As the editor of an MMA website, I’m constantly bombarded with images of tattooed skinheads engaged in gay foreplay. And yet, there are times when I’m faced with an image that even makes me uncomfortable. Check out 25 of the most chillingly awkward MMA photos in the gallery after the jump, laugh nervously, then avert your eyes in shame…
If you were to ask 100 MMA fans to define mixed martial arts in a word, their responses would differ greatly. If you asked the same census group to define the sport in a name, nearly all would give you the same answer: Gracie.
While some would likely say that Rorian and Royce — having respectively founded the Ultimate Fighting Championship and won three of its first four tournaments in decisive fashion — were the impetus behind their answer, most would likely point to Gracie jiu-jitsu originators Helio and Carlos Gracie as the reason for their response.
Carlos and Helio were innovators, who, although they didn’t invent the art of jujitsu, or it’s “successor,” judo, they did arguably revolutionize the hybrid fighting art, making it more effective than both, especially when used by smaller combatants against larger opponents.
To the brothers, their variation of the centuries old Japanese martial art form, now known universally as “Brazilian” or “Gracie” jiu-jitsu, was not just simply efficacious in competition; it was equally as useful in self-defense and street fighting scenarios — a point they have stressed since introducing it to the masses more than 80 years ago.
Decades before Rorian and Royce made history with the UFC, their father Helio represented the Gracie name and defended its honor in scores of challenge matches designed to prove that GJJ — an offshoot of Kodokan judo, which was taught to them by Japanese immigrant and judo master Mitsuyo Maeda, was more effective than any other form of martial art.
(Bones’ unorthodox stand-up proved too much for Rashad.)
We’ve all seen street “fights” like the one below when we were younger, where the two combatants spend more time circling and jawing at each other than they do actually settling things the way boys do: by sloppily throwing haymakers until they both gas out.
Apparently in this hood, beef quashing is a community initiative as you can see by the mother screaming encouragement while several adults and kids look on as these two young men nearly get it on. Their stand-up makes Royce Gracie’s look like Badr Hari’s.
Aside from its placement atop nearly every MMA fan’s “Favorite Fights” list, Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin‘s war at the first TUF Finale is widely considered to be the fight responsible for popularizing MMA into the near mainstream sport it is today. Well, believe it or not, that fight almost didn’t happen on account of Bonnar’s uncontrollable desire for bottom shelf alcohol, specifically, Mad Dog. Although Bonnar has told this story with a slightly different spin before, Dana White recently discussed the craziness that was the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, and how Bonnar almost got himself kicked off the show:
The first season of the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ was the longest season we’ve ever done. It was something like 8 weeks and those guys were losing their (expletive) minds. I almost kicked (Stephan) Bonnar off the show.
Bonnar turned the shower on, climbed out the window and went to find a liquor store. Remember we took all the liquor out after that big fight? These idiots…we had been driving these guys around for six or seven weeks and the house is in the middle of nowhere. There was no liquor store near there. The guy was walking around for an hour and thirty minutes. So much crazy (expletive) happened that first season. Imagine if I had kicked off him off the show for going to a liquor store? Forrest (Griffin) and Stephan would have never happened.
skeletor asks: Did you ever feel bad during the no holds barred/no weight classes days destroying guys that were so much smaller then you?
Dan Severn: I never felt bad because of size difference but I did sort of feel bad in general because it was not in my nature to be violent. For example, when I had Oleg Taktarov in the cage and was dropping knees on him, and he couldn’t defend himself. The match wasn’t being halted and he didn’t have the rational mindset to tap out. Even my first loss against Royce Gracie, I was staring right into a man’s soul realizing what crude submissions that I knew weren’t working and recognizing that I was going to have to strike this guy. So I struggled more with my conscience then I ever did with an opponent. I think I am cut from a different cloth than a lot of different fighters who came from checkered pasts and were used to getting into fights. I wasn’t used to that. For instance, if you look at the fight between me and Ken Shamrock, he was adopted and grew up on the mean streets fighting. My upbringing was completely different. I don’t really understand that mentality.
