MMA: 25 Worst Moments in the Sport's History
Fight fans love us some good black eyes, but not like this.
Every sport suffers their low moments that they wish might not ever have happened, and MMA is no different.
Sure, we can try and pretend like they never happened, or we could do the noble thing and try and learn from them.
A black eye on the sport never looks good, but it can only add character over time.
Some moments are simply more embarrassing than anything else, while others are just downright nasty.
These are the worst 25 moments in MMA history.
25. Anderson Silva Gets Strange at UFC 112
Silva's performance was certainly bizarre, but that is cool with me.
It was not until the final two rounds that he actively started avoiding the fight. That sucked.
24. Seth Petruzelli Beats Kimbo Slice
Many hardcore fans rejoiced when Seth Petruzelli dethroned "Internet sensation" Kimbo Slice on national television.
The reason why it was a bad moment was that it nearly single-handedly brought down the Elite XC organization who was using Slice as their figurehead, and it was shamefully melodramatic when announcer Gus Johnson exclaimed it to be "the biggest upset in the history of MMA!"
Plus, those strikes to the back of the head were totally illegal.
23. Kevin Randleman TKOs Himself Backstage at UFC 24
While warming up backstage for his UFC heavyweight championship fight with Pedro Rizzo at UFC 24, Kevin Randleman slipped and suffered a concussion.
The injury forced the main event to be cancelled.
The two fighters met later at UFC 26.
22. Frank Shamrock Retires, Weirdly
Frank Shamrock is one of the greatest champions in MMA history for winning the UFC light heavyweight championship (then called middleweight) and defending it four times.
Each fight was finished by way of TKO/KO or submission, with the final fight being a classic over Tito Ortiz.
After the fight, Shamrock decided to retire, right smack in the middle of his prime.
Since then, he has had a tumultuous relationship with the UFC and Dana White and never returned to the organization.
21. Wes Sims Face Stomps Frank Mir
At UFC 43, heavyweight Wes Sims decided he would just completely ignore the rules in his bout with Frank Mir.
The fight ended when Sims grabbed the fence (illegal) and began delivering multiple head stomps to a grounded Mir (totally illegal).
Mir won by disqualification (idiocy).
20. Renzo Gracie Kicks Nate Marquardt in the Face
In 2003, Ricardo Almeida defeated Nate Marquardt by way of guillotine for the Pancrase middleweight championship.
After Marquardt tapped out and the referee intervened, Almeida decided to hold onto the choke for a good second or so.
Unappreciative of the extended choke, Marquardt gave Almeida some additional ground and pound.
Renzo Gracie, Almeida's cornerman, immediately entered the ring and delivered a soccer kick to Marquardt's face.
Thankfully the scuffle ended there, but it was certainly not a bright moment for three of MMA's most important stars.
19. Frank Mir's Motorcycle Accident: Championship Chaos
A few months after a young chiseled Frank Mir won the UFC heavyweight championship and was on top of the world, he got into a devastating motorcycle accident.
It was a close brush with death that would have been career-ending for many, as he tore all the ligaments in his knee and broke his femur in two places.
Mir was stripped of his title and struggled to return back to form.
Although he eventually did return to form, it was a dark time for Mir and the UFC heavyweight division.
18. Josh Barnett's Steroids Kills Affliction
Josh Barnett has failed steroids tests before, but this one was the worst.
Upstart fight promotion Affliction had been making a name for themselves putting on two exciting events and featuring the No. 1 fighter in the world, Fedor Emelianenko.
For their third event, they matched the No. 1 heavyweight in the world, Emelianenko, against the No. 2 ranked heavyweight in the world, Barnett.
Ten days before the event, Barnett tested positive for steroids.
With the main attraction scrapped, the whole event collapsed and never came to be.
Affliction would never recover as a promotion and never put on another event.
17. BJ Penn vs. Caol Uno Ends in Draw
BJ Penn and Caol Uno fought in a rematch in 2003 for the vacant UFC lightweight championship because champion Jens Pulver vacated the title the previous year.
The two warriors fought in a close back-and-forth battle for five rounds.
At the end, the judges ruled the fight a draw.
The championship would remain woefully vacant for more three more years before Sean Sherk finally claimed the title in 2006.
16. Gilbert Yvel KOs Referee
Look up any list of "bad boys" or "dirtiest fighters" and you will usually see Gilbert Yvel topping the ranks.
The "best" of the "worst," so to speak, was when he straight-up KOed a referee in 2004.
I later read that the referee was the trainer for Yvel's opponent and was refusing to let Yvel continually punch him in the face.
So basically, the ref kind of had it coming, but it was still not a good moment for the sport.
15. Renato Sobral Chokes out David Heath
Leading up to their clash at UFC 74, David Heath allegedly had some unsavory things to say about Renato Sobral's family.
Displeased with the remarks, Sobral decided to hold onto his fight-ending anaconda choke to send a message.
The UFC did not like the message and released Sobral, who has yet to fight again for the UFC.
14. Quinton Jackson Punches an Unconscious Wanderlei Silva
After dropping two fights to Wanderlei Silva in Japan, Quinton Jackson got his revenge at UFC 92 by knocking Silva out cold with a single punch.
He followed up the punch with three more punches to his unconscious victim.
The first punch on the ground was a completely understandable follow up, but the next two, with the referee desperately trying to move the stronger man, were clearly over the line.
Silva later said he had no hard feelings regarding the additional punches, but still, it was pretty messed up.
