MMA fans have come to expect the unexpected in this sport. Whether it be upset victories, bizarre freak accidents that cause horrendous injuries, or any sort of random event that screws up what should have been a lovely time.
Then there are those moments that leave you completely scratching your head, asking yourself, “WTF just happened?” Today, we take a look at the Top 10 WTF moments in MMA that left fans completely confused as to why someone would do what they did, but too weirded out to even have a logical response for what they just saw. This does not include freak injuries, since I already covered that, nor underdog victories or anything remotely useful. This is just pure weirdness at it’s best. Let’s dive in with number ten!
10. Phil Baroni shows Bill Goldberg his nuts
Back in 2007, the field of MMA was very different from how it is today. In those days, the UFC was competing with the IFL, Bodog Fight and Elite XC, among others. The latter was one of the stronger companies, with big name talent in Elite XC, as well as the birthplace of Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano’s popularity (look at how well those two worked out).
The big fight for the summer of that year was the incredibly hyped-up bout between Frank Shamrock and Phil Baroni, who had spent months trash-talking each other leading into the match. The match lived up to the hype, with Shammy coming out on top, but it was Baroni who would have the last laugh… except that it was us laughing at him, not with him.
In the post-fight interview with Bill Goldberg, Baroni explained to Goldberg that he tore his groin early in the first round. Not only does he explain that, but he decides to whip it out to prove it (see 0:50 in the vid above). Goldberg keeps things classy by making circumcision jokes, but the damage was done. Gross, dude, just gross.
Hit the jump for the rest of the Top 10 WTF Moments in MMA!
9. Bob Sapp fights an anime character
How could Bob Sapp not make a list about WTF moments in MMA? It was hard to narrow down just one, but I believe this one takes the cake. In honor of the 30th anniversary of the popular pro-wrestling manga, “Kinnikuman,” Sapp was chosen to fight the titular character of the comic at K-1 Dynamite 2008. Yes, you read that right, Bob Sapp was going to fight a fictional character.
The fighter was actually Akihito Tanaka, but you would have never known that since he was dressed up just like Kinnikumantaro, the son of the original character. This outfit included wearing a mask, just like in the comic series. To his credit, Tanaka did a heck of a job considering the goofy tights and lack of MMA skill, but ended up losing thanks to a classic Bob Sapp TKO (meaning entirely questionable).
8. Kalib Starnes “fights” Nate Quarry
At UFC 83, the world saw a brand new Georges St. Pierre, who reclaimed his welterweight title from Matt Serra in his home country of Canada. At the same event, the world also saw one of the worst UFC fights ever.
Kalib Starnes met Nate Quarry in what should have been a good fight, except that only one of the combatants in this match wanted to actually do anything. Rather than trading strikes or doing much of anything, Starnes spent his time in the fight running away and fleeing from his opponent. Why did Starnes refuse to aggress in this fight? He knew he was on his last fight with the company and did not want to injure himself and have to pay for any medical treatment, so logically, this was the best course of action (rather than impressing the higher-ups to sign him to a new contract).
It took three rounds to wind down Quarry’s patience, who then gave us the wonderful GIF you see here. At least we have that good moment from this “fight,” now let us never speak of this again.
7. Paulo Filho possessed by spirits against Chael Sonnen
Paulo Filho started his MMA career on a high note, but had demons inside that kept him from truly reaching the heights he could have. Case in point, his bout against Chael Sonnen from WEC 36.
Leading up to this fight, Filho had an unblemished record of 16-0, and had just defended his middleweight title against Sonnen a few events earlier, winning with a controversial armbar. The company had the two meet again, but things were amiss from the start when Filho was unable to make weight, and the fight was changed to a non-title match. Through the course of the match, Filho seemed confused and uninterested in the fight, and at one point seemed to be talking to imaginary people in the cage. Sonnen picked apart Filho to win the match, but it was not much of a victory against an opponent that fought like a senile grandfather.
After the WEC’s middleweight division was absorbed into the UFC in December 2008, Filho was not brought over to the UFC and became a free agent, where he has gone 6-3-2 since this bout in the bush leagues of MMA.
6. Joe Son’s bizarre outfits in Pride FC
Joe Son was always a strange little man. From his management of Kimo back at UFC 3, where he showed his unsportsmanlike behavior when Royce Gracie was no longer able to compete by sprinting from backstage to the cage to curse out the family, to his ill-fitting red tights at UFC 4. Son was always the iconoclast, which is a nice way of saying he was out of his mind.
Few people know this, but Son was technically a member of the Pride FC roster. How come you don’t remember seeing him in any events? Because Son was part of their “Pride The Best” series, which was basically a B-show for Pride with C-level fighters, who fought inside a hexagon shaped ring because… well, because it’s Japan. Son fought twice in that event, losing both of his fights in under a minute, but at least the entire world got to see his shaven butt hanging out between dental floss.
