Comparing the UFC Heavyweight Championship and Madden Cover Curses

Jeffrey McKinneyContributor IIIDecember 1, 2011

Comparing the UFC Heavyweight Championship and Madden Cover Curses

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    Madden NFL Football is one of the most popular games in the history of gaming.

    Behind the game though is the well-known Madden Curse.

    Being on the cover of Madden usually means the player will get injured the following year.

    Winning the UFC heavyweight championship seems to have a similar curse.

    After winning the title, the champion usually gets injured for a significant amount of time.

    Let’s take a deeper look at these two horrible sports curses. 

The History Behind the Madden Curse

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    Prior to 1999, John Madden himself was featured on the cover of the game.

    Since then, one of the league’s top players have been featured on the cover of the popular game.

    Garrison Hearst was the first player to be featured on the cover. He would go on to suffer a gruesome ankle injury that kept him out of the league for two years.

    Hall of Famer Barry Sanders was to be featured on the 2000 edition of Madden, but he suddenly retired from the NFL one week before training camp.

    Each player that has been featured on the cover since has either been injured, has not performed the same since being on the cover, or has not had the same production the following year. 

UFC Heavyweight Champ Curse Part 1: Past History

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    The UFC Heavyweight title has been one of the most passed around and cursed championships in all of sports.

    While some believe the curse starts with Brock Lesnar defeating Randy Couture at UFC 91, let’s take a look at the title’s history prior to that.

    Couture’s first title reign was cut short as he was stripped of the title due to a contract dispute.

    Since then, two fighters were stripped of the title after testing positive for banned substances (Tim Sylvia and Josh Barnett), one was forced to retire (Bas Rutten), one was forced to relinquish the title after getting into a motorcycle accident (Frank Mir), and one former champion was unable to make his originally scheduled first title defense after slipping on concrete and knocking himself out (Kevin Randleman). 

UFC Heavyweight Champ Curse Part 2: Modern History

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    Since Randy Couture lost to Brock Lesnar at UFC 91, every man who has held both the UFC Heavyweight title and the interim title has had significant injuries either after winning the title or right after losing it.

    Brock Lesnar has had two bouts of diverticulitis since winning the UFC title.

    Cain Velasquez suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out for over a year after defeating Lesnar.

    And most recently, Junior dos Santos revealed that he suffered a torn meniscus in his knee prior to fighting Cain Velasquez. 

Which Is Worse?

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    It’s hard to really say which curse is worse.

    Although both are bad, there have been some bright sides to both.

    Both Larry Fitzgerald and Drew Brees both played all 16 games following their Madden cover appearances.

    Also Michael Vick, who suffered a broken leg following his cover appearance, went from being one of the most hated men in football, to having a strong comeback with the Philadelphia Eagles. At least last year worked out for him.

    Brock Lesnar made a successful return to the UFC following his first bout with diverticulitis, defeating Shane Carwin at UFC 116.

    Also, Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira have made successful returns after long layoffs. 

UFC Cursed in 2011 Altogether?

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    Although MMA has made great strides this year to reach more international and mainstream audiences, it has also been a cursed year for the sport.

    Many high-profile UFC fights had to be postponed or changed thanks to fighters getting injured.

    Also, each man who has held a UFC title this year has had to deal with injuries, which for many have cause their title fights to be put on hold. 


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    Football and Mixed Martial Arts are two of the most grueling sports in the world today. 

    Fighters and football players get hurt easily and usually aren't even 100 percent when they go out and perform. 

    Although there could be curses that come with being on the cover of Madden and being UFC heavyweight champ, at the end of the day it could also just be a part of the game. 

    Do you think these two curses exist? Think one is worse than the other? Share your thoughts!