13. Ray Mercer KOs Tim Sylvia in 9 Seconds
It is OK if you do not like Tim Sylvia, not a ton of people do, but you have to respect the fact that he is one of the most accomplished heavyweights in MMA history.
After suffering his deflating loss to Fedor Emelianenko, Sylvia decided to try a boxing match with former champ and over the hill Ray Mercer.
The fight was then changed to an MMA bout.
Easy win for Big Tim, right? Wrong.
Mercer knocked a chubby Sylvia out cold in nine seconds flat.
Thanks Tim, way to embarrass all of MMA.
12. Miriagliotta Stops Thompson vs. Kimbo (representative)
Referee Dan Miragliotta has made a ton of bad calls and witless moves.
It usually seems like he is not even paying attention in the cage.
The worst was when he called a stoppage to the James Thompson vs. Kimbo Slice fight on national television after Thompson took a couple of punches, but was on his way to pulling off the upset.
Thompson clearly still had his wits about him (more so than Dan), and Dan looked like a puppet trying to protect Kimbo Slice.
Some Miragliotta highlights.
11. Brock Lesnar Reacts After UFC 100 Fight
10. UFC 5 Superfight: Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock
UFC 5 saw a much anticipated superfight in a rematch between Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock.
Although he did some damage with strikes and headbutts, Ken Shamrock decided to just camp out in Gracie's guard for as long as he could.
Neither man advanced position or gained an upper hand.
After 36 minutes of unbearable nothingness, the officials just said "screw it, we'll call it a draw."
9. UFC 9 Superfight: Dan Severn vs. Ken Shamrock
This fight was so bad that many lists of "worst fights ever" do not even include it.
Either the researchers have gleefully forgotten about it all together, or when it comes time to review it, they just say "screw it."
What happened was: Ken Shamrock came in injured but decided to fight anyways.
Detroit also did not want to sanction the UFC at all, and forced the rules to stipulate no headbutts or closed strikes to the head.
With the modified rules, Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn basically circled each other for half an hour.
There is a great write-up about it on Shamrock's Wikipedia page under the heading "The Detroit Dance."
8. Mark Coleman After First Shogun Fight
In 2006, Mark Coleman landed a takedown on Mauricio Rua that broke Rua's arm as he fell.
The referee ended the fight, but Coleman kept snarling after Rua, nearly frothing at the mouth.
Both camps immediately swarmed the ring with Hammerhouse and Chute Boxe getting into a scuffle as the ring descended into chaos.
The scuffle was short lived and Coleman later apologized, but it was not a pretty site.
7. Michael Bisping's In-Ring Behavior Against Jorge Rivera
- make a series of hilarious videos poking fun at Bisping, but not crossing the line.
- Call Rivera a "F***in P***y
- Deliver a flagrant knee strike to a downed Rivera
- Spit at Rivera's cornermen
- Get in Rivera's face and dismiss any reconciliatory efforts
- Act generally self-righteous
Things Jorge Rivera did before his fight with Michael Bisping at UFC 127:
Things that Bisping did during weigh-ins and the night of the fight.
6. Nick Diaz and Joe Riggs Fight in Hospital After UFC 57
Nick Diaz lost to Joe Riggs at UFC 57, but was not happy with the outcome and still wanted a piece of Riggs... later that night.....at the hospital.
Riggs was pretty banged up and Diaz needed some routine work, so when Diaz saw Riggs at the hospital he engaged him with some words.
The words escalated into a scuffle....at the frickin' hospital!
5. Paul Daley Sucker Punches Josh Koscheck
Paul Daley's career was riding an all-time high as he entered a welterweight No. 1 contender bout with Josh Koscheck at UFC 113.
Koscheck smothered Daley for the whole three rounds, frustrating him and allegedly saying some nasty comments.
After the final bell rang, Daley decided to exact his revenge by delivering a shameful cheap/late shot/sucker punch.
The UFC immediately released Daley, and Dana White has said he will never be welcome back in the organization.
4. Hamill vs Bisping Decision (representative)
There have been a number of very controversial decisions, but this one takes the cake for a number of reasons.
Matt Hamill was claimed by many as the man who would have won The Ultimate Fighter 3 under proper circumstances, not Michael Bisping.
The fight was held in Bisping's home country of England with apparently home-field judges.
Even the pro-Bisping crowd booed the awful decision in Bisping's favor.
Poor unassuming Matt Hamill went into hostile territory and beat up Michael Bisping, only to leave with a loss.
3. Quinton Jackson Goes on a Rampage
By bad decisions, I mean he drank a bunch of energy drinks on an empty stomach and then he drove his monster truck down the wrong side of the road in crowded southern California, getting involved in multiple hit and runs.
I imagine it took a bunch of really good lawyers to help try make everyone forget about this one.
2. Strikeforce Nashville Brawl
Jake Shields had just defeated Dan Henderson at Strikeforce: Nashville, when Jason Miller entered the ring to offer up an unofficial challenge.
Shields' teammates did not take to kindly to the impromptu challenge and threw down with the middleweight right there on the spot on national television.
It was a true black eye for the sport, but do not expect anything like this to happen again now that Strikeforce was purchased by UFC parent company ZUFFA.
1. Tito Ortiz Does Commentating for Affliction
There is a lot of bad commentating out there in MMA. It is not an easy thing to do.
In reality, Tito Ortiz does a better job than most people out there would be able to do.
But still, he is our scapegoat.
My work here is done.
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