The Dana White Crazy Freakout of the Year Award: Dana White @ the UFC 167 Post-Fight Press Conference (11/16/13)
I know, it seems odd and a bit unfair that such a great honor would be bestowed upon the person it was named after, but I defy you to name a more memorable meltdown that occurred in 2013 than Dana White’s vitriol-filled attack of Georges St. Pierre at the UFC 167 post-fight press conference.
Let me set the scene for those of you suffering from anterograde amnesia: Georges St. Pierre had just narrowly defeated (and by defeated, I mean lost but retained the belt because MMA judges) challenger Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, and amidst a punch-drunk stupor, the visibly upset and conflicted champion kinda sorta announced his retirement from the sport. This did not sit well with White, who was clearly concerned that he would not be able to get his grubby hands on the piles of cash a rematch would surely reap fans would not receive the immediate rematch St. Pierre “owed” us. That’s right: Georges St. Pierre, the highest-earning PPV draw in the UFC and an all-around praiseworthy guy who had spent the past seven years tirelessly defending the welterweight title and sacrificing his body in the process, owed *us* something. THESE ARE THE OPINIONS YOU ARE CLINGING TO, LAMESTREAM MMA MEDIA.
White was, of course, wrong, but that didn’t stop him from declaring on GSP’s behalf that “his problems aren’t as bad as he thinks they are” and ensuring fans that a rematch was already in the works. All before St. Pierre could even begin to assess the absolute hell he had put himself through in the name of his promotion.
And what did all of White’s hot-headed ranting accomplish? Well, there’s Lawler vs. Hendricks, I guess. Also, a lot of media backlash. But don’t worry, because The Baldfather wants you to know that he never apologized for his unwarranted skewing of the P4P classiest guy to ever work for him. therockeyeroll.gif. - Jared Jones
Catchphrase of the Year: “World Fucking Domination”
How could 2013’s catchphrase be anything else?
The UFC’s global efforts took center stage in 2013, especially during the latter half of the year when the UFC specified their plans for aggressive expansion — International TUF seasons, overseas UFC Fight Night cards full of regional fighters like Royston Wee, a subscription-only digital network to air said fight nights for North American audiences, and of course, the comically over-the-top image of an Octagon-shaped earth with the text “WORLD FUCKING DOMINATION” sitting above it, which the UFC tweeted out (then deleted) on November 19th.
This is 2013’s catchphrase not only because it was newsworthy in itself, but because the UFC’s strategy for conquering the earth will have massive implications on the organization and on the sport. Spreading the UFC’s gospel isn’t as easy as Dana White makes it seem. Potential fans in Singapore or China won’t willingly empty their pockets just because there’s a 2-0 borderline inactive fighter or a 0-0 Yoga instructor on a card in town that week. “Here’s a guy from your country fighting in a cage, so buy our shit” is heavy-handed, even for Zuffa. Yet that’s the road they’re traveling because all other paths, at least in North America, are exhausted. WORLD FUCKING DOMINATION is the UFC’s future, for better or for worse. - Matt Saccaro
Honorable mentions: “Wolf tickets,” “That’s what you get for eating biscuits for breakfast!“
The Steve Nelmark Memorial “Is He Dead?” Award: Brian Wood, Flying-Knee Victim (11/22/13)
In December 1996, Tank Abbott sent Steve Nelmark’s near-lifeless body crumpling to the canvas. Seventeen years later, the MMA world still references that moment as the knockout to end all knockouts — one that encapsulates the horror and war porn-like thrill a fan experiences when an MMA fight ends in such a way.
The purpose of this award is to highlight the knockout that comes closest to Tank Abbott’s legendary blend of artistry and raw violence.
Surprisingly, in 2013, that knockout came not in the UFC or even in Bellator. Rather, it happened in November at RFA 11. That’s right, the CagePotato Steve Nelmark Memorial “Is He Dead?” Award goes to Brian Wood, who was savagely knocked out by Chinzo Machida (Lyoto Machida’s brother) via flying knee to the face.
Wood was unconscious for several minutes and had to be taken away on a stretcher. Tank Abbott is most likely getting drunk somewhere. - Matt Saccaro
Most Awkward Interview: Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate @ the TUF 18 Finale (11/30/13)
Fighter interviews, like most interviews, are generally mundane exchanges that produce little in the way of revelation or substance. Once in a blue moon, however, a courageous interviewer will delve into the risqué, and in a totally hypothetical scenario ask a fighter about a humiliating loss where said hypothetical fighter was knocked out with a jab and then sprinted from the cage in utter disgrace. In which case, the interviewer may be told in the frankest of terms that the interviewee ran from the cage because he was rushing to get a killer blowjob from the interviewer’s mother. It’s a battle of emasculation where the subject lets the reporter know that if he ever asks that question again he will be dealt with harshly. These instances are quite rare though.
Other times, as in the case of this year’s Potato Award winner, the interview is so brutally awkward due to the dynamic between the subjects. Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate have a history of hatred that goes back to their Strikeforce days. Hell, their rivalry even has its own Wikipedia page, so you know it’s legitimate. Not only did the two share an intense war of words, but Tate’s boyfriend — the inane and irrelevant Bryan Caraway — also decided to chime in via Twitter and basically threatened to beat the shit out of Rousey. And to sway off-topic for a moment, we’d really like to reiterate our position on just how in the fuck Bryan Caraway scored a hottie like Miesha Tate?
Anyway, this sort of thing is bound to happen when you put two attractive females in close proximity. You see, women are natural enemies, with an intense loathing for one another that’s spawned in childhood; the girls who get the most attention from the boys become the Queen Bees and seek to crush the souls of any girl they deem a threat to their supremacy. Rousey and Tate are arguably the hottest women fighters in the UFC. If Miesha Tate looked like Rhea Perlman would Rousey hate her so much? Probably not.
In many ways this painful interview summed up the whole season of TUF. Miesha Tate simply presented herself better to the audience. She came off as Miss Congeniality — charming, friendly, and gracious, constantly smiling and joking. Rousey, on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, came off as, for lack of better term, a total fucking psycho. She cried at the drop of a hat, had a constant scowl, and was sporting a vacant look in her eyes which suggested that if she were a 16th Century Hungarian countess she would have surely bathed in the blood of many common wenches.
In the middle of this painstaking scenario was little Jon Anik, looking about as uncomfortable as Stuttering John when Howard Stern made him walk up to James Earl Jones and ask him if people ever get him confused with James Earl Ray. This interview now joins that one in the annals of awkwardness, and we’re all forever scarred by it. - Anthony Gannon
Honorable mention: Jake Shields and Demian Maia interview each other before their fight in October