Bantamweight fighter Bryan Caraway was never the most popular guy in the UFC—and thanks to recent events, he may become an outright villain.
After all, the Team Alpha Male talent has quite a track record of controversy.
So far, he's threatened to physically maim Ronda Rousey on Twitter, publicly bashed marijuana supporters while gleefully accepting another fighter's bonus pay while speaking to MMA Junkie, and if the latest news from Bloody Elbow turns out to be accurate, intentionally attacked Cat Zingano prior to her TUF 17 Finale bout with his girlfriend, Miesha Tate.
If Caraway's trying to get himself more fans, he's going about it the wrong way.
But if this is some kind of strange plan to become one of the most disliked names in the promotion, he's weaving a masterful web of hatred.
Miesha Tate arguably hasn't done much better for her own public image in the UFC either, although she's by far the bigger star compared to her boyfriend.
Still, many MMA fans and pundits haven't hesitated to bash the former Strikeforce champion on occasion, most notably during UFC on Fuel 8, when Tate provided some of the worst corner advice ever, telling Caraway to "coast" for a decision during a close fight against Takeya Mizugaki.
If that wasn't bad enough, Tate only made matters worse by demanding in a tweet that Dana White award Caraway his win bonus anyway, despite her boyfriend losing a split decision—a move that several fans have mocked, calling Tate and Caraway sore losers.
Throw in a history of verbal mudslinging with Rousey, complete with sullen dismissals on Fuel TV of her rival's obvious talent, and it's arguable that Tate's painted a picture of herself as the jealous runner-up who lost everything to a rising star.
But the PR disasters don't stop there.
Other prominent UFC fighters can't seem to stand Tate and Caraway either.
Nate Diaz recently got himself fined and suspended for calling Caraway "the biggest fag in the world" on Twitter and Rousey herself pointedly told MiddleEasy that Tate should dump her "douche" boyfriend.
Several members of the UFC have relationships that never come into the public eye, but very few of those relationships are between fighters.
Hence, Tate and Caraway pay an added price for their partnership—one that seems to have made them the most hated couple in the UFC, if not the most hated couple in the sport altogether.
To their credit, the two of them seem to take it in stride, continuing to openly support each other and take active parts in each other's camps.
But while Tate and Caraway can shrug off losses, harsh critiques of their relationship and the occasional bonus-related backlash, Bloody Elbow's chilling story from Cat Zingano may not be something that they can roll off their backs:
[Caraway] smiled back in my face then elbowed me in the head at weigh-ins. I was pissed. I considered him in that same respect. I am a fighter all the same, but that was dirty and cheap to do to anyone, let alone a girl.
[Caraway and Tate] were both in on it, which makes it even more disturbing. If my husband or son ever pulled something like that, I would be their biggest problem. I won't be bullied nor condone it.
Other members of Zingano's camp have corroborated the story, although no response has come forth from Tate, Caraway or their managers.
But what if it's true?
What if Tate and her boyfriend are exposed as bullies, or worse, Caraway is pegged with the stigma of being an actual woman-beater?
It's true that the validity of Zingano's claims may be in question without the other side's response, but Tate and Caraway seem to be making more enemies by the day—and with so much negative press in such a short span of time, one has to wonder when (and if) MMA fans will turn on them completely.