comments. The Silverback reinforced the vice president's stance by saying he went for the knockout solely based on his desire to snag a post-fight bonus.
Yeah, it’s pretty ridiculous. It’s always going to be crazy a** people after every fight, especially at this level, people are going to say all sorts of crazy stuff. But no, it’s been blown way out of proportion. I just wanted a knockout bonus and that’s pretty much it.
1. Anderson Silva Took a Dive Against Underdog Chris Weidman at UFC 162
Longtime middleweight linchpin Anderson Silva attempted to execute the same game plan that helped him best 16 straight opponents in his fight with Chris Weidman at UFC 162.
Unfortunately for "The Spider," Weidman all but ignored his distracting antics and stayed focused on finishing the fight—a feat he pulled off with a stunning knockout in the second round.
Essentially dumbfounded by the loss, fans and members of the media immediately began stirring up rumors that Silva took a dive for a gargantuan payday.
But UFC president Dana White cleared up the allegations during the post-fight press conference for UFC 162 by saying:
It happened so fast, and some of you said it, and I was thinking the same thing. 'What just happened? Was he goofing around? Is he still goofing around when he's down, and he's getting ready to pull guard?' Then they show that replay, and you just see him get clipped, and his eyes just roll back in his head. Yeah, the fix is in, you f***ing idiots.