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The 15 Biggest Fails in MMA History

Matt SaccaroContributor IIIJanuary 15, 2017

The 15 Biggest Fails in MMA History

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    There's no room for failure in MMA—and I'm not just talking about inside the cage.

    In the short history of mixed martial arts there have been failures so epic that they have instantly garnered eternal infamy and are recalled on forums across cyberspace and around water coolers in offices across the U.S.

    So what fails in MMA are truly the biggest, so big that they are the stuff of legend? Read and find out!

Bill Wallace Belches in the First Minute of the First UFC Broadcast

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    Type of fail: Etiquette fail

    Date: November 12th, 1993

    The story: Maybe full-contact karate star Bill Wallace was so excited to be commentating the first UFC that he couldn't contain it, and he expressed it in the form of a belch. Or maybe he just had no business being there.

    Either way, when you burp on-air on a promotion's first show within the first 30 seconds, it's a pretty big fail (not to mention that Wallace messed up the name of the company he was working for, calling it the "Ultimate Fighting Challenge").

Art Jimmerson Wears One Glove

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    Type of fail: Wardrobe fail.

    Date: November 12th, 1993

    The story: This one is a cliché (as some of the moments on the list are, to a degree) but it's a cliché for a reason: It really was that bad.

    Boxer Art Jimmerson wore one boxing glove at UFC 1 against Royce Gracie and was made a fool of (although even if he wore two gloves or none he'd still have gotten beat).

    To this day, Jimmerson is remembered as a joke despite the fact that he now trains in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and teaches at a UFC gym.

Fred Ettish Attempts to Give Traditional Martial Arts a Good Name

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    Type of fail: Bullshido fail.

    Date: March 11th, 1994.

    The story: A traditional karate guy who was way out of his league fought a decent kickboxer and was humiliated so badly that it immediately became one of the worst beatdowns in the sport's history.

Kevin Randleman Knocks Himself out

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    Type of fail: Walking fail.

    Date: March 10th, 2000.

    The story: Kevin Randleman slipped backstage and knocked himself out at UFC 24. He was set to headline the card against Pedro Rizzo. The fight obviously couldn't take place, and fans were left with the matchup of Tedd Williams vs. Steve Judson...hooray.

Ken Shamrock's Zombie Apocalypse

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    Type of fail: Trash-talking fail.

    Date: 2002.

    The story: Watch the video and see one of the lamest and most infamous trash-talking moments in MMA history.

The IFL

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    Type of fail: Concept fail.

    Date: January 7th, 2006-July 31st, 2008.

    The story: A real-estate developer and a magazine mogul decided the MMA world needed a team-based promotion with lame teams like the Quad City Silverbacks and New York Pitbulls.

    The company eventually became publicly traded, which didn't help matters. At some point, someone in the organization realized that the arbitrary teams were a bad idea, and the IFL switched to a training camp vs. training camp format, which was much better and actually cool to watch.

    Unfortunately, the damage had been done, and the IFL closed in 2008 and is remembered as a failure, but not more so than...

Ken Shamrock Gets Cut Before Fight

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    Type of fail: Warm-up fail.

    Date: October 4th, 2008.

    The story: When warming up on the day of his fight with Kimbo Slice, Ken Shamrock received a headbutt that cut him over his eye, forcing the doctor to rule that Shamrock wasn't fight to fight.

    Not only is this fail bad because of its absurdity and foolishness, it's also bad because it led to an even bigger fail.

Kimbo Slice Losing Destroys EliteXC

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    Type of fail: Promotion fail.

    Date: October 4th, 2008.

    The story: Famed Internet brawler Kimbo Slice was the cash cow of EliteXC. They took advantage of Slice's YouTube fame and promoted the hell out of him, feeding him easy opponents like Bo Cantrell and Tank Abbott.

    Ken Shamrock was to be next on the list, but as mentioned, he couldn't fight because of a cut. The unlikely Seth Petruzelli stepped in to face Slice and defeated the brawler in only 14 seconds, bringing an entire MMA promotion down.