I suppose being punched in the nuts that much by Keith Hackney will ruin a man like that.
5. Emmanuel Yarbrough wins by smothering
Japan sure pops up a lot on this list, and for good cause. Let’s take the time machine back to 1998, where Tatsuaki Nakano fought the world’s largest living athlete, Emmanuel Yarbrough, in Shooto. Manny had last appeared in an MMA fight at UFC 3, where Keith Hackney used his broken arm like a club to clobber the 600 lb. sumo into submission (although some accounts suggest that Yarbrough was closer to 700 lbs.).
Yarbrough made his return to the sport in a short affair, taking only 1:17 of the first round to finish his opponent in unorthodox means. Rather than winning by conventional methods like strikes or a submission, Yarbrough used his enormous gut to slowly squash his opponent until he tapped out. To be fair, no one is certain if he gave up due to being crushed under that much weight, or if his body odor was the true factor.
4. Quinton Jackson dry-humps a reporter
In an interview with Heather Nichols from CagePotato, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson took a little too kindly to one of her suggestions about starring in a romantic comedy TV show with her. Jackson embraced the attractive reporter and begin thrusting rapidly into her hips, asking “Am I in yet?” Nichols attempted to play it off like it was cool and tried to get the derailed interview back on track, but Rampage was far from done with it, and had to be politely yanked away from the journalist.
Jackson was all smiles after, and Nichols did her best to appear okay with it (which probably egged him on more). The question here was WTF was Jackson thinking when he did this in the first place? Then again, this is the same man that would also go on a literal rampage in his monster truck, and also motor-boat Karyn Bryant. Granted, I would do the same thing to Karyn, but I think I would do it in a less creepy and more awkward way for her. This way, we would both enjoy it, at least a little.
3. Nakao kisses Herring
One more time in Japan! Yoshihiro Nakao was a huge prospect in Japanese MMA in 2007, and was set to face off against Pride FC (and future UFC) veteran, Heath Herring. Nakao had a nickname, “Kiss,” which was because the dude really had an obsession with giving his opponents a quick smooch during the pre-fight staredown. Needless to say, few opponents enjoyed that, especially not a proud Texan like Herring.
The two fighters walked up to each other at the K-1 Dynamite 2007 show, as the ref went over the rules one last time. Not content with just gazing intently into Herring’s eyes, Nakao leaned and landed a kiss right on his lips. Herring responded the only way he thought right – by slugging Nakao in the face and disqualifying himself from the fight.
Herring shrugged his shoulders and attempted to apologize to the crowd, and pleaded with the officials that Nakao did the first illegal thing. “He kissed me on the lips like a homosexual! I’m not gay! I’m not gay!” Herring and Nakao prove once again that two WTF’s make an OMG WTF!
2. Creepy woman uses GSP action figure for “good times”
Add this to the reason why the UFC should stop letting the fans ask questions to fighters at press conferences. At the UFC 129 press conference last year, a female fan offered Georges St. Pierre a chance to look at his action figure from Jakks Pacific. She also let him know just how much she liked that figure, and how much fun she had “playing” with it. Just watch the video and try not to be creeped out. WTF was wrong with that lady? I suppose we can answer that ourselves, since this is the same woman who gets her giggles from using UFC toys as a replacement for phallic objects.
1. Art Jimmerson wears one glove at first UFC
The most memorable WTF moment is easily from the very first UFC event in 1993, when the world was introduced to the earliest incarnation of MMA and the first appearance of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Royce Gracie was chosen to represent the style his family had cultivated for years, and would be set to fight a striker in the first round. Many names were tossed around for an opponent, and even the night of the fight, no one was sure who would fight Royce until last minute. That man was Art Jimmerson.
A decorated but aging boxer, Jimmerson was paid more money than the winner of the tournament just to show up to the event. A special clause was also added allowing him to wear one boxing glove, as he thought his jab would be enough to put away any of the opponents he faced. His single glove proved to be his undoing, as he was unable to defend anything Royce he did, leading him to eventually give up and hang his gloved hand in shame. Needless to say, no one ever did anything like that ever again.
There are plenty of honorable mentions, but many of them felt repetitive to other things in the list, like Royce Gracie’s fight against Akebono in K-1 Dynamite, Harold Howard’s cartwheel at UFC 3, Anderson Silva’s disrespectful dancing during fights, or Giant Silva’s battle with Heath Herring in Pride FC to name a few. If you are wondering where Takayama VS Frye was or any other crazy fights like that, don’t worry – coming soon will be another list that covers those OMG moments.
For anyone who believes I missed their favorite WTF MMA moment, here is a video with more of those wonderful musings to distract you long enough to forget about why you are angry at me:
And if you still don’t like the list, WTF is wrong with you?