10 MMA Fighters Who Need To Go Away
Sometimes fighters just don't know when to call it quits.
Whether it be stepping away from fighting, the microphone, or the media limelight, there comes a time when fighters need to realize that their time is up.
More often than not, it takes one brain-rattling knockout too many for a fighter to realize their best times are behind them. For others, they may have stuck their foot in their mouth, down their throat, and lost a shoe in their lower intestine before they see that they need to shut their mouth.
Whatever the case may be, these 10 guys might want to consider backing away from the limelight.
Notable Mention—Gus Johnson
Did anyone else notice the enormous stack of notes Gus Johnson had in his hand during the Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva telecast?
While Gus does an excellent job doing NFL play-by-play for CBS, it seems he knows as much about MMA as I know about Boolean algebra.
The only logical reason I can come up with Strikeforce's reasoning for hiring Johnson to call MMA is Bill "Superfoot" Wallace must have had a previous engagement.
Remember, it is Strikeforce we're talking about here.
10. Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic
Ouch. Seeing Cro Cop's right leg rolled up like that still makes the stomach do flip-flops.
Like many of the Pride stars who made the move to the UFC, Cro Cop looks great against lower-tier competition, but falls short against legit contenders and Chiek Kongo.
In his last outing at UFC 119, Cro Cop had a 14-minute glorified sparring session before Frank Mir finally kneed him in the grill.
Over the past few years, Mirko seems to have lost that passion for fighting on display when he won the Pride Heavyweight Grand Prix back in 2006. If he can't find it again, it may be time for Cro Cop to focus on his political career and leave fighting in the rear view mirror.
Adored by Japanese fans for his samurai spirit and hailed in the States as the "King of the Freakshow Fight," Minowaman has entertained us all over his 80-plus fight career.
However, his reign may have pinnacled when he became the DREAM "Super Hulk" champion; he has been on a downhill slide ever since.
Most recently, DREAM brought in the only MMA fighter still rocking the Speedo and mullet as an opponent for rising Japanese stars Satoshi Ishii and Hiroshi Izumi. Minowaman looked—to put it nicely—less than impressive. He fought as opponent would: like he was fighting for a paycheck and not a victory.
Outside of the ring, Minowaman, is also a very popular professional wrestler. After entertaining MMA for nearly 15 years, maybe he would be best served collecting his paychecks from professional wrestling.
Something else Minowaman should keep in mind—there is no guarantee that he'll get paid if he keeps fighting for DREAM.
8. Kazushi Sakuraba
For years, Sakuraba has been the single most polarizing figure in all of Japanese MMA.
But as Sakuraba gets older, he looks more mummified every time he walks to the ring. All the years of MMA and professional wrestling have clearly taken a huge toll on his body...and his ears.
He hasn't won a meaningful match since he beat Antonio Schembri back in 2004, and he has been losing rather easily against mid-tier competition lately. Maybe the day has come where Sakuraba should put his focus on training the next generation of Japanese talent.
7. Jens Pulver
Without a doubt, the highlight of Pulver's career was when "Lil Evil" defeated Caol Uno to become first ever UFC lightweight champion.
Sadly, not many will remember that. Most will remember his dreadful fall from grace.
After leaving the UFC as the reigning lightweight champion in 2002 over a contract dispute, the 12-2-1 Pulver has gone 10-13, including a six fight losing streak between 2008-2010.
Whoever is looking after Jens needs to start looking out for his best interest. Jens is a class act and one of the nicest people you'll ever meet, but his days as a fighter have passed him by.
6. Andrei Arlovski
Once upon a time, Andrei started his career 4-3, with all three losses coming by way of knockout.
Then one day, Andrei realized that he couldn't leave his chin hanging in the air. He then went on to defeat Tim Sylvia to become the UFC heavyweight champion.
His reign at the top lasted two fights. In his third defense of the title, Sylvia was able to regain his title by knocking out Arlovski.
