The 5 Unluckiest Fighters in MMA History
With so many moving parts in play, luck can have a huge role in the success or failure of a mixed martial arts fighter.
Think about all the things that have to line up. You have to avoid injuries. You need to link up with the right training camp. You need favorable opponents. You need a functional promotion. You need good management. You need to stay strong against distractions and diversions.
And this is to say nothing about the, you know, actual fight.
Here are five fighters who, for some combination of reasons, had pretty unlucky MMA careers. They are listed here in no particular order.
Now that he's finally joining the UFC, it appears his luck just might be turning.
However, this came only after the 30-year-old lost two of his prime years tied up in contract disputes with Bellator.
After Bjorn Rebney left as the Bellator honcho, in came Scott Coker and a fairly swift release. If only it had been that easy in 2012.
If it had, Alvarez might have a very different place in the conversation.
David Terrell's skill set was never in question. He made his bones as a successful trainer well before he had established himself as a competitor in his own right.
Nevertheless, Terrell only fought eight times in a seven-year career. Three times he spent a year on the shelf between fights, and he only once fought more than once in the same calendar year.
Perhaps the worst and strangest injury of them all was the persistent (and rather disgusting) ear and sinus infections that essentially ended his career in 2006. Those infections required not one but two surgeries to correct.
An excellent fighter and ambassador for the sport, Kenny Florian goes down as unlucky for probably being forever known as the best fighter never to hold a title.
That's right; he's the Dan Marino of the UFC.
Florian lost the first finale of The Ultimate Fighter to Diego Sanchez. That was just the beginning.
A year later, he was smothered by Sean Sherk in his bid to grab the vacant lightweight title.
In his next two title bouts, he had the misfortune of facing two of the greatest to ever lace up the gloves.
At UFC 101, Florian was dominated by a prime B.J. Penn and ended up losing via fourth-round submission. During a run at featherweight, Florian ran into a guy named Jose Aldo.
Unfortunate postscript to an otherwise successful fight career.
In his prime, Yves Edwards was the best lightweight in the UFC. Too bad there was no UFC lightweight title at the time—or that no one really watched the UFC during that period.
Now 37, Edwards is winless in his last four, but he's plugging along. He still can summon his old self, as evidenced by his knockout of Jeremy Stephens back in 2012, and the thug-jitsu master remains as popular as ever on social media.
Still, it's sad and unlucky that he isn't a bona fide star in his sport. Just born at not quite the right time.
People make fun of Keith Jardine and his herky-jerky fight style or whatever, but the fact is that he should have had a better UFC record than he did. The reason he doesn't is largely thanks to bad luck.
In 2006, he dropped a very bad decision to the then-wildly popular Stephan Bonnar.
In 2007, a referee was about to intervene on Jardine's behalf after he ate what looked to be an illegal Houston Alexander knee, but the ref decided against it. Jardine lost by knockout.
He was also barely edged in fights against Wanderlei Silva, Matt Hamill and Quinton Jackson, bouts that didn't necessarily contain anything illegal or unsavory (though you could make a case for a Wandy headbutt) but where the ball just didn't bounce his way when he needed it to.
I'm not saying Jardine was some kind of world-beater in disguise, but if you take away only the two clear cases where he was let down by the referees and judges, he would have had a seven-fight winning streak (topped by that decision over Chuck Liddell) going into his fight with Wanderlei Silva in 2008. Just saying.