MMA: The 20 Goofiest Fighters Ever
Why do combat sports attract so many goofy characters? Is it the affinity for violence? The one-man-showness of it all? Its appeal to the, uh, big-and-tall set? The fact that you probably have to be a little crazy to risk getting your nose broken in front of thousands of people?
I don’t know what it is. But it has always felt, to some extent, like a magnet for the eccentric, the awkward, the gawky and the goofy. Here’s a list of the 20 goofiest fighters—in appearance, personality or both—to ever grace the cage.
For the record, many of these fighters are very good at what they do. You can be as goofy as you want and still command respect when it's time to go to work. So while this may contain a good bit of razzing, it’s all meant in fun, especially when you consider that the goofy persona is often self-perpetuated.
Thanks for reading.
20. Phil Baroni
With not one but two nicknames (“The New York Badass” and “The Best Eva”), the ripped jeans, the ripped physique and the ever-present shades, the Long Island native always came across like a guy who took a wrong turn on the way to the pro wrestling ring.
And I’m not even going to mention the vest.
19. Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres
The perma-grinning Leroy charmed some and irritated others during his stint on The Ultimate Fighter.
But I gotta admit, I dug the kung fun ensemble.
18. Clay Guida
Hair flying, sweat pouring, fists swinging, pop-punk blaring. Does it get any goofier than a Clay Guida fight?
The high-energy lightweight also regularly attends Big Lebowski festivals and lives in an RV. No word on whether the RV is located down by the river.
17. Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett
Remember Bumfights? I never had the pleasure of viewing one of their fine videos myself, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn Krazy Horse was the breakout star of that little venture before moving on to more professional, less homeless-person-oriented promotions.
16. Kimo Leopoldo
A devout Christian in the same way Donald Trump is a devout capitalist, in the early days Kimo once carried a cross to the ring on his back.
Observers later noted that this really helped the UFC gain acceptance in the mainstream, where cross carrying is common and very relatable.
15. Eric “Butterbean” Esch
Known more generally as a boxer, Butterbean also posted a downright decent 17-8-1 MMA record. Can you believe he beat James Thompson?
Not only that, but at age 44 he’s still going at it; he last fought in May. I can’t say I’ve ever seen one of his fights live, but here’s guessing he has stellar takedown defense.
14. Wesley "Cabbage" Correira
He kinda looks like the sketchy, if lethargic, patron at the other end of the bar. In MMA, he's known for having a very large, very hard head that he likes to paint lots of different colors.
Plus, his nickname is Cabbage.
13. Emmanuel Yarborough
How do you even get to weigh 800 pounds? It’s a strict diet of swallowing whatever can’t get out of your way. Keith Hackney was very lucky.
Yarbrough is a sumo wrestler and football player, in addition to having a 1-2 MMA career. His only MMA win is listed as a submission by smother. Sounds about right.
And now I just need to know what that guy in the blue shirt is thinking.
12. Tom Lawlor
Given that he doubles as one of the most entertaining fighters in the UFC today, I’d say this one is largely self-perpetuated.
But when you dress up like Dan Severn at weigh-ins and walk out to Hulk Hogan’s theme song, you’re kind of opening yourself up to this one.
11. Seth Petruzelli
Speaking of opening yourself up to things.
After his surprise beatdown of Kimbo Slice, Petruzelli capitalized on his moment in the sun by sporting candy-striped hair, popping up on the Web in all sorts of crazy postures and crawling to the ring on all fours alongside Lawlor as "Who Let The Dogs Out" blared in the background.
Hey, I'm not judging—unless "goofy" is one of the verdict options.
10. Lyoto Machida
Machida: Hello. I drink my own urine.
Me: Welcome to the list.
9. Rocky Batastini
I always try to find one lesser-known guy for every list.
Batastini is the proud owner of an 8-22 MMA record. Smoooth.
8. Roy Nelson
It’s more than just the weight. Though yes, that’s part of it.
But it’s also the mullet, the postfight interviews in which he ruminates over his next drive-thru order, the entrance song (Weird Al Yankovic’s “Fat”) and just the fact that he’s generally, you know, goofy.
7. Akihiro Gono
When you come to a professional fight wearing a sequined dress, you make it on to this list.
6. Keith Jardine
I heard he makes a great villain in the new Smurfs movie.
5. Dave "Pee Wee" Herman
The winner for goofiest nickname also says and does pretty goofy things on a regular basis, such as smiling vaguely during actual fighting action like some inmate who was left in solitary too long. Just a strange, goofy guy.
4. Tim Sylvia
The total package.
Tall and gawky, spare tire around the midsection, moves and fights awkwardly, outsized-to-the-point-of-comedy braggadocio, sports a mohawk and designer facial hair. Stop me when you’ve read enough.
3. Brian Ebersole
Goofy in that loose-cannon, he-might-do-something-dangerous kind of way.
But he made his UFC debut with a bang to be sure, unleashing two cartwheel kicks and this little gem of a chest hair grooming trend. Apparently it's a running thing with him. Fingers crossed that one of his creations catches on.
2. Hong Man Choi
Watching the 7'2" giant lumber around the ring, and dwarfing the pretty darn large men that are his opponents is about as goofy as it gets.
But he loses the top spot for bringing some relatively solid and smooth-for-a-guy-that-size technique into the cage with him.
I do wonder about the blue hair in this one, though. He must have done it to attract attention.
1. Paulo Cesar "Giant" Silva
Hello, pretty lady!
The 7'2", 400-pound Silva went 2-6 in his MMA career, with both victories coming by way of kimura. I'm no Rickson Gracie, but my guess is that would cause discomfort.
Pay your respects to the king.