After losing by decision in a rematch against Sylvia, Arlovski rattled off five straight wins, recording four of those victories by knockout. Things were looking very good for the Belorussian.
Then Andrei got the chance to become the king of the heavyweight division when he was given the opportunity to fight Fedor Emelianenko. When that fight finally happened, Arlovski was on the wrong end of a highlight reel knockout.
Things continued to get worse for Arlovski. Six months later, he was knocked out by Brett Rogers. In his next fight nearly a year later, he managed to stay awake for 15 minutes and dropped a decision to Antonio Silva.
Just a week ago, he was again knocked out cold in less than a round by Sergei Kharitonov. Since that loss, Arlovski has stated that he wants to fight again as soon as possible, and his new trainer Greg Jackson has stated that Andrei does not have a glass jaw.
After suffering so many brutal knockout losses, only the future and athletic commission will tell if Arlovski fights on.
5. Fedor Emelianenko
Somewhere, I know Joe Schafer is seeing this and plotting my downfall. But don't put a hit out on me yet, Joe.
Long before the casual fan had any clue who Fedor was, he was in Japan tearing up everyone placed in front of him. At one point, the former pound-for-pound king tore through 27 straight opponents.
Since his much hyped arrival to America, Fedor has been criticized for the quality of opposition he faced.
Was it all his fault? No, but he does have a financial stake in M-1 Global, the promotional company who handles his management.
In his last two fights, Fedor has not looked like Fedor. He made a mistake against Werdum that he wouldn't have made a few years ago. Against Antonio Silva last Saturday night, he lacked his previous discipline in sticking to his game plan.
After his loss against Silva, Fedor hinted at retirement. He has since retracted, but not after M-1 and Strikeforce insisted that we have not seen the last of him.
Let's hope Fedor doesn't listen to everyone around him. Let's hope he listen to what he and his faith believe is best for him moving forward.
4. Chael Sonnen
Chael Sonnen is the second best middleweight in the UFC.
When he got his shot against Anderson Silva, he had all the Silva fanboys (and fangirls) on pins and needles for four and a half rounds before Silva was able to lock in the triangle choke/armbar that caused Sonnen to tap.
Sonnen was the first fighter in years to even come close to defeating Silva, a huge accomplishment in its own right.
But seriously, when is this guy going to learn when it's time to shut up?
At his best, Sonnen is downright hilarious. At his worse, he takes cheap shots at Lance Armstrong, the late Evan Tanner, or denies everything and blames a Mexican.
In the latest edition of Chael being Chael, he said something along the lines that Anderson Silva exposed himself in his victory over Vitor Belfort and he now has the key to defeat the Spider when—or if—he gets a rematch.
Really Chael? Front kicking a guy in the face and knocking him out cold exposes ones self?
You may be the second best middleweight in the UFC, but you may also be the most insane person in the UFC.
You don't need to go away from the fight game, but maybe you should take a step away from the microphone.
3. Matt Lindland
When you saw the name, what's the first image you thought of? Was it Lindland wearing his Olympic silver medal?
I'd be willing to bet that an image of Lindland laid out cold was the first image that came to most of your minds, and that's what's scary.
Along with Andrei Arlovski, Matt has been on the wrong end of some of the most vicious knockouts in the history of MMA. The worst part: the most memorable knockout came from his own failed suplex attempt against Niko Vitale.
His four knockout defeats wouldn't be so bad if the aftermath wasn't so scary. Every time I've seen Matt knocked out, it looked like he wouldn't wake back up.
I don't think I'm alone in sharing that thought. If fans fear for the safety of a fighter, commissions should take a second look when it comes to issuing Lindland a license to fight.
2. Ken Shamrock
"I am gonna beat you in to a living death!"
No Ken, you're the one who is getting beat to a "living death."
Most MMA fans are so young that they don't ever remember a time that Ken Shamrock was a threat to anyone not named Jonathan Ivey.
