The 25 Lowest Low Blows in MMA History
It happens at least once or twice on every MMA fight card. An inside leg kick goes awry and catches an unsuspecting opponent in his sensitive area. The action stops, the fighter goes to one knee, lets the pain subside, collects himself and tells the ref he's ready to continue. The perpetrator offers an apologetic glove touch, and we're back in business.
This list is not about one of those times. These are the lowest low blows in MMA.
Low blows can take many forms. Sure, we all love our groin-shot highlights, but low here means more than just corporeal geography. It means underhanded. Shady. Dirty. Cheap. These aren't accidents or isolated incidents. They were undertaken with bad intentions, or at least a sustained disregard for rules and decorum.
There are many varieties of lowness represented here, including illegal attacks, blows before and after the bell and more. Oh, and there are also lots of groin shots. Please enjoy.
25. Kamal Shalorus Breaks Down Jamie Varner
Their 2010 fight at WEC 49 ended in a controversial draw, in part because of the point deducted from Shalorus for hard groin kicks that led to extended breaks in the action.
24. Paul Kelly Cheap Shots Donald Cerrone
In MMA, one of the dirtiest moves is punching (or kicking, and we'll get to that) your opponent during the touch of gloves, which is the fight game's signature display of sportsmanship.
Paul Kelly provides a decent example here, though it might have succeeded only in angering Donald Cerrone, who went on to get the submission win. Kelly later apologized for his underhandedness.
23. Hendo Crushes Unconscious Michael Bisping
There has been some debate over the cheapness of this cheap shot delivered at UFC 100, given that the ref hadn't stopped the fight, making the extracurricular blow perfectly legal.
But Henderson himself admitted after the fight that he knew he "hit him out" and did it to "shut [Bisping] up a little bit." Plenty of Bisping detractors laughed or cheered the move. But just because the guy is a jerk doesn't disqualify it from cheap shot consideration.
22. Jae Hyun So Sings Soprano at Sengoku
The blow from Hirokazu Nishimura at Sengoku Raiden Championship 14 may not have been entirely cheap or malicious, but it makes the list for its sheer ferocity. This is one of those ones that just hurts to watch.
21. Bisping Measures Rivera for Knee
The best part, and I use that term loosely, of this one is the sheer premeditation on Bisping's part. He lines up the illegal knee like he’s about to try a field goal.
Once Bisping scored the knockout (not long after this knee), he followed it up by spitting on various people in Rivera’s corner.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Michael Bisping needs a sports psychologist.
20. Manny Gamburyan and Jeff Cox
At UFC Fight Night 13, Gamburyan delivered a spinning back kick to an unsuspecting Cox just an instant before their glove touch.
Gamburyan later dedicated the kick to all the kids out there. So that was nice.
(Photo credit: Cage Today)
19. Rampage Decks Wandy After the Stoppage
Quinton Jackson and Wanderlei Silva had bad blood going back to the heyday of Pride, when Wandy defeated Rampage twice—once for the middleweight belt and once for the middleweight grand prix tournament title.
Rampage exacts a measure of revenge when he knocks out Wandy in their third match, then lands three unabated shots to Wandy's jaw after the referee halts the contest.
18. Tony Fryklund Seems to Dislike Donnie Chappell
After defeating Chappell by first-round choke-out at UFC 14, Fryklund dropped a late blow on him and then stepped on him while walking away. He then short-sheeted Chappell's bed that night and ran over his puppy the next morning.
Fyrklund disappointed scumbags everywhere by later apologizing.
17. Legionarius Nearly Loses Lunch
An inside leg kick from Ron Faircloth back at UFC 55 rendered Alessio Sakara unable to continue, resulting in a no-contest ruling.
It also resulted in a case of the dry heaves for Sakara. Now THAT is a hellish groin shot.
16. Frank Trigg Takes Advantage of Hughes
Multiple manifestations of the low blow are represented in this one.
After receiving a groin shot early in the first round, Hughes looks to referee Mario Yamasaki for a timeout. Unfortunately for Hughes, Yamasaki hadn't seen the blow and made no such intervention. What? Yamasaki can't be, you know, "refereeing" every single second.
In any case, Trigg sees an opportunity and pounds Hughes into the ground while the champion's guard is down. It looked like Twinkle Toes would pull out a submission win. That is until Hughes pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in UFC history.
15. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou Loses His Mind on Jan Nortje
Sokoudjou lands, by my count, six extracurricular punches after the ref has thrown himself on top of the defenseless Nortje. Extremely egregious here, as evidenced by the scuffle that ensued afterward between members of the two corners.
Why did Sokoudjou do it? Well, to be honest, Nortje looks like a mouth breather. And you know how annoying that can be.
14. Keith Hackney Tees off on Joe Son
You have to wonder about Hackney's thought process as he pulled this out of his black bag of tricks back at UFC 4.
"Hey! He's not actively guarding his genitals! And I can legally hit them! This is good. I'm going to pursue this."
I feel a little better about the whole thing because it turns out Random Task was actually a terrible person and a hardened criminal. So hey...maybe he knew why he was getting that sort of punishment, even if the rest of us didn't.
