The Cecil Peoples Shittiest Decision of the Year Award: Benson Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar 2 @ UFC 150 (8/11/12)
As usual, there were a lot of poor decisions in MMA this year, though fewer and less egregious than we’ve seen in years past. If anything, the worst decisions of the year were made outside of the Octagon; Jon Jones decided to take his new Bentley out for a spin. Miguel Torres decided to keep tweeting rape jokes. The UFC decided to hinge an entire card on its main event — which collapsed, of course — and Chael Sonnen decided this would be a good opportunity to troll his way to another title shot. Then the UFC actually decided to give him that shot. Honestly, that was the worst decision of the year.
But since I suppose we’re restricting this to in-cage incompetence, there are two incidents that top the heap; the Johnson-McCall I fiasco at UFC on FX: Alves vs. Kampmann, and Henderson-Edgar II at UFC 150. And while McCall — and the fans — were denied another round, that was more of a flaw in the reading of the scorecards than the actual scoring of the fight. So the award goes to the two judges who scored Henderson-Edgar II 48-47 for Henderson.
Much like Shogun-Machida I, it should have been a close, but clear decision for the challenger. MMA Fighting scored the bout 4 rounds to 1 in favor of Edgar. So did Bloody Elbow. So did MMA Weekly. So did two of three Sherdog scorers. (The third scored it a draw.) So did…uh, well, there wasn’t an actual score here, but I’m going to go ahead and assume CagePotato did as well! The majority of fighters sided with Edgar. And one of the actual judges did the same.
But the other two? Their level of incompetency may have earned them the ire of MMA fans with eyes, but they can console themselves with the fact that they stand alone (err, together?) as the recipients of one of the most prestigious year-end awards in MMA. – George Shunick
Most Bizarre MMA News Story of the Year: The Curious Case of Mayhem Miller
If you’re an MMA fighter and your name is linked to the words “BATH SALTS” when it appears in a CagePotato headline, it’s fairly safe to say that you have a few personal issues to work through. But nobody refused to unbuckle from the 2012 acid-trip rollercoaster quite like Jason Miller. During the latter part of 2011 he was given a golden opportunity as a coach on TUF against the biggest UK heel not named Paul Daley, but after flaming out in horrendous fashion at the Finale, he then shit the proverbial bed against none other than Launchpad McQuack and was allegedly fired for being a weirdo douche. Shortly thereafter, Miller got into a war of words via Twitter with Dana White which was somewhat entertaining, but the exchange did not do his fighting career any favors.
Then, Miller was accused of breaking into a church and doing some mediocre vandalism before stripping down to his pube-suit and comfortably setting up shop on a sofa (that I unsuccessfully tried to buy — seriously, I went down to the church and tried to purchase said couch for the CP lobby). The charges were later dropped but even though he was not prosecuted, that is a pimple that Clearasil can’t fix.
In October, Mayhem appeared — in character — as “Lucky Patrick” to promote his appearance in the film Here Comes The Boom on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. The disastrous segment steadily progressed from sort of unfunny, to uncomfortably cringe-inducing, to legitimately scary, but he went back on the same show shortly thereafter and apologized. Maybe the Mayan Doomsday Prophecy should have come true and killed us all because Mayhem Miller certainly lived up to his nickname this year, in the worst way possible. When all was said and done, his story was less bizarre and more sad, because Miller happens to be a really engaging and charismatic character when not under the influence of the aforementioned bath salts. Best wishes to Jason in the hopes that he has a better 2013, because for him, 2012 was a train wreck. - Nathan Smith
The Dana White Crazy Freakout of the Year Award: Dana Calls Greg Jackson a “Fucking Sport Killer” During UFC 151 Cancellation (8/23/12)
MMA might be unpredictable, but there’s one thing you can count on every year — UFC president Dana White will absolutely lose his shit, directing decades of pent-up rage at a poor, unsuspecting human being. Adding to his growing collection of Potato Awards in this category, Dana kept his win-streak alive by verbally annihilating Jon Jones and trainer Greg Jackson during the UFC 151 cancellation announcement, blaming them not just for the event’s unexpected demise, but for pretty much everything wrong in the sport. Dana would later refer to UFC 151 as “the event Jon Jones and Greg Jackson murdered,” once again demonstrating his gift for understatement.
Putting Jones and Jackson on blast was classic misdirection, worthy of a veteran magician or carnival barker. Sure, White was genuinely, justifiably angry at Jones for turning down a short-notice replacement bout against Chael Sonnen (and at Jackson for advising his fighter to do so), but making a big public spectacle of it distracted fans from the underlying issue: If UFC 151 wasn’t a garbage-ass one-fight card, it might have survived the loss of its main event, and the show would go on. The UFC has been gambling this year — no, not that kind — stretching their roster thinner and thinner to cover an increasingly breakneck event schedule. Unfortunately, they rolled snake eyes when the injury curse claimed Dan Henderson, and Jon Jones put his own interests before the company’s (God forbid).
You’d think Dana’s health issues this year might have inspired him to mellow out a little, start taking life a little easier, and realize that life’s too short to get pissed off all the time. Instead, he constructed a fortified “bunker” in Las Vegas. Yeah, this should end well. - Ben Goldstein
Honorable mention: The UFC releases an angry press release about one of CagePotato’s captions. Hoo boy, good times.
MMA Twitter Photo of the Year: Renzo Gracie’s Would-Be Mugger Becomes the Victim (9/7/12)
(Photo via @RenzoGracieBJJ)
Out of context, it just looks like the back of a bald guy’s head. But it’s what led up to this moment that makes the photo so astounding. As the story goes, legendary MMA fighter/trainer Renzo Gracie was out walking in New York late at night, when he noticed he was being followed by two men. While the average person might have cried out for help, or perhaps dashed away in fear, Renzo calmly took out his smart-phone and live-tweeted the events that followed — a savage beating, dealt out to pair of dumb bastards who went looking for trouble and picked the worst possible victim at the worst possible time. The best part of Renzo’s impromptu mugger-defense liveblog was how thoroughly amped up he sounded during the proceedings. Some sample tweets:
“My blood runs in a different speed, man I miss Brazil…JiuJitsu ; ) never leave home without it…Dumb f%#^ I just gave him the old style Raccoon…Choke him out 3 times… And before he woke up I did hit each eye socket at least twice, tomorrow he will wake up like a raccoon, and every time he woke up I was whispering at his ears…That’s what death feels like…damn I miss that feeling, sometimes I wonder if the easy life has been making me soft.. All those years in Brazil, without knowing if I would make it home had to count for something.”
In the end, it was just another incredible tale of half-insane bravery, in a life already packed with tales like that. You can take the lion out of the jungle, but you can’t take the jungle out of the lion. - Ben Goldstein
Honorable mention: The simple joy of Antonio Silva dressing up as Frankenstein for Halloween