When I was inside Royce’s guard, from my perspective I was in the dominant position because as a wrestler, I was used to being on top. As I am fighting I can see Royce looking over to his father in his corner, and I could see exactly what was going through his mind. His mind was saying, “Hey dad, I’m hanging in here but if you want to throw in the towel, I wouldn’t hold it against you.” Helio actually had the towel in his hand and lifted his arm up a little bit and then shook his head no. I remember thinking, you old bastard…you would sacrifice your kid for Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
(Ah, 2007. A very fine year for gogoplatas. / Photo via Sherdog)
By Ben Goldstein
Over the last two decades, MMA has evolved so consistently that fighters are still finding new and unexpected ways to destroy their opponents — while causing fans to spit their beers in shock. We decided to take a lil’ spin through MMA history and identify the single most awe-inspiring technique from each year since the sport’s modern inception. We expect you to disagree with us; there’s a comments section just for that purpose. And away we go…
1993:Royce Gracie’s Rear-Naked Choke vs. Ken Shamrock @ UFC 1, 11/12/93
(Fight starts at the 3:54 mark)
You have to remember that in the early ’90s, a well-placed roundhouse kick to the head was considered the pinnacle of martial arts. What Royce Gracie introduced to fight fans in his early UFC run was something much more practical, less flashy, and a little bit scary. Gracie’s submission of Ken Shamrock — and the similar hold he used to stop Gerard Gordeau in the finals — proved that skill beat size, and pajamas beat man-panties.
1994: Dan Severn’s Suplexes vs. Anthony Macias @ UFC 4, 12/16/94
(The Royce Gracie of our generation poses with the Anderson Silva of his generation. Props: facebook.com/ufc)
On August 27th, Rio de Janeiro will be Blowout City. Aside from two matches on the preliminary card — Loveland vs. Jabouin and Assuncao vs. Eduardo — every fight at UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami features a fighter who’s a 2-1 favorite or higher. In times like these, it’s not about picking the winners, it’s about picking the upsets. So where they at? Check out the UFC 134 gambling lines below (via BestFightOdds), and consider our advice after the jump.
Main Card (PPV, 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT)
Anderson Silva (-471) vs. Yushin Okami (+425)
Maurício Rua (-220) vs. Forrest Griffin (+225)
Brendan Schaub (-230) vs. Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira (+216)
Edson Barboza (-300) vs. Ross Pearson (+280)
Luis Cane (-200) vs. Stanislav Nedkov (+195)
Spike TV Prelims Live (8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT)
Thiago Tavares (-205) vs. Spencer Fisher (+200)
Rousimar Palhares (-275) vs. Dan Miller (+252)
Facebook Prelims (6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT)
Paulo Thiago (-389) vs. David Mitchell (+340)
Raphael Assunção (-160) vs. Johnny Eduardo (+149)
Erick Silva (-270) vs. Luis Ramos (+246)
Yuri Alcantara (-437) vs. Felipe Arantes (+379)
Ian Loveland (-195) vs. Yves Jabouin (+180)
One of our favorite online obsessions over the last month has been awesome people hanging out together, a tumblr photo blog devoted to celebrities mingling in unexpected combinations. (I mean, seriously: Dylan and Ali?Alice Cooper and Colonel Sanders? Epic.) Since there are aren’t any MMA fighters represented on the site, we decided to do some online crate-digging of our own and put together a CagePotato version of the “awesome people” photo-phenomenon. Enjoy these rare and classic MMA photos, which continue after the jump, and shoot us some links in the comments section if we’ve left out any of your favorites.
Judging from the entries in last week’s fight-picking contest, there are a whole lot of heartbroken Pat Barry fans in the house today. Out of 114 predictions, only one person thought that Cheick Kongo would win by first-round knockout. That person was ‘Me likey‘, who thought it would happen at the 4:10 mark; the actual time of stoppage was 2:39. Obviously, we’re just going to pretend that Marquardt vs. Story wasn’t part of this contest — just as both of those guys will be trying to forget that this awful weekend ever happened, we’re guessing. (Hey Rick, remember when you were on this list? Sucks, bro.)
So, Me likey, hit us up at email@example.com with your real name and address and we’ll send you that Royce Gracie Blu-ray disc as soon as we get a chance. Thanks to everybody who played…