Michael Bisping proved with his win over Jorge Rivera at UFC 127 that he has the ability to finish a fight. It's a shame that in order to do so, Bisping had to throw an illegal knee that changed the momentum of the fight—and possibly the outcome.
What I can't seem to get over is how Bisping proceeded to apologize for his crude antics following the bell, as he spit at one of Rivera's cornermen, presumably because of the talk leading up to the fight.
Now, I'm no professional judge of personal character, but I think it would be fair to say that spitting at someone else's cornerman would go up there with some of the all-time dirtiest shenanigans in MMA history.
Just to reflect on this, here's a list of MMA's top five dirtiest fighters in the history of the sport.
Koscheck is a highly-skilled fighter with as much athleticism and natural ability as any fighter in the sport of MMA. However, Koscheck also knows when to put on a good "show" for fans, and by the term show, I mean something out of World Wrestling Entertainment.
During his fight against Anthony "Rumble" Johnson, Koscheck faked receiving an knee/eye poke from Johnson. If you haven't seen the fight, you can view the phantom poke here courtesy of the Sherdog forums.
Koscheck proceeded to follow up his antics in his fight against Paul Daley (who I'll get to in just a minute). In another banner performance, Koscheck played possum to one of Daley's knees (which was illegal had it landed anyways), which completely missed Koscheck and barely skimmed the golden curly locks on his head. Watch out Criss Angel, you ain't got nothin' on Josh Koscheck.
To set things straight, Koscheck is not known primarily as one of the dirty fighters in the sport and has a reputation of being a highly technical wrestler with top-notch skills. But the dude has an acting career ahead of him, should anything happen to his MMA career.
Perhaps the only thing worse than a sore loser is a dirty sore loser, which is what Paul Daley looked like to MMA fans after the third round of his UFC 113 fight with the aforementioned Josh Koscheck.
Though Daley had no previous history of poor sportsmanship prior to his bout with Koscheck, his one poor decision to cheap shot Koscheck shortly after the bell sounded signaling the end of the fight, was dubious enough to help him make this list of all-time dirtiest fighters.
After the fight, UFC president Dana White went on record saying that Daley would never again step foot in the octagon underneath the UFC banner. Daley has since gone on to win his last four fights following the loss and will continue to serve his lifetime ban from the UFC, forever being known for his temporary black-eye moment he's given to the sport of MMA.
Some people can admit when they do something wrong, and others cannot.
Take Cheick Kongo for example. The muscular heavyweight fighter not only believes that he is not a dirty fighter, but he is willing to deny it till the day he no longer can. Or maybe he has a split personality, because he's certainly not consistent with his quotes.
"I'm not a dirty fighter," said Kongo after his win over Paul Buentello at UFC Live 1: Vera vs. Jones. "I just try to be a good fighter, as does everyone. Sometimes people just want to put a bad name on my back."
Those must be the same people that were outraged by Kongo's not-so-subtle knees being driven into the much lower abdominal regions of Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic and Mustafa Al-Turk at UFC 75 and UFC 92 respectively. Of that knee to Cro Cop, Kongo's split personality comes into high gear, as he admits to hitting Cro Cop intentionally on the second knee in the fight. Click here to catch this all important moment.
Whether Kongo actually sees himself as a dirty fighter or not is not the point. The fact that, he is a dirty fighter, is self-evident by his continuous acts of transgression against unsuspecting foes. When all the rules go out the window, then MMA is again reduced to common street fighting, and that was so 1990s.
No doubt about it, Mike Kyle is a dirty fighter.
Kyle has, on numerous occasions, battered his opponents illegally. He was suspended for his unforgiving DQ against Brian Olsen in 2006, immediately following a fight with Krzysztof Soszynski that ended in a draw because of a Kyle's thumb to the eye.
Following the Olsen fight, Kyle served an 18-month suspension and has since come back to win nine out of his last 12 fights. He again was amid controversy in his 2010 fight with Travis Wiuff, where he looked to unintentionally punch Wiuff after the bell, which can be seen here.
Recently, Kyle lost to Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva via TKO at Strikeforce: Henderson vs Babalu 2 event in December, and in the wake of his loss, is still considered by many to be in the light heavyweight title picture with Strikeforce.
These blemishes, however, will never be removed from Kyle's career, and as high as the sky may be for Kyle, to paraphrase Dr. Seuss, "You're a mean one, mister Kyle!"
Though many can claim to be the dirtiest fighter in MMA, only one man truly holds that dishonorable distinction, and that my friends, belongs to king Gilbert Yvel.
Yvel has been involved in three official disqualifications, which have been due to truly despicable acts like knocking out a referee, eye gouging and biting opponents.
In what was an epic match for all the wrong reasons, Yvel was a one-man poking machine against MMA legend Don Frye. Frye's eyes were more red than Kris Kringle's cheeks on a frosty Christmas Eve at the North Pole. The fight was ruled a DQ because of Yvel's use of holding the ropes in the ring, but fans that remember the fight knew Yvel's behavior in the ring was inappropriate and lewd.
In his fight against not-so-innocent Karimula Barkalaev, Yvel took it upon himself to chomp on Barkalaev's ear, a la Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield, which began his tarnished career as being known for dirty fighting.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission once banned Yvel from fighting in Nevada against Sergei Kharitonov, due to Yvel's poor history of conduct, and he's widely known as the consensus dirtiest fighter ever.
It's important to remember that all of the fighters mentioned are high-quality fighters, some more than others, and they have dangerous skills that can be life-threatening to others. But they are also human, which means they are susceptible to mistakes, and sometimes mistakes can't be corrected.
Michael Bisping and these other five fighters may be the most genuinely good people you'll ever meet. But they are MMA's dirtiest fighters today.