10 Worst Freak Show Fights Ever in MMA History
There are bouts in mixed martial arts history that transcend expectations, prolific bouts that take on a life of their own.
Like the heavyweight showdown pitting PRIDE legends Mirko Cro Cop and Fedor Emelianenko opposite one another, challenging for the promotion's heavyweight title.
Than, you have a 7-foot-2 South Korean who suffers from gigantism stepping inside the ring against the aforementioned Russian. Wow.
Here are the 10 best examples of true "Freak Show" bouts that we have suffered the brunt to witness.
10. James Toney vs. Randy Couture
The legendary Randy Couture, a five time UFC champion, was pitted against a 0-0 mixed martial artist in James Toney, who to his credit was a formidable boxer with some serious skill, but absolutely ZERO business being inside the Octagon.
Toney's MMA vocabulary consisted of "death fighters" and "side check kicks"—claiming that his father was a movie-esque combatant. Wow.
Needless to say, Toney never took the sport seriously, as he was ankle picked in seconds against Couture, an Olympic level wrestler, who ended up submitting Toney inside of the first round.
9. Travis Fulton vs. Jeremy Bullock
Travis Fulton vs. Jeremy Bullock
In the early days of the sport, replacements for would-be injured opponents I'm sure were hard to come by.
But how in the hell was Jeremy Bullock, a scrawny 170-pounder with NO mixed martial arts background (besides an extensive Tae Kwan Do career) get pitted against Travis Fulton, "The Ironman" of MMA, who at the time had a billed record of 41-12-3. What Athletic Commission would allow this mismatch?
Rumor has it, the promoter—Monte Cox—of the Extreme Challenge series needed a guy to fight Fulton, who was forced to withdraw from a tournament that same night due to not making weight. Bullock had been bugging Cox to allow him to fight, to which finally Cox relented when the opportunity arose.
But there was a condition: Fulton could not throw any strikes at Bullock, only grapple.
Well, what ensued thereafter was Fulton big-boy'ing Bullock to the ground so fast that the man needed to be carried out on a stretcher.
8. Art Jimmerson vs. Royce Gracie
Granted the earlier days of the UFC weren't the prettiest, but how did a professional boxer think that he could prove successful by going glove-less on his power hand but keep a boxing glove on his jab hand?
But Royce did look spiffy in that Jiu-Jitsu gi, I must say.
The bout ended strangely, as the submission specialist managed to work Jimmerson to the ground. The boxer, with more than 50-professional fights under his belt, tapped out as soon as he was full-mounted by the Brazilian.
7. Daiju Takase vs. Emmanuel Yarborough
Where in the world is it socially acceptable to allow a 6-foot-8, 600-pound man to fight someone barely 6-feet tall and weighing no more than 180-pounds? Japan, of course.
Former Sumo Emmanuel Yarborough, 1-1 in his mixed martial arts career, took on Daiju Takase under the PRIDE banner in June 1998. Conventional wisdom would tell you that the big man won—wrong.
Takase was able to earn the tap out just three-minutes past the second-round, due to strikes.
6 .Zuluzinho vs. Fedor Emelianenko
PRIDE sure had a funny way of showing their fighters some respect.
Lauded as the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time, Fedor Emelianenko was the victim of several freak show bouts. One of his more notable feats was when the Russian (who is a pudgy 230-pounds standing at 6-foot at best) took on undefeated super-heavyweight Wagner Wartins, better known as "Zuluzinho".
The Brazilian weighed close to 400-pounds and stood 6-foot-8. It was a dangerous fight for the prolific Emelianenko to accept, but he passed his test with flying colors, dropping the behemoth in mere seconds of the bout, polishing off Zulu in just 26 seconds.
5. Bob Sapp vs. "Kid Muscle"
Only in Japan can a fighter do battle with an anime character in real life.
Well, it happened.
The goliath mixed martial artist, Bob Sapp, took on Kinniku Mantaro, better known as "Kid Muscle" at DREAM's Dynamite!!! 2008 show.
The freak-fest didn't last too long, as Sapp TKO'd Akihito Tanaka—the man behind the mask—inside of the first-round. Thanks, Bob.
4. Jose Canseco vs. Hong Man Choi
The troubled and estranged baseball great, Jose Canseco, entered mixed martial arts in May of 2009, and left just as quickly.
Canseco was one of the featured contestants in DREAM's inaugural "Super Hulk Tournament", which featured the likes of Gegard Mousasi, Sokoudjou and Ikuhisa Minowa—needless to say, he was WAY over his head.
Canseco was pitted against the aforementioned Hong Man Choi, with the Korean earning the tap due to strikes in just 77-seconds of action.
I hope the paycheck was worth it, Jose.
3. Royce Gracie vs. Akebono
Royce Gracie remains one of the most coveted fighters to ever enter the mixed martial arts game.
So naturally, the Brazilian fought one of the best Sumo wrestlers in history, taking on the famed Akebono in December of 2004 under the K-1 banner.
Akebono's 500 plus pounds of fury was no match for the 175 pound submission specialist, who earned the tap from an omaplata in a little over two minutes inside the ring.
2. Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Giant Silva
A former WWE star and professional basketball player, who parlayed as the stunt double for Sloth in "The Goonies", Paulo Cesar da Silva was clearly made for Japan.
The 7-foot-2 Brazilian was featured in a litany of bouts under the PRIDE banner, most notably against the Giant-Killer, Ikuhisa Minowa, who has defined his legend by beating much bigger opposition.
Minowaman stands at a not-so-humbling 5' 9" and weighed in that night at a little under 190 pounds, however the Japanese submission specialist managed to secure a dominant position on the towering Silva, reigning down knees to the head, prompting the stoppage in a little over two-minutes.
Silva enjoyed a successful 2-6 career as a mixed martial artist before hanging up the gloves in 2006.
1. Fedor Emelianenko vs. Hong Man Choi
The man looks like a damn baby compared to the ginormous Choi.
PRIDE made good use of Fedor Emelianenko in his last fight with the Japanse organization, pitting the Russian against the daunting South Korean.
The game plan was clear for the Russian: Wow. Why am I here? Better try to submit him FAST.
Emelianenko suffered some shots from Choi, who proved to be a man difficult to finish thanks to his large appendages and obvious strength and sheer overall size.
However, a bruised up Emelianenko finally managed to secure an armbar after several attempts, earning the stoppage in this awkward battle in a little less than two minutes.