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CagePotato.com Presents: The 2014 Potato Awards

Greatest Unsanctioned Fight of the Year: The Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier Media Day Brawl (8/4/14)

Outside of a pretty decent kangaroo scrap, Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier‘s dust-up in a casino lobby had no real competition in the 2014 Unsanctioned Fight category. We’ve seen plenty of rivals get chippy during staredowns before, but there was something different about this one — an element of genuine chaos. You want to claim that the Jones/Cormier brawl was “fake” and “staged”? Fine. Tell that to reporter Heidi Fang, who got hit in the face with Cormier’s shoe. Tell that to the UFC’s head PR flack Dave Sholler, who Jones tossed out of his way like a child before the champ and DC spilled off the platform.


(God bless that poor little man.)

Afterwards, the UFC made it clear that the brawl was “not a proud moment for the UFC organization.” (Jon Jones echoed that statement, at least when he knew the camera was on him.) Yet the altercation became the centerpiece in the UFC’s subsequent promotion of the fight. And why not? Genuine personal animosity can elevate a great fight into a legendary one. Jones vs. Cormier has become an absolute must-see for MMA fans, not simply as an athletic contest between the two greatest light-heavyweights in the world, but as the conclusion to the UFC’s most compelling storyline of the year.

Jones and Cormier’s unsanctioned brawl made their rivalry very personal, and served as the jumping-off point for so much of the incredible trash talk that would follow. Which leads us to our next Potato Award…

- Ben Goldstein

Catchphrase of the Year: “Hey Pussy, Are You Still There?” (8/4/14)

Oh my God. If the Jones/Cormier rivalry was a movie, this would be the part where Sandra Bullock realizes it was her own husband who had killed all those women. We finally got to see Jon Jones’s real face — the one beneath his public mask of respectability — and it confirmed that Jones really is a different person when he thinks nobody is watching. Unfortunately, the cameras were rolling the whole time during that fateful SportsCenter shoot, and the footage was leaked immediately, to Jon’s great embarrassment.

Hey PUSSY, are you still there? Adorable.

Honorable mention: “Hey bro, the altitude is too high.” — Vitor Belfort

- Ben Goldstein

The Krazy Horse Bennett Arrest of the Year Award: War Machine Returns to the Slammer After Assaulting Christy Mack and Going on the Run

Though there’s already a Potato Award named in his dishonor, War Machine did NOT take home the Koppenhaver Award this year, because that trophy is a somewhat light-hearted tribute to serial failure. Sadly, War Machine’s behavior turned a corner this year from entertainingly bad to “please go away forever” bad, and winning this prize actually makes him MMA’s biggest loser. (Although I’m pretty sure he still thinks he was just doing alpha male shit.)

Prior to Jon Koppenhaver’s alleged beating of ex-girlfriend Christy Mack on August 8th, Koppenhaver had a reputation that we all thought could not get any worse. Yet he somehow found a way to dig his public perception deeper into a shit-filled hole, going from violent outsider to a full-blown human pariah due to the reprehensibly sadistic actions that could land him in prison for life. Then, he sent a tweet of apparent self-indictment and went on the lam, but his exile finally ended after a publicized manhunt starring a fat reality TV personality and an undignified ending at an Extended Stay hotel. Then he tried to kill himself while in custody and failed at that too.

If it seems like I’m doing my best to not recount the particulars of the suspected crime, you’d be correct because I do not want to revisit the bloody details. It was a horrific offense and now Koppenhaver is trying to strike a plea deal because, from the outside perspective, he’s guilty as sin. We can only hope the District Attorney does the correct thing and lets this case goes to trial where justice will be served.

- Nathan Smith

Honorable mentions: Thiago Silva loses his damn mind, Nick Diaz gets stopped for DUI and tries to barf up the evidence, Josh Grispi assaults his wife but it’s all good because she’s a mouthy woman who doesn’t know when to shut up, Buzzed Bellator Brawler Beats Bobby in Bloody Bar Battle

Greatest Fight Canceled Due to Injury: Jon Jones Hurts His Leg, Fight With Daniel Cormier Moved to UFC 182 (8/12/14)

You’ve got to be shitting me. After all that, we have to wait until fucking January? And now UFC 178 is going to be headlined by…A FUCKING DEMETRIOUS JOHNSON FIGHT??

God damn you, Alistair.

Honorable mention: Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum

- Ben Goldstein

Best Reference to Medieval Europe in MMA: M-1′s Knights-in-Armor Battles

Lots of weird shit happens in the world of combat sports. We have homeless guys jobbing to Mickey Rourke, CM Punk joining the UFC, major MMA promotions playing pong with Rampage Jackson, and the UFC holding giant press conferences to announce they have no special announcement.

But perhaps the best “weird” thing to happen this year occurred (of course) in Russia, at M-1 events held in August and October.

Fighters clad in armor fought each-other in M-1′s ringtogon (what we call their cool cage-ring hybrid) under seemingly MMA-related rules.

There weren’t many weirder things happening in 2014, and among those weird things, none of them referenced medieval Europe any better.

Honorable mentions: The 95 Theses of MMA, Bloody Elbow’s “Lost Arts” series.

- Matt Saccaro

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