    EliteXC based its entire promotion around one man, and when that man finally lost, you could feel the fail in the air.

Wanderlei Silva's English Fail

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    Type of fail: English fail.

    Date: July 8th, 2006.

    The story: There was talk of Wanderlei Silva coming to the UFC to fight Chuck Liddell, but it failed to materialize an appearance by "The Axe Murderer" in the Octagon (at least until Pride fell). Perhaps Dana White felt that there was enough homoeroticism in MMA without Silva saying he wanted to "f*** Chuck."

Georges St. Pierre Loses to Matt Serra

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    Type of fail: Motivation fail.

    Date: April 7th, 2007.

    The story: Newly anointed welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre was expected to crush the outgunned Matt Serra at UFC 69. The opposite occurred, and St. Pierre was on the wrong end of one of the greatest upsets in MMA history.

    In truth, St. Pierre failed the moment he decided to not take Serra seriously. Since then, St. Pierre has always regarded his opponents as dangerous, so at least this fail made St. Pierre more successful in the long run.

Yamma Pit Fighting

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    Type of fail: Total fail (bad concept, bad fighters, bad production values, etc.)

    Date: April 11th, 2008.

    The story: Bob Meyrowitz, one of the men responsible for creating the UFC, decided to get back in the MMA business after he sold the UFC to Zuffa.

    His brainchild was Yamma Pit Fighting, a promotion that would feature a cage with sloped edges and heavyweight fighters who gassed in record times (as well as fighters many years past their prime).

    His vision panned out as well as could be expected, and Yamma only had one show.

"Hello Japan"

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    Type of fail: Judgment fail.

    Date: March 8th, 2009.

    The story: Watch the video and see for yourself. David Gardner had perhaps the worst lapse of judgment in MMA history when he decided to be a smarta** against Shinya Aoki.

Toss-Up: Tim Sylvia Craps His Pants, Tim Sylvia Gets Knocked out by Ray Mercer

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    Types of fails: Bowel movement fail, Fighting fail.

    Dates: January 6th, 2006, and June 13th, 2009, respectively.

    The story: Both these fails are so hilariously bad that it's hard to pick one over the other.

    When fighting Assuerio Silva, Tim Sylvia literally crapped his pants in the most embarrassing moment in UFC history.

    Three years later, after Sylvia had left the UFC, he battled former boxing champion Ray Mercer in an MMA bout (which was supposed to be a boxing match but fell through due to the athletic commission).

    It took only nine seconds for Sylvia to be knocked out in arguably the worst loss in MMA.

James Toney Fights in the UFC

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    Type of fail: Multiple types. Booking fail on the part of the UFC. Toney is guilty of a major training fail (came in out of shape and clueless to MMA; he didn't even know how to tap out), as well as an underwear fail (see photo).

    Date: August 28th, 2010.

    The story: James Toney needed money, so he stalked Dana White and twisted his arm enough to give the aged boxer a fight in the UFC. Randy Couture proved that Toney had no business there. To make things worse for Toney, the IRS put a lien on the money Toney made from his Octagon debut.

Rousimar Palhares Stops Fighting Twice

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    Type of fail: Judgment fail.

    Date: September 15th, 2010 and August 27th, 2011.

    The story: At UFC Fight Night 22, Nate Marquardt slipped out of a tight Rousimar Palhares leglock. Palhares thought that Marquardt was only able to do so because his leg was greased up.

    Palhares signaled to Herb Dean and meanwhile forgot he was in a fight. Marquardt took advantage of Palhares' guard being down and earned a TKO victory.

    A similar situation happened again when Palhares faced Dan Miller. Palhares had Miller nearly finished until he thought Dean stopped the fight. The Brazilian leaped atop the cage only to find out the fight wasn't over. 

    He almost got knocked out afterwards, but he came back to end up winning the fight.

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