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5 MMA Fighters Who Are Their Own Worst Enemies

Dustin FilloyFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2013

5 MMA Fighters Who Are Their Own Worst Enemies

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    At one point in his or her career, each fighter on this list rashly squandered an opportunity to climb the proverbial ladder in the UFC.

    Unlike the UFC's nine champs, each of whom exercised discipline and extraordinarily cerebral behavior to earn his or her belt, these fighters have chosen to play by their own set of radical rules.

    But rebelling against the system hasn't paid dividends for these underachieving mixed martial artists. Truth be told, their behavior inside and outside of the Octagon has perpetually caused them unwanted turbulence and heartache.

    While some have similar talent and potential of champs like Georges St-Pierre, and others possess comparable guts and heart; these fighters don't have the self-control to maintain a champion's lifestyle.

    Here are the five fighters who are their own worst enemies.

Honorable Mentions

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    Melvin Guillard: He's missed weight, failed a drug test and got nabbed for greasing.

    Anthony Johnson: He's missed weight four times, including three times in the UFC.

    Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino: She tested positive for the banned substance stanozolol before teaming up with Tito Ortiz and rejecting a lucrative offer from the UFC to drop to 135 pounds.

5. Chris Leben

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    Getting arrested for multiple DUI's and failing two drug tests in the UFC could have landed Chris Leben higher on this countdown.

    However, Leben avoided plucking one of the top four slots on this list on account of his tremendous resilience. 

    After getting arrested for DUI and then testing positive for stanozolol less than six months later, Leben got choked unconscious by Jake Rosholt at UFC 102.

    But "The Crippler" didn't roll over, bouncing back to score three straight enthralling wins, including finishes of Aaron Simpson (TKO) and Yoshihiro Akiyama (triangle choke). 

    Leben again suffered negative consequences in Octagon following a DUI arrest, this time getting TKO'd by Brian Stann at UFC 125.

    "The Crippler" naturally recovered and KO'd Wanderlei Silva at UFC 132, only to get TKO'd in his next outing by Mark Munoz at UFC 138, a fight in which Leben tested positive for painkillers.

    As unpredictable as they come, expect Leben, who's currently on the first three-fight losing skid of his career, to bounce back again in his next bout at UFC 168—and then later repeat his self-destructive cycle.

4. Matthew Riddle

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    Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

    Matthew Riddle would have won his fourth straight fight in the UFC when he beat Che Mills in February. Instead the Pennsylvania native tested positive for marijuana for the second time in three fights, a miscue that led to his release from the company.

    Then after signing a deal with Bellator MMA, Riddle pulled out of a fight, retired temporarily, and then came out of retirement, only to pull out of another fight shortly thereafter.

    Bellator MMA apparently disapproved of Riddle's antics and cut him last month.

    A brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a former collegiate wrestler, Riddle obviously possesses the chops to hack it in the UFC. 

    However, Riddle refuses to adhere to certain rules, and even though some of these boundaries may seem trivial, the talented 27-year-old's essentially sabotaged his own career by refusing to conform.

3. Paul Daley

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    Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

    Like Chris Leben, Paul Daley has certainly partaken in enough self-destructive behavior to deserve the top spot on this list. 

    But also akin to Leben, Daley has maintained his freedom and sanity, and the 30-year-old Englishman miraculously still has a career in MMA.

    Daley's troubles began at UFC 108 when he showed up a pound over the welterweight limit for his bout with Dustin Hazelett. As a result, Hazelett took home 10 percent of Daley's purse.

    Roughly four months later, Daley lost a unanimous decision to Josh Koscheck at UFC 113. Following his frustrating setback, Daley sucker-punched Koscheck after the bell, an assault that fittingly and immediately resulted in his expulsion from the UFC.

    Daley, who's since been arrested for assault, has failed to make weight in six of his last 14 bouts.

    Bellator MMA released Daley in July on account of his ongoing personal issues.

    An extremely venomous and talented striker, Daley has burned so many bridges that he's relegated to fighting in the BAMMA promotion.

2. War Machine

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    Photo credit: Sherdog.com

    Undoubtedly the least talented and most troubled fighter on this list, War Machine, formerly known as Jon Koppenhaver, nabbed the No. 2 slot on this list because he's astonishingly still fighting professionally.

    Arrested on a slew of occasions, War Machine defeated former UFC standout Roger Huerta at UWF 1: Huerta vs. War Machine before being incarcerated for nine more months. 

    War Machine finished his first two opponents in Bellator MMA after his most recent stint behind bars. He then lost in the semifinals of the Bellator Season 9 Welterweight Tournament to Ron Keslar. 

    A two-fight UFC vet, War Machine lost in the first round of season six of The Ultimate Fighter to finalist Tommy Speer. 

    War Machine doesn't appear to have the sky-high potential that guys like Riddle and Daley have, but the 32-year-old fearless Californian will always remain his own worst enemy.

1. Nick Diaz

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    Nick Diaz has never tested positive for an anabolic steroid or missed weight in his 12-year pro career.

    But because of reasons difficult to specify, Diaz, a polarizing anti-hero who has practiced the art of self-destruction for years, has temporarily put his career on hold, despite being in his prime at 30 years old.

    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 ultimately got his dream bout when St-Pierre requested to fight him at UFC 158. After dropping a unanimous decision, however, Diaz again decided to announce his retirement. 

    In November, UFC president Dana White told MMAFighting.com's Guilherme Cruz that Diaz reiterated his retirement by turning down a fight against an unannounced foe. 

    Clearly born to fight, Diaz, undoubtedly the most gifted scrapper on this countdown, landed at No. 1 because of his decision to quit in the midst of his heyday.

    After all, if he wanted to retire, Diaz should have done it when he didn't have so many fans, so much leverage and so much to gain.

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