Mixed martial arts are defined by the competitors' skill, athleticism, and experience. By channeling these unique attributes, many fighters created unforgettable matches throughout the years. However, there wouldn't be any terrific contests without the bad ones for reference. These bland combats should be left in the garbage dump of MMA history, where they belong. Without further ado, let's dig into the worst of the worst MMA fights in our top ten.
10. Randy Couture vs. James Toney
Randy Couture is a former two-division UFC champion and an overall MMA legend. On the other hand, James Toney is among the most decorated heavyweight boxers. On paper, the fight between these two would be a legendary clash of two different fighting styles. Unfortunately, the reality is often disappointing.
The fight took place at UFC 118. Yet, Toney didn't have any training in ground combat, as the idea was to clash pure styles against each other. Surprisingly to no one, Couture took down Toney quickly and sealed the deal with an arm-triangle choke. This fight was the first and the last one where a boxer entered the octagon without any wrestling or grappling knowledge.
9. Dave Bautista vs. Vince Lucera
Dave Bautista is best known as a former WWE champion and an action star. However, this legendary wrestler also tried his hands in MMA back in 2012. Judging by the competitors, it was apparent the match was rigged for Bautista to win. Vince Lucera didn't look the part in the slightest, as he was out of shape with only two wins in four years.
Despite that jarring difference in physicality, Bautista didn't look very convincing. While he won by a TKO in the first round, he still looked considerably uncoordinated. This attempt to be another Brock Lesnar didn't go well, so Bautista left MMA and dedicated his career to acting.
8. Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock
It's always sad to watch the decline of a superstar, and Ken Shamrock had it really bad. His fall on hard times culminated with the fight against Kimbo Slice, the former street fighter turned MMA & acting. While both fighters were way past their primes, Ken Shamrock was 51 at the time and way further over the hill than Slice.
Although Shamrock managed to stand up to Slice in the first round and even took him down, he was still too weak and physically incapable of finishing the match. Soon enough, Kimbo turned the tables over and pulled a couple of punches through, ending the contest. Shamrock's career never recovered, but he's at least still alive, unlike Kimbo Slice, who passed away at 42.
7. Gray Maynard vs. Clay Guida
This fight, which took place at UFC on FX 4 clash in 2012, is arguably the worst main event in the organization's history. Both Maynard and Guida had the reputation of being relentless fighters who gave everything they got. However, what we all watched at that moment was the complete opposite.
The fight was among the most boring MMA fights - an uneventful, disappointing, and uncharacteristic main event in any organization. Guida knew he couldn't take down Maynard, so he spent five rounds poking and evading him. That was a brilliant strategy but utterly boring to watch. The referee even warned Guida to stop running around and to engage Maynard. In the end, Maynard won by a split decision.
6. Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites
Anderson Silva is one of the most outstanding UFC champions, and his undefeated win streak contained victories over the best middleweight in MMA history. Unfortunately, his triumph over Thales Leites is one of the most tedious and uneventful title defenses. Leites was a Brazilian jiu-jitsu master who didn't want to engage in hand-to-hand exchanges with one of the best strikers in the business.
Therefore, Leites flopped to the canvas for the entire fight and invited the champion to engage in the grappling match. Naturally, Silva had no intention to do so, playing bully over the laying opponent and dancing, slapping, and lightly kicking his way into a victory. To make things worse, Silva broke the UFC's record for the most consecutive victories with this fight.
5. Chael Sonnen vs. Paulo Filho II
This scuffle was supposed to be a revenge match for Sonnen, who was defeated by Filho in his first attempt to take the WEC championship at WEC 31. The rematch took place at WEC 36 and was also supposed to be the championship duel. However, Filho missed the weight by seven pounds, so the belt was removed from the calculations.
Unfortunately, that wasn't the only thing that went wrong in this match. For the majority of the first two rounds, Filho pulled guard without much of Sonnen's response. In the third one, Filho started to behave strangely. He dropped his hands, started to talk to himself, and dozed off in the distance. That allowed Sonnen to hit Filho with dozens of jabs, eventually winning him.
4. Nate Quarry vs. Kalib Starnes
Something was definitely suspicious during the Quarry vs. Starnes match at UFC 83. The middleweight fighters couldn't get to engage in combat, primarily thanks to Kalib Starnes. As Starnes defeated Quarry's good friend Chris Leben, Quarry wanted revenge. However, despite his victory, we don't think he felt satisfied.
During the whole fight, Starnes avoided exchanges and ran away from Quarry around the Octagon. Therefore, there were rumors that he wanted to throw the fight. The action was practically non-existent, so much so that Quarry started to mock Starnes in the middle of the battle. Quarry won by unanimous decision, with the second-biggest margin ever.
3. Jose Canseco vs. Hong Man Choi
Crossover athletes usually get a lot of attention, and dangerous combat sports are no exception. Many who became superstars in their own discipline tried their skill with Ultimate Fighting. Unsurprisingly, the majority of crossover MMA fighters come from pro wrestling or some sort of combat sport. However, as one of the biggest baseball stars of all time, Jose Canseco was a different story.
In an attempt to attract viewers, the PRIDE FC organization put him in the ring against a gigantic Korean Hong Man Choi. Despite Canseco's fame and popularity, his physicality wasn't as it was during his prime, so he was defeated after only 77 seconds. This fight is one of the worst MMA fights of all time, if not the worst, performances by a crossover athlete in MMA.
2. Anderson Silva vs. Demian Maia
This disgraceful performance by Anderson Silva at UFC 122 against Demian Maia made Dana White, the UFC president, apologize to the fans. Silva's opponent was a world-class jiu-jitsu practitioner, while Silva was a feared striker. Thus, the match between them was supposed to prove if the ultimate striker is stronger than the ultimate grappler.
Unfortunately, the fight didn't go well, to say the least. For the entire match, Silva was showboating and provoking Maia to exchange strikes in stand-up. Naturally, Maia didn't want to do that, knowing how the champion is dangerous in counter-striking. Silva eventually refused to engage with Maia, and the fight ended on the lowest note possible. Although Silva won, this fight is not something he should be proud of.
1. Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000
This fight figuratively set MMA back 10 years. The very idea of organizing bouts like Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson vs. Dhafir "Dada 5000" Harris and promoting it as a high-level main event was absolutely outrageous. Despite having several months to train, they looked like two soccer dads putting on MMA gloves.
The fight that ensued was all ways atrocious imaginable. Two former street fighters, now way over the hill to perform remotely decently, laid on each other for nearly 12 minutes straight. The fight ended with Dada 5000 (probably his daily calorie intake) crumbling out of exhaustion. Consequently, he was taken to the hospital due to respiratory failure, and he fully recovered, unlike his fighting career.
In its history, MMA has seen a lot of atrocities. Some fights shrank the creativity of the sport itself, leaving irreparable damage to fighters' and organizations' reputations. In many cases, both fighters are to blame. Sometimes the fighting styles canceled each other, or the competitors were hesitant to engage. Nevertheless, these worst fights in MMA history should be remembered as examples of how not to do it.
Did you watch any of these fights? Do you find them mostly hilarious or boring?
Cover photo: Derrick Treadwell/Unsplash
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MMA often turns into a freakshow. I get it why it's so popular among younger generations, but I still find boxing way more exciting and better sport.
September 26 at 01:37:55 PM
I watched that Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000 match live and I couldn't believe my eyes! I have never seen a fight where two guys barely stand on their feet. I
September 22 at 08:41:01 AM
Same here, it was pure comedy, but Dada 5000 barely survived.
December 14 at 03:43:15 PM