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After scoring the fastest knockout in UFC history in his promotional debut at UFC 102 (which wasn’t really the fastest KO but whatevs), Todd Duffee seemed destined for a Zuffa tenure filled with vicious finishes and post-fight bonuses. And through the first two rounds of his sophomore effort against Mike Russow at UFC 114, he appeared well on his way to making that dream a reality. Until he got caught with a short right hand by his doughy counterpart and finished in what would become one of the most shocking come-from-behind victories of all time, that is.
Still, a fluke’s a fluke, right? WRONG. Duffee received his walking papers shortly after his loss to Russow, sending a shockwave through the MMA landscape. It wasn’t until it we learned that Duffee’s poor attitude, not his 1-1 record, was responsible for his firing that we were able to digest his unexpected departure. Thankfully, Duffee paid his penance via a 19-second humbling at the hands of Alistair Overeem, and when Matt Mitrione was forced to withdraw from his UFC 155 fight with Philip De Fries, Duffee was granted shot at redemption.
Duffee proceeded to crush De Fries in just over two minutes and receive his second “Knockout of the Night” award, but has been sidelined with a rare medical disorder ever since.
Heading into his UFC debut, Antonio McKee’s reputation for putting on boring fights was only outmatched by his ability to churn out entertaining, if completely insane quotes about how skilled a fighter he believed himself to be. “GSP needs to be compared to *me*,” said McKee. ”I feel like I’m the Muhammad Ali of MMA.” So in accordance with the James Toney principle instilled by the UFC the previous year, McKee was given a shot based solely on his trash-talking skills.
Matched up against Jacob Volkmann (who was never one for self-censorship either) for his UFC debut at UFC 125, most expected McKee to cruise to victory via lay-n-praying, then call out Anderson Silva in his post-fight interview. Sadly, not even McKee’s penchant for biting his opponents (see above) could save him from succumbing to a unanimous decision loss in one of the most forgettable fights of 2011.
McKee was never given a second chance to make a first impression, and eventually tried to pull the race card on the UFC like the true professional he was. His firing wasn’t as “surprising” as it was “hilarious” but this is my list and if I want to use it to take shots at a piece of human waste like McKee then I’ll do it as I please.
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The UFC has not been kind to the Gracie family since the days of Royce, and the firing of Roger Gracie was essentially the final nail in their coffin.
It was easy to understand why Rolles Gracie went one-and-done after succumbing to exhaustion in his UFC debut, and even easier to understand why Renzo Gracie was axed after being leg kick TKO’d by Matt Hughes, of all people, at UFC 112. Come to think of it, the UFC probably should’ve never given a 43-year-old who hadn’t fought in three years a shot in the first place, but that is neither here nor there.
When Roger Gracie was brought over to the UFC prior to their acquisition of Strikeforce, however, many fans believed he would be the man to finally redeem the Gracie name. Sure, his knockout loss to King Mo proved that his standup was as garbage as we’ve come to expect of the Gracies, but Roger was arguably the most decorated grappler of his clan, and had proven himself a capable fighter in his wins over Keith Jardine and Trevor Prangley in Strikeforce. At the very minimum, he’d accomplish what no other Gracie since Royce had an make it *two* fights into his UFC career, right?
WRONG AGAIN, DUMMIES. Gracie was outhugged by Tim Kennedy for three straight rounds at UFC 162, and was given the pink slip shortly thereafter. Was his firing without merit? No. But was it unexpected? Yes, especially when considering how rarely the UFC fires someone of his caliber after just one fight. But hey, it could’ve been so much worse, right Rolles?
If you’re one for spotting patterns, you’ve probably realized that all the men on this list are/were grappling-first fighters. The sad reality is, the UFC’s previous mantra of “Never Leave it in the Hands of the Judges” has more or less devolved into something like “Throw Them Bungalows or Get to Stepping,” as more and more grapplers have fallen by the wayside in favor of stand-and-bangers. And while that clearly makes for a more entertaining product, it doesn’t exactly favor the idea that the UFC is an organization focused on legitimizing mixed martial arts as a sport above all else. Then again, when was it ever?