The One-and-Done Wonders
A single fight. A lifetime of humiliation.
I know what you’re thinking — what’s Dick Delaware doing here? Well, before Aaron Brink became involved in the porn game (and later, the crystal meth game), he was a promising young heavyweight who had done fairly well in MMA tournaments on the West Coast. He and Andrei Arlovski made their Octagon debuts against each other at UFC 28, and though Brink took the fight to the Pitbull, Arlovski snatched up a fight-ending armbar (with a little help from the fence) in just under a minute. A tune-up match against up-and-comer Rich Franklin at an IFC event two months later didn’t go his way either, which seemed to ensure that Brink would be competing for small-time promotions permanently; the UFC never had him back.
Brink’s subsequent MMA career proved that you can’t juggle two careers at once and be a drug addict. Luckily, he’s been completely sober for two years, but the odds of a high-profile comeback are unlikely. In May 2012, Brink was submitted by Joe Riggs in a light-heavyweight bout for Rage in the Cage, despite that fact that Joe Riggs is nowhere near being a light-heavyweight. But at least Aaron beat Dan Quinn once, and you can’t take that away from him.
15. Sean Gannon (0-1)
Sole appearance: UFC 55, 10/7/05
In 2005, Kimbo Slice was picking up viral YouTube fame as a bare-knuckle brawler in Miami. So obviously, the UFC decided to sign the white guy who beat him that one time. It was a rare misstep for the UFC talent scouts, who paired the inexperienced Boston police officer against veteran heavyweight Branden Lee Hinkle. Hinkle beat the tar out of Gannon, winning by first-round TKO and ending his MMA career. Four years later, the UFC signed Kimbo, like they should have in the first place.
Kit Cope charmed his way into appearances on MTV’s True Life and Spike TV’s The Wild World of Spike, and in the greatest moment of his career, he convinced Gina Carano to have sex with him. But charm will only get you so far in this sport. Despite his decorated kickboxing pedigree, Cope’s general lack of grappling skills made him an easy target in MMA competition. (His overall record currently stands at 6-7, with six of those losses coming by submission.) In his lone UFC appearance, he faced TUF 1 finalist Kenny Florian and inevitably fell prey to a rear-naked choke. Following his brief UFC stint, he challenged Rob McCullough for the WEC’s vacant lightweight title, tapped due to punches in the first round, then tested positive for steroids. And if he ever leaks that Gina Carano sex tape, the ghost of Shawn Tompkins is going to kick the shit out of him.
Sherman Pendergarst is on this list for one reason, and one reason only. At UFC 65, he stepped into the Octagon against Antoni Hardonk, and became the only fighter in MMA history to be knocked out cold by a leg kick. We’re not exactly sure how that’s physically possible, but it happened, and the moment has become Sherman’s enduring legacy in the sport. The UFC shredded his contract afterwards, and you can’t really blame them. Since that fateful night, Pendergarst has gone 3-14 in MMA competition, including knockout losses to UFC veterans Shane Carwin, Tim Hague, Joey Beltran, Houston Alexander, and Razak Al-Hassan — so in a way, he’s still with the UFC in spirit.
Unlike some of the other guys on this page, Josh “Heavy” Hendricks‘s one-and-done dismissal from the UFC didn’t result from him insulting the promotion, testing positive for steroids, or sullying his family name. The Ohio native was drafted to make his Octagon debut against Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 91, but when the dust had settled on his knockout loss — a 61-second blitz that remains the quickest win of Napao’s career — it was clear that Hendricks wasn’t UFC material. And it wasn’t just because he got his ass kicked in a way that suggested he’d never be more than a gatekeeper. It was also his soft physique, and those weird little bumps he carried all over his body, which might have freaked out the UFC brass and probably didn’t win him any fans among the home viewers. He didn’t “look like a fighter,” to put it charitably. The UFC cut him loose, and now he’s just another footnote on Gonzaga’s impressive resume.
As the first Gracie to compete in the UFC since King Royce, there was a lot of pressure on Rolles Gracie — grandson of Carlos Gracie Sr. — to honor his ancestors. Unsurprisingly, his grappling credentials were impeccable. But as an MMA fighter, he was just 3-0 when he was signed by the UFC, and clearly not ready for the big show. Gracie’s debut opponent was intended to be Mostapha al-Turk, who had already been smashed by Cheick Kongo and Mirko Cro Cop in previous UFC fights, and might have been an easy meal for Rolles. Instead, al-Turk was forced to drop out of the match due to visa issues, and was replaced on short notice by a dangerous slugger named Joey Beltran.
Gracie’s downfall turned out not to be Beltran’s striking or experience advantages, but his own shitty cardio. Rolles successfully mounted Beltran and took his back in round one, but couldn’t secure a submission, and by the time Beltran got back to his feet, Gracie was already gassed. His lumbering takedown attempts were easily stuffed in round two, and Beltran finished the fight by sprawling on top of the helpless grappler and punching down on him. After the fight, Rolles’s own cousin Renzo called the performance “embarrassing.” Evan Beltran felt bad for him. And these days, the once-proud Gracie is forced to fight opponents with even smaller gas-tanks than his.
20. James Toney (0-1)
Sole appearance: UFC 118, 8/28/10
Didn’t Art Jimmerson already prove that this wouldn’t work? James Toney may have been a far more accomplished boxer than Jimmerson — and he had the good sense to wear two gloves into the Octagon — but his completely ill-advised MMA crossover attempt gave us a weird sense of deja vu. This time, the UFC legend in the other corner was Randy Couture, who took Toney down and submitted him without absorbing a single punch. Toney was so inept in the ways of MMA that he didn’t even know how to tap out properly; instead, he just waved his hand at the heavens like a Pentecostal preacher. Honestly, we expected more from someone whose daddy was an original death fighter.
Kappke de Queiroz‘s UFC debut proved that appearances can be deceiving — and very disappointing. After racking up a string of first-round knockouts in his native Brazil, the towering Chute Boxe product took his first steps in the Octagon at UFC 120 against the much-less-impressive-looking Rob Broughton, and performed admirably for a full round before gassing out. Broughton secured the win in the third frame with a rear-naked choke. After the fight, it was revealed that Queiroz failed a random pre-fight drug screening, coming up positive for Stanozolol. Despite his rock-solid alibi, the UFC got rid of Queiroz — which is a relief, considering his name is a liveblogger’s worst nightmare. Seriously, Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop is only slightly more ridiculous. VKdQ is currently awaiting his Bellator debut.
After going to the judges in 16 out of 17 fights from 2002-2009, Antonio McKee earned a reputation as MMA’s most unapologetically boring fighter. Keeping a tattooed Asian manservant named Kenny back at his house certainly didn’t increase his likability factor. But judging from McKee’s interviews, it was obvious that he considered himself God’s gift to combat sports. He was the Muhammad Ali of MMA, as well as the Tupac Shakur of MMA. He was, and we quote, “the baddest nigga on the planet.”
And somehow, the wrestling savant known as “Mandingo” turned in one of his most boring performances ever at his UFC debut, and wound up losing a split-decision to the equally boring Jacob Volkmann. The UFC promptly tossed him out on his ass, and he got all racial on us. Moral of the story: If you’re going to talk shit, you’d better back it up by winning. And if you don’t win, you’d better put on a great show while you lose. And if you can’t do either, please, do not under any circumstances try to bite a chunk out of your opponent’s shoulder.