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Four UFC PPV Main Events That Were Worse Than Rampage vs. Ortiz


(For ten years, Rampage has been haunted by the memory of that brutal photo-bombing. And on November 2nd, he’ll have his revenge. Bellator 106: Bitter Homeboys, only on pay-per-view.)

By Matt Saccaro

The announcement of Bellator’s inaugural pay-per-view was met with almost-universal criticism in the MMA world. And with good reason. Tito Ortiz vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson would have been a terrible main event in 2009, let alone 2013. But with the way people have been mocking it, you’d think that it was the first time a major MMA promotion had a bad fight main eventing a PPV.

This, of course, isn’t the case. The UFC has put on several PPVs whose main events rival Rampage-Ortiz in outright shittyness. For some reason, those PPVs didn’t draw the media’s collective derision like Rampage-Ortiz did. (It’s almost as if the mainstream MMA media is being coerced by some powerful, credential-wielding force…) But that’s OK; CagePotato is here to bring those terrible main events to justice.

So just what has the UFC given us to watch on Saturday nights that was as bad as the upcoming Rampage-Ortiz train wreck? Let’s have a look.

UFC 106: Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin II

Cracked skull vs. Xanax-laden stupor.

People might not agree with this pick, but Ortiz-Griffin II was an awful main event. By 2009, Ortiz wasn’t important enough to pay for — no matter who he was fighting. Going into the fight with Forrest Griffin, he was 1-2-1 in his last four fights, with his only win coming against Ken Shamrock in 2006. Tito’s best days were far behind him. In fact, he hadn’t beaten anyone NOT named Ken Shamrock since 2006 (and, coincidentally, it was Forrest Griffin who he beat).

Griffin, too, had whatever the opposite of “a head of steam” is going into UFC 106. Rashad Evans embarrassed him at UFC 92, taking the light heavyweight belt in the process. But what Evans did to him seemed tame compared to the legendary beat down that Anderson Silva bestowed on Griffin at UFC 101.

Put these ruts together and you get an overpriced PPV — $60 to watch two guys who would never be relevant again.

UFC 109: Randy Couture vs. Mark Coleman

If you ever find yourself in a pro-Zuffa state of mind, remember this: They asked people to pay FULL PRICE for UFC 109: Relentless, a card that featured Randy Couture vs. what fans thought was a real-live White Walker (turns out that it was just ancient, broke Mark Coleman).

Everything involving Mark Coleman’s second UFC run in 2009-2010 was atrocious — save for his win over confirmed cheater Stephan Bonnar, which was hilarious. For real though, bringing Coleman back in 2009 was like bringing Tank Abbott back in 2003, it was a bad idea that damaged the UFC’s product and made them look like idiots. As for Couture, he was coming off a win over Brandon Vera, but at that point being able to beat Brandon Vera wasn’t much of an accomplishment.

This main event belonged in a nursing home. Sensing this fact, the UFC tried to market it as the ULTIMATE WAR OF LEGENDZ!11!! Kind of graceless, if you ask us, it’s also reeks of the same sort of desperate vibe that Bellator’s Rampage-Ortiz does.

UFC 115: Chuck Liddell vs. Rich Franklin

In UFC 115’s defense, it could’ve been a lot worse.

The main event was scheduled to be Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz III. A third fight between the two men really wasn’t necessary since Liddell had won the previous two in convincing fashion. However, Chuck was in desperate need of a win after suffering two knockouts that were so bad they could’ve been Mortal Kombat fatalities. Therefore, Dana booked a fight that his BFF Chuck had a good chance of winning. He put Chuck and Tito on a new season of TUF and scheduled a faceoff between the two at UFC 115. Unfortunately, one of Tito’s millions of nagging injuries forced him to withdraw from the fight.

In his place, we got a Rich Franklin who’s face had just recovered from having Vitor Belfort’s fists planted into it repeatedly back at UFC 103.

So, at UFC 115 we were supposed to get a fight where neither guy had contended for a title in years and were never going to again but we ended up getting…a fight where neither guy had contended for a title in years and were never going to again — kind of like what we’re gonna see on Bellator’s first PPV.

UFC 147: Wanderlei Silva vs. Rich Franklin II

Wanderlei Silva vs. Rich Franklin wasn’t a great idea for a fight in 2009. It was an even worse one in 2012. It was such a bad idea that, after the fight card was shuffled and the UFC settled on bumping Silva-Franklin II to main event, the UFC offered refunds for people who bought tickets before the card became something that belonged on AXS.tv and not on PPV. This main event was so lackluster that UFC 147 drew the fewest buys of any PPV in the Zuffa era at an estimated 140,000 — pathetic for a promotion the size of the UFC.

Like with Liddell vs. Franklin, Wanderlei Silva-Rich Franklin II was a fight where neither fighter had been relevant in years (like Tito and Rampage) nor were they ever going to be meaningful again (like Rampage and Tito).

Did we leave out your least-favorite UFC pay-per-view headliner? Holler at us in the comments section.

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AlanJDixon- August 12, 2013 at 10:11 am
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tjbaron- August 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm
Wow, I forgot Silva vs Franklin 2 even happened.
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darciesdaddy- August 7, 2013 at 7:11 pm
Who cares if either fighter is in title contention? I just want to see a good fight. And a couple of these were good fights. Hell, most of the truly shitty fights I've seen in the past five years have been either for the title or for a 'title shot.'
NuclearSun- August 7, 2013 at 6:30 pm
How many title fights were on these cards? None. Your move Bellator...
stak- August 7, 2013 at 3:45 pm
That's an awesome photobomb
ChazRoman- August 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm
The first two were bad, but the second two weren't. And NONE of these is worse than Bellator's.
The12ozCurls- August 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm
UFC 130:
Rampage Jackson vs Matt Hamill

Yeah. That was a P.O.S. main event.
knucklesamitch- August 7, 2013 at 9:32 am
I remember my friends and I debating on skipping UFC 147, there's no way it's worth paying for, none of us watched TUF Brazil and the entire card was filled with fighters we never heard of except for the Main and Co-Main ... We eventually ponied up the money, and from my memory, the card was pretty good. To me, UFC 147 is an example of why "on paper" is not a good gauge for whether to watch fights ... Because on paper the fights were a steamy turd, but I remember being entertained for 3 hours. Maybe I'm just easily entertained.
ArmFarmer- August 7, 2013 at 9:06 am
Fried taco, I don't think that really counts since at the time it was a contender vs title holder/pfp great and when they booked the fight they had no way of knowing they weren't actually going to fight. I think to make the list, it had to be obvious in advance that it was bullshit/completely unimportant.
stak- August 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm
Maia was not a contender at the time. He had just gotten ktfo by marquardt two fights prior. Maia was a replacement after Belfort got injured.
Pen Fifteen- August 7, 2013 at 7:53 am
Early Zuffa had a shit ton of garbage headliners: Arlovski v. Eilers, Arlovski v. Buentello, Sylvia v. Arlovski 3. It may not be the worst matchup on paper, but Arlovski-Buentello has to be the most awful main even in UFC history in terms of what actually transpired.
Fried Taco- August 7, 2013 at 7:49 am
What about that one where Anderson Silva just danced around like a fool?
tjbaron- August 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm
Just one?
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