The “Really? You’re Just Gonna Keep Doing that Shit that Gets You in All That Trouble?” Award (a.k.a. “The Koppenhaver”): Thiago Silva
“I used a urine adulterant when giving a sample…I did so in an attempt to alter the results of the test…This was a terrible decision on my part for which I will be punished. I am prepared to accept this punishment, learn from it and move on.” That was the statement given by Thiago Silva after he was caught trying to fool the NSAC with animal piss or something at UFC 125. While I’m one to admire creativity, I don’t know how the hell he thought that would work. But at least he learned from his mistake and will now grow as a fighter, right? Come on now, if that were the case he wouldn’t be receiving this year’s coveted Koppenhaver, and since this will be the first thing Thiago has won in 40 goddamned months, maybe that’s a good thing.
I think most of us are familiar with the spirit of this award. Hell, if the writing staff of this site were eligible to receive it, I’m guessing it would be even money across the board on who would win. That being said, none of us are top-level fighters (or top-level anything, really), and just can’t be held to the same standards as the likes of Silva. As we all know, Silva recently picked up an impressive win over the undefeated Stanislav Nedkov. He also unfortunately channeled his inner Bob Marley before the fight, causing what was a great submission win to be overturned to a no contest.
I get that training for a fight is brutally hard. I also think that weed is about as harmful as a stiff breeze. Therefore, it makes sense to me that a fighter would find relief by blazing up. Unfortunately for Thiago, the NSAC have all but ignored my numerous suggestions (other than a cease-and-desist letter), and rules are rules. A six-month suspension and weed rehab are next on the agenda for Silva, who will hopefully learn from this mistake, because if not, we might have to change the name of “The Koppenhaver” — and “The Silva” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. - Josh Hutchinson
Gnarliest Injury of the Year: Acrobatic Sexual Encounter Goes Horribly Wrong for Ray Elbe (12/3/12)
It’s funny how the Internet works. Before this year, Ray Elbe was an obscure fighter perhaps best known for being eliminated on the second episode of TUF 9. But for a week in December, he was the name on everybody’s lips. And all he had to do was shatter his penis during a gruesome sex-accident in Kuala Lumpur. As Elbe described it:
“Girl was on top…Went higher than 8 1/2″ [in] the air and Arona’d my dyck. When it first happened…blood was everywhere…to the point I passed out. Falling face first I ko’d myself on the floor–very smally chipping two teeth and busting my chin…Fracture and a slight tear in the urinary tube…They have been trying to clean the dry blood of my swollen shaft in between my tears and pleads for them to be gentle..[There] has been a tube stuck out of the small hole at the end of my pee-pee which has allowed me to go urinate without having to get out of the bed…however I must admit, seeing the amount of blood leaking from the hole onto the sheets has made me feel like puking every morning…Those of you asking for pics…I’ve taken some via my Iphone everyday…but trust me…they are brutal…the few friends I’ve sent them to have literally puked. Lesson learned– I will never let a girl on top again. Everything was under control until 1 bounce went a little too high.”
As grotesque limb-snaps go, Ray’s was even worse than Corey Hill. Recognizing the opportunity, Elbe offered photos of his mangled dick to the highest bidder in order to cover his mounting hospital bills. To our knowledge, nobody has taken him up on the offer yet. On the bright side, Elbe and the woman who did this to him are planning to get married. You can’t make this shit up, folks. - Ben Goldstein
Best Event of the Year: UFC on FOX 5: Henderson vs. Diaz (12/8/12)
When all is said and done, 2012 will go down as the year of that God damned injury curse. Undercard fights, main card fights, and entire cards were scrapped before our very eyes, and like Edward Norton in American History X, our fanboyish hopes and dreams were pinned down in the shower and gang raped as a result. It was a thoroughly deflating year to be an MMA fan to say the least, but finally, FINALLY, the UFC was able to meet our lofty expectations with UFC on FOX 5, delivering a free card that was not only pay-per-view quality but thoroughly entertaining to boot.
First and foremost, UFC on FOX 5 deserves recognition for the simple fact that all of the fighters who were scheduled to complete on the main card were able to make it to fight night in one piece. The fact that the night brought us a last-second submission, a walk-off KO, and two other absolutely savage (T)KO’s in the prelims alone was just the icing on the cake.
And although the main card was only able to bestow one finish, it was perhaps the most poignant display of violence that the sport saw in 2012. Rory Macdonald’s beatdown of BJ Penn, Alexander Gustafsson’s trouncing of Mauricio Rua — these were more than just one-sided beatings, they were a showcase of not only MMA’s humble beginnings, but the direction in which the sport was headed. Call it a “changing of the guard,” the “passing of the torch,” or whatever well-worn phrase you see fit, but UFC on FOX 5 was able to capture a theme, a leitmotif if you will, that few events in any sport are ever able to. And to cap it all off, the main event saw a champion finally garner the respect he deserved, toothpick and all, in a decisive victory over someone who was being lobbied as his toughest opponent to date.
Ben Henderson’s victory over Nate Diaz served not only as a bit of personal redemption for a much ridiculed champion, but as a metaphor for the UFC in general. In a year where the sport’s highest promotion found itself the target of more criticism and cynicism than it had since its breakthrough — much of it stemming from its deal with FOX — Dana White and company were able to end the year with a giant “Fuck You” to the haters, the doubters, and the skeptics who questioned whether or not a mainstream deal would be the demise of the UFC. And they did it in style. - Jared Jones
Submission of the Year: Wolfgang Jansen vs. Aaron Armstrong @ Havoc FC (12/14/12)
We realize we are probably going to get a LOT of shit from you guys for this pick, but when we were going over our list of potential candidates, we put aside our personal biases and asked ourselves two simple questions:
- Have we ever seen this kind of submission before?
- What is the likelihood we will ever see one again?
Simply put, Wolfgang Janssen’s flying reverse triangle was our unicorn, our Eleanor. It was The Showtime Kick of submissions, and although subs like Chan Sung Jung’s D’arce over Dustin Poirier or Ronda Rousey’s armbar over Meisha Tate had a more resounding impact on the MMA community, none of them hold a candle to the And1 mixtape brilliance of Jannsen’s flying reverse triangle. Were the rules slightly manipulated to pull this off? Sure, but negating a submission as creative and ballsy as Jannsen’s on that criteria alone is like saying you wouldn’t have sex with Brittney Palmer because she has pointy elbows. And if you don’t like it, start your own MMA blog and wax poetic about the unfair bias of subjective awards ceremonies. Also, go suck a bag of dicks. - Jared Jones
Honorable Mention: Charles Oliveira’s calf slicer of Eric Wisely @ UFC on FOX 2.