6 May 2009 07:32:40 AM
#7: MAC DANZIG
A five-time King of the Cage lightweight champion with appearances in PRIDE and the WEC, Mac Danzig was one of the most seasoned mixed martial artists to ever appear on The Ultimate Fighter, and few were surprised when he blazed past guys like Ben Saunders, War Machine, and George Sotiropoulos to make it to the sixth season’s finals. After choking out Tommy Speer to win the contract and doing the same to Mark Bocek in his next outing at UFC 83, it seemed that Mac was on the fast-track to success in the UFC lightweight division.
Then, disaster struck — in the form of Clay “Energizer Blanket” Guida, who laid on top of Danzig en route to a unanimous decision last September. It was a frustrating setback, but we still thought the TUF winner would bounce back against Josh Neer at UFC Fight Night 17 in February. Unfortunately, Mac would fall short again, succumbing to a second-round triangle choke. Now, the once-promising fighter is just another scrapper at the bottom of the UFC’s lightweight ladder, and one more loss could spell the end of his run in the Octagon.
#6: BRANDON VERA
How’s this for a return-on-investment: The UFC paid “The Truth” a total of $76,000 in contracted salary for his first four wins against Fabiano Scherner, Justin Eilers, Assuerio Silva, and Frank Mir — all of them by brutal stoppage, mind you — then paid him $500,000 for his subsequent 1-3 stretch against Tim Sylvia, Fabricio Werdum, Reese Andy, and Keith Jardine. Did the fat paychecks make him soft? Did his long legal dispute with his manager throw off his mental game? It’s hard to know for sure, but by the end of 2008 it was clear that this wasn’t the same Brandon Vera who entered the UFC’s heavyweight division three years before and rocked it like a hurricane.
After Vera’s split-decision loss to Jardine, Dana White lamented the disappearance of Vera’s killer instinct and passionate cockiness. But instead of firing him, the UFC gave Vera a chance to regain his confidence against an outmatched, out-of-shape Mike Patt at UFC 96 — at a drastically reduced pay-rate, of course. Luckily, Vera chopped Patt down and saved his job. The Truth is slated to return in August against Matt Hamill at UFC 102, in a fight that will either re-establish him as a rising star at light-heavyweight, or forever define him as an overpaid can-crusher.Read More ADD COMMENTS (93) DIGG THIS