Let's play a little game here. I'm going to give you some hints, and you try to guess when Ken beat someone of consequence.
Number one song—"Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio
Number one movie—Batman Forever
Number one book—"The Rainmaker" by John Grisham
Time Magazine Person of the Year—Newt Gingrich
Playboy Playmate of the Year—Julie Lynn Cialini
If you guessed 1995, you are correct! That is when Shamrock defeated Dan Severn for the UFC superfight title, or something like that. Since then, he's been a glorified sparring partner with a big name that commands big checks.
So why does he continue to fight if he can't beat up a random kid from a Head Start classroom? The answer is simple—to make Robert Gardner angry.
But in all seriousness, it's time to go, Ken. Head toward the light...
1. Tito Ortiz
For a very long time, the Huntington Beach Bad Boy was the face of the UFC when very few knew there was a UFC. He was a young, brash, talented fighter who appealed to the "Just Bleed" fan of the era.
After getting beat down by Frank Shamrock at UFC 22 for the middleweight title, Shamrock retired from the sport and gave up his belt. Ortiz went on to win the vacant title at UFC 25 when he defeated Wanderlei Silva by decision.
He defended the belt five times against fighters who really didn't deserve a shot at it while his "friend" and bodyguard Chuck Liddell took out all the fighters who deserved a chance at Ortiz.
Then at UFC 44, Ortiz defended his title against interim title holder Randy Couture. That night, Couture made Ortiz his, well, you know.
Since that defeat, Ortiz has been hellbent on getting "his" belt back. How'd that go? Well, here is a time line of Tito's career since he dropped the UFC light heavyweight championship to Randy Couture in 2003.
Ortiz circa 2004—"This is the year I'm getting my belt back!"
Result—Tito went 1-1. He was knocked out by Chuck Liddell and defeated last minute replacement Patrick Cote by decision
Ortiz circa 2005—"This is the year I'm getting my belt back!"
Result—Tito went 1-0, defeating Vitor Belfort by decision
Ortiz circa 2006—"This is the year I'm getting my belt back!"
Result—Tito went 3-1. He defeated Forrest Griffin by split decision, Ken Shamrock twice by TKO, and lost his chance to get his belt back when he was knocked out by Chuck Liddell again.
Ortiz circa 2007—"I just spent over $2 million buying Oscar de la Hoya's estate in Big Bear. This year I'm getting my belt back"
Result—Tito went 0-0-1 as he fought future light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans to a draw.
Ortiz circa 2008—"Screw you UFC! I'm going to beat up your golden boy Lyoto Machida and leave! Take that!"
Result—Tito went 0-1. He lost a lopsided decision to Lyoto Machida.
Ortiz circa 2009—"Sorry for the way I acted Dana. I'm back for good. This is the year I'm getting my belt back!"
Result—Tito went 0-1, losing a split decision to Forrest Griffin
Ortiz circa 2010—"Ok, I had the back surgery I've been putting off. This is the year I'm getting my belt back!"
Result—Tito went 0-1, losing to Matt Hamill.
Ortiz circa 2011—"This is it...this is the year I'm getting my belt back!!!"
Result—Not good so far. He just pulled out of his fight against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, due, according to Dana White's twitter, to stitches. I have a theory on where those stitches are located, but that will stay between myself and Mr. Oswald.
I wonder in the eight years since Ortiz lost "his" belt if he has realized he is never going to win it back? Has the fact that he has gone from headlining pay-per-views to co-main event to headlining Ultimate Fight Night cards have made Tito realize that maybe his act is getting old and people aren't buying in to it anymore?
Perhaps this latest in the laundry list of injuries that Ortiz has had over his career will be the final nail in the coffin. Let us all hope this is true so a fighter like Phil Davis, who actually has the potential to be a threat in the light heavyweight division, can get some of the spotlight that Ortiz loves to hog.