By Jared “DangadaDang” Jones
During its rise to popularity, Mixed Martial Arts has become known for the incredible physical conditioning, talent, and (depending whose side you’re on) heart of its athletes. It is a sport built on dedication; simply put, no amount of pink gloves and flirting with overweight TUF alums will make you an MMA fighter.
But as with any sport’s increase in mass appeal, MMA has seen its share of hacks, wannabes, scallywags and jabronis attempting to grab 15 more minutes of fame through a career in “that Ultimate Fighting stuff.” In light of James Toney’s continuing efforts to shake the MMA world with the use of side check kicks, I give you the five worst instances of C-to-D-list celebrities giving MMA the old community-college try.
5. Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson
The phrase “meteoric rise” comes to mind — one minute you were watching Kimbo smoke blunts in the background of semi-public orgies and the next he was being touted as the most formidable opponent to take Brock Lesnar’s crown. Mr. Ferguson landed on our radars through a series of brutal street fight videos in which he fought guys named “Afro Puff,” “Byrd,” “Chico,” and “Mayor McCheese.” These internet videos went viral so ferociously that the now-defunct EliteXC built him up to be their marquee star by feeding him other hopeless big lugs like “Bo” and “Tank.”
Kimbo was given his first “legitimate” opponent in James Thompson as the headlining bout of EliteXC: Primetime in May 2008. Despite possibly tapping to a guillotine in the first round and being on the receiving end of over 1,000 elbows in the second, Kimbo was able to pull off a rare standing-TKO of Thompson late in the third. (Good lookin’ out, Dan.)
For his next test, Kimbo would take a step sideways to fight eternal punching bag Ken Shamrock at EliteXC: Heat, but a last-minute cut forced Shamrock to withdraw. Kimbo would eventually be knocked out via Dirk Nowitzki-style fade-away jab at the hands of UFC washout/metrosexual Seth Petruzelli. The punch was apparently so powerful that it not only KO’ed Slice, but folded all of EliteXC quicker than you could say “I was paid to keep the fight standing.”
It seemed the end for Kimbo, but Dana White was not going to let this
cash cow elite fighter fade away. The Baldfather gave Kimbo a second shot at glory by casting him in the 10th season of The Ultimate Fighter…where he was eliminated in his first fight against Roy Nelson. But it was a hell of a fight, right? Right?
And like every great comeback story in which the hero loses twice, a third shot was on its way. Kimbo answered the call, barely, defeating Houston Alexander in one of the most disappointing fights outside of Fabricio Werdum going all “Surrogates” on Alistair Overeem last month. He then faced off against fellow TUF 10 alum Matt Mitrione and was picked apart en route to a second-round TKO. Kimbo was subsequently given the boot from the UFC, but apparently is trying to become a professional boxer or something nowadays. So there’s that.
Apparently unaware of the fact that one should train MMA for more than a few months before competing professionally, former NFL wide receiver Johnnie Morton rolled the dice at K1 DYNAMITE USA!! in June 2007. It did not go well.
Taking a page from the playbooks of Bob Sapp and James Thompson, Morton rushed his opponent, Ivory Coast journeyman Bernard Ackah, with a flurry of punches that all but missed him completely. The two “n’s” in Johnnie’s name apparently standing for “nighty night,” Morton was put out of his misery 38 seconds into the match complements of a brutal straight right by Ackah. Not only was Morton carried out on a stretcher, but after refusing to take a post-fight drug test he was both denied his $100,000 dollar purse and suspended from MMA indefinitely.
It was revealed on June 9, 2007, that Morton’s testosterone ratio levels from a pre-fight urine sample registered at a mind- and possibly testicle-blowing 83.9 (the average male athlete having a TE ratio of 6). Damn, playa.
Hit the “next page” link for a pair of pro-wrestlers not named Brock, and a Couture not named Randy…