(Photo credit: Gracie Mag)
13. “Cup” Cheick Kongo
The award for oustanding lifetime achievement in the field of groin striking goes to Kongo, who has a well-documented body of work in this area.
12. The Fireball Kid Goes Ballistic
At Bushido 7 in 2005, Takanori Gomi caught Luiz Azeredo and knocked him out. But, for whatever reason, he continued to attack his unconscious opponent. He ultimately had to be restrained by venue security.
11. Cheap Shot Triple Play
Here's the sequence in a nutshell: Ricardo Almeida holds a choke on Nate Marquardt a few beats too long, which prompts Nate the Great to punch Almeida after the stoppage, which then prompts Almeida trainer Renzo Gracie to kick Marquardt in the face.
That triggered an ultrasonic whistle that summoned Gerard Gordeau to the ring for a series of face rakes. The face rakes were definitely the capper.
10. Yvel's Eye Gougue
Whenever you have "L—DQ (eye gouge)" on your record, you're in some pretty select company.
You can check out a .GIF of Gilbert Yvel's egregious eye gouge from Pride 16—and on Don Frye, no less—right here.
(Photo credit: Susumu)
9. Wes Sims Stomps on Frank Mir’s Head
Sims has a reputation as a cheap shot artist. But at UFC 43, he seemed to blow a fuse when he stomped repeatedly on Mir’s head in plain sight of anyone with eyesight. He earned a DQ loss in the process.
But don’t feel too bad for Mir. He absolutely crushed Sims, fair and square, in their rematch at UFC 46.
8. Babalu Holds the Choke on David Heath
Renato "Babalu” Sobral is a very angry young man. Best case in point: UFC 74.
Before their fight, David Heath called Babalu a bad name.
After their fight, Heath was lying unconscious in a pool of his own blood.
Realizing that he had, in the heat of the moment, held the anaconda choke long after Heath tapped, Sobral immediately went into damage control mode, err, of sorts.
“He has to learn respect," Babalu reasoned. "He deserved that.”
A few days after the incident, Sobral was booted from the UFC.
7. Wandy Breaks Yvel’s Cup
Apparently, you could hear the cup-shattering shot throughout the arena.
What's the word I want here? Oh, now I've got it. AHHHHHHHH!!!!
Wanderlei Silva kicking you in the balls has to be like the seventh circle of Hell, right below the Prometheus rock and right above Rosie O'Donnell's new talk show.
6. Rousimar Palhares and Tomas Drwal
Palhares holds the heel hook for a loooong time after the stop, long after Drwal nearly goes hoarse from screaming, and the ref nearly strains muscles in an attempt to break the two apart.
Some time later, Drwal shared his thoughts on the moment:
“I think when someone taps and screams it means that he's done, that he concedes the win to the other guy and that the guy should stop the hold without fearing any misunderstandings with the ref.”
I’m no "Big" John McCarthy, but I think I must concur with that assessment.
For Palhares’ part, he protested the 90-day suspension, saying he was “just waiting for the ref to interrupt the match.” Yes, I can see how the ref pushing on you so hard that his neck tendons pop out may leave a little room for ambiguity. Way to be wishy-washy about it, ref.
(Postscript: thankfully, Drwal was not seriously injured.)
5. Gilbert Yvel's Bite Just as Bad, Possibly Worse Than Bark
The unlucky Evander Holyfield to Yvel’s Mike Tyson was Karimula Barkalaev, who on the bright side did pick up a DQ win after the ref saw what Yvel did.
(Photo credit: Cage Potato)
4. Semtex Sucker Punches Josh Koscheck
For a variety of reasons, Paul Daley got pretty frustrated during his fight with Kos. Unfortunately for Daley, and his UFC career, he wasn't able to actually take out those frustrations until after the fight.
3. The Heath Herring Kiss Punch
Check out the video. It's so stupid it's almost hypnotic.
Maybe not the worst on this list, but probably the most famous. In fact, if memory serves, this video went viral before anyone knew what going viral meant.
The best part is that Herring knocks The Kisser absolutely cold with what looks at a glance like an open-handed slap.
I never get tired of watching this.
2. A Comedy of Cheap Shots
The most egregious of the Glove Touch Cheap Shot subgenere.
Atilla Kubilay absolutely wrecks Richard Bowkett with a cheap shot at Cage Rage 13. But he does it before the fight starts.
One wouldn't think that sucker punch would provide much advantage. Then again, one also wouldn't think the ref would allow a fight to happen after this cheap shot.
But allow it he did, and Kubilay shockingly goes on to pound out Bowkett with so much intensity that the referee has to wrap an arm around his throat to pull him off.
1. Gilbert Yvel Ref Punch
With apologies to Cheick Kongo, I think we've found our Cheap Shot King. His name is Gilbert Yvel.
As with a few of the preceding examples, I am wondering what the fighter hoped to accomplish here.
That's a referee, Gilbert. At worst, he's a necessary arbiter of the fight. At best, he's your ally.
Was Yvel expecting a friend to slide under the ropes with a steel chair to help him finish off the opponent? Did Yvel find the referee offensive in some way? Is Yvel simply a crazy person?
I need answers here. Tell me why, Gilbert Yvel. Why?