(You can’t mention MMA and black eyes in a story without a "what’s up" to Rich "perma-periorbital hematoma" Franklin)
With the recent rash of unfortunate post-fight antics and TMZ newsworthy stories that seem to have plagued mixed martial arts in recent months, Cage Potato has saved you a whole lot of Googling and have compiled our list of the 13 biggest black eyes the sport has experienced over the years.
The list (in no particular order) is after the jump.
Gilbert Yvel cold cocks and lays the boots to a referee
(You likely won’t ever hear the name Gilbert Yvel mentioned preceding the words "sportsmanship" unless there’s a “bad” or a “terrible” sandwiched in between the three nouns. In a bout with Karimula Barkalaev ( who is no saint himself) at IAFC: Pankration European Championship in 1998, Yvel pulled a Mike Tyson and bit his Ukrainian opponent’s ear, earning him a disqualification loss.
Then in 2001 at PRIDE 16, Yvel took a page out of professional wrestling and added another DQ to his resume for continually raking the eyes of Don Frye.
You would think losing two fights for playing dirty would teach you a lesson. Apparently Yvel is a slow learner, because in 2004, “The Hurricane” struck again. Lashing out and dropping the referee with a left hook when he became frustrated with a break and restart during a bout with Atte Backman at Fight Festival 12, Yvel made things even worse (which doesn’t seem possible) by kicking the official while he was prone on the canvas.
For his lack of judgment, the Dutch fighter was denied licensure by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to compete at PRIDE 33 and he had to meet with commission officials in 2009 to prove to them that he was a changed man so he could earn a license to fight for Affliction. Eventually NSAC relented and granted the dirtiest man in MMA a license.
After getting tapped out by a guillotine by Ricardo Almeida, who seemed to be in no hurry to let go of the hold, Nate Marquardt pushed the Renzo Gracie black belt off of him in frustration. Quick as a flash, Gracie jumped in the ring and hoofed Marquardt in the mug for disrespecting his fighter.
In interviews after the bout, Nate maintained that he did not tap and was merely repositioning his arm, which added to the frustration of Almeida holding the choke a little long.
Post Strikeforce:Nashville Brawl
Unless you’re Gus Johnson, this video shouldn’t require an explanation. If you are Gus Johnson, this clip shows an armbar, dawg.
Heath Herring Sucker Punches Yoshihiro Nakao
Heath Herring is not gay. If you assume or make jokes to insinuate that he is, you will get KTFO. No exceptions.
Mike Kyle kicks Kyle Olsen in the face while he is down
In a fight at WEC 20 in 2006, Mike Kyle attempted to kick opponent Brian Olsen’s head into the third row. The only problem was, Olsen was clearly on his knees at the time.
Now, mistakes happen, especially when fighters are all hopped up on adrenaline, but any inclinations that Kyle may not have kicked Olsen intentionally went out the window with what transpired after the infraction.
Referee Josh Rosenthal stepped in to halt the bout and the California native proceeded to keep punching Olsen while trying to break away from the official’s grasp. Ringside official Herb Dean had to be brought into the cage to help restrain the out of control fighter from attacking his opponent any further.
Kyle was put on the national suspension list and did not fight for 22 months following the incident. Since returning from the suspension, he has fought for several promotions – most notably Strikeforce, where he knocked out Rafael Cavalcante at Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields last June.
Not much to be said here. Daley was wrong, he has since been let go by the UFC and Dana White has stated that he will never fight for the promotion again.
Rampage Jackson plays bumper cars and attempts to evade the cops
When your kids are ready to get their driver’s licenses, watch for signs that they may be out of control before you give them your car keys and your blessing. If they ask for a monster truck for their sweet 16, have an insatiable thirst for energy drinks and an unhealthy addiction to the movie “The Secret,” buy them a bus pass.
Frank Mir makes MMA seem like human cockfighting
For this asinine comment, which was seemingly picked up by every journalist that opposes MMA and sanctioning of the sport, Mir was inexplicably dropped from the WEC announce team and forced to apologize by UFC president Dana White.
Even Brock Lesnar thought Mir’s statements were “a bit too WWE.”
Titans Fighting brawl erupts during Bosse-Thompson fight
When former TKO owner Stephane Patry announced that he would be starting a stand-up only MMA hybrid sport to cater to fans who are easily bored by the ground game, many were skeptical.
Apparently the Quebec athletic commission, the Régie des Alcools, des Courses et des Jeux (RACJ) was not sold on the idea either, and would not approve the modified rules proposed by the promoter. As such, the fights were contested under regular MMA rules. The fighters allegedly each made a gentleman’s agreement to allow their opponents to get back to their feet after a knockdown or takedown to keep the façade that this was the striking-only sport advertised by the promotion.
In the main event between James Thompson and local hockey enforcer-turned MMA fighter Steve Bosse, Thompson decided to break the bond of the handshake agreement and immediately took his opponent to the ground. Incredulous as to why Yves Lavigne was not standing the fight back up, fans became incensed and began throwing plastic beer bottles into the cage. The fight had to be stopped due to the fracas and Bosse took the opportunity to take some liberties with Thompson for not playing make believe.
Thompson denies any knowledge of the unwritten stand-up agreement.
Babalu chokes respect into David Heath
In spite of holding an anaconda choke after being told his UFC 74 fight was over by referee Steve Mazzagatti and causing opponent David Heath to go to sleep, Renato Sobral could still be fighting in the UFC if he hadn’t sealed his own fate with these post-fight remarks:
"I did what I did, because this guys a pretty young fighter; I’ve been in this game for ten years and he had no respect for me. He called me a “motherfucker.”
When asked by Joe Rogan if he put him to sleep on purpose even though Heath tapped, Sobral dug his grave even deeper:
“Yes. He has to learn respect.”
While watching the replay, Babalu went even further:
“Yes. That’s what I did. He deserved that shit.”
During his NSAC hearing Sobral sang a decidedly different tune:
“When he tapped, I didn’t feel it. I then looked to the referee, and he shook my shoulder, and then I let him go. I didn’t understand why this whole thing happened. I’m kind of surprised that it happened, the crowd booing me and stuff like that. I don’t know, maybe it was from the blood. I don’t know. I would like to say sorry to David Heath and the UFC for bringing trouble to my sport that I love a lot. There’s one thing that I know how to do in my life is be a professional fighter. I don’t have like a regular job.”
He was dropped by the UFC shortly after the event and although NSAC did not suspend the Brazilian for the incident, they did withhold $25,000 from his fight purse.
Phil Baroni socks referee Larry Landless
In a bout with Evan Tanner in 2003 at UFC 45, Phil Baroni, who was on his back and eating elbows from his opponent, was asked by referee Larry Landless if he wanted him to step in to stop the fight. Thinking that Landless had asked if he was okay, Baroni yelled out “yes,” and the official pulled Tanner off and halted the match. Baroni proceeded to punch him in the face several times before being dragged to his feet and put on a stool by his cornermen.
“The New York Badass” received a meager four-month suspension for his infraction, was given a rematch with Tanner at UFC 48 and received a public apology from Landless.
Jennito Assault Drama
I didn’t want to mention this as it’s gotten enough traction, but any time MMA goes mainstream news and makes it to TMZ due to heightened level of controversy, it’s a definite black eye to the sport.
War Machine goes nuts again
Dude, a spit bag? What series of events leads to cops pulling one of those bad boys out?
Josh Barnett murders Affliction
Affliction VP Tom Attencio blames Barnett’s positive drug test that forced him out of his planned bout with Fedor for killing his promotion.
As usual, Barnett denies everything.