By Matthew Kaplowitz
Honor. Respect. Discipline. These are the keys to being a good sport. Whether your arm is raised in victory or your head is hung low in defeat, a good fighter maintains his decorum in every situation. Unless you’re a jerk.
Every major sport has an athlete with a temporary lapse in judgment that causes them to do something they will regret later, and MMA is no different. In this sport, two people are locked in a cage and expected to beat one another until the other can take no more, so it only makes sense that some of these would spill out into a second fight if not for a hefty security team. That brings us to the top ten post-fight brawls, where the action keeps going after the bell and turns into one giant debacle that ruins the rest of the night! Don’t take your mouthpiece out or unwrap your gloves just yet, we are just getting started!
Before Nate “The Great” made it into the UFC, he was fighting in Japan for Pancrase. In 2002, Marquardt won his second King of Pancrase middleweight title, and fought Ricardo Almeida at Pancrase – Hybrid 10. Almeida left the UFC after going 1-2 in the organization, but quickly climbed the ladder in Pancrase to earn him a title shot against Marquardt.
Their bout did not last a full round as Almeida caught Marquardt in a tight guillotine. Nate did his best to work out of it but was forced to tap with seconds left in the first round. Despite tapping, Almeida held onto the choke for a while longer, forcing the ref to pry them apart. Once he did, Marquardt threw a punch to Almeida, which prompted Almeida’s coach Renzo Gracie to leap over the top rope and kick Nate in the face. Pancrase officials quickly broke it up, and everyone bro-hugged and bro-fived after to show there were no hard feelings.
9. Robbie Lawler vs. Some Lady
Robbie Lawler met Falaniko Vitale twice in Superbrawl, but their first meeting in 2005 was most memorable not so much for the fight, but the unusual post-fight brawl. Towards the end of round two, Lawler dropped Vitale with a left hook and assumes the fight is over. However, the ref has not stepped in to stop the fight yet, so Robbie continues the assault with a few hammer fists on the ground. The ref realizes the fight is over and ends it, but not before a few drinks are flung into the ring.
As Lawler steps away to celebrate his victory, a woman runs into the ring and begins striking Lawler furiously, before walking away and leaving on her own before security can get to her. Who was this mystery woman? Some say it was Vitale’s wife, others say his sister, while some think it was just some boozed-up local. If anyone knows “the truth”, feel free to debate it in the comments section.
8. Gilbert Yvel vs. A Referee
We have all seen this clip far too many times, yet it never gets old. In 2004, notorious MMA badboy and king of the yellow card Gilbert Yvel fought Atte Backman in an event in Holland. A dispute broke out with Yvel and the ref early into the first round, as the ref wanted to reset the fighters away from the ropes, but as to what position they would be reset in was a point of contention.
Yvel, unsatisfied with the ref, unleashed a speedy left hook that dropped the official to the mats and followed it up with a kick to the dazed man. Backman left the ring and Yvel followed as well. Word on the street is that the ref was Backman’s manager and Yvel felt that he was not being as unbiased as he should be, but that still does not warrant slamming your fist into his mouth. Which brings us to another fist to mouth moment…
The most recent post-fight brawl comes to us from UFC 113 almost a year ago, when Josh Koscheck met Paul Daley with the winner to earn a shot against Georges St. Pierre’s welterweight gold. Koscheck played the villain well in this match, including feigning a foul that the instant replay was unable to catch. After three rounds of action, a frustrated Daley threw a shot after the bell that bloodied Kos and drew a chorus of boos. The crowd started off against Koscheck, and by the end of the fight, well, they were still against Josh but not much happier with Daley.
“He’ll never come back, I don’t care if he’s the best 170-pounder in the world,” UFC President Dana White said during the post-fight press conference. “He’s never coming back here. There’s no excuse for that. You never hit a guy like that after the bell.” Daley soon found himself in Strikeforce, most recently losing to Nick Diaz (who you will see on this list soon enough), and has remarked that he is unsure of his future if his future is owned by Zuffa. Time will tell what happens to this young man, but never say never.
6. Nick Diaz vs. KJ Noons
“Don’t be scared, homie!” This was where it all began. Following a quick win over Yves Edwards at Elite XC: Return of the King, KJ Noons was doing his post-fight interview with Bill Goldberg, when in walked Nick Diaz. In the fight preceding Noons, Diaz beat Mushin Corbbrey by TKO and was looking to get a second shot at Noons lightweight title.
The two fought before for the very first Elite XC lightweight title, with Noons winning by a controversial doctor stoppage, so it only made sense to hype a sequel. Diaz takes to the cage and utters his now infamous catchphrase, and hijinx ensue.
It seems that KJ Noons father, Carl, may have been the man who helped push this brawl overboard as he continued to jaw at the Diaz family, but either way, it was a lovely mess to end a now forgettable night of fights on Showtime. The best part is you can see Nate giving Noons the middle finger right in plain view of the camera. Diaz finally got his match with Noons two years later in Strikeforce for their welterweight title, which he won and has defended to this day.
After Jake Shields had defeated Dan Henderson in a tremendous five-round affair, some fool who most likely got fired let Jason “Mayhem” Miller enter the cage. Interrupting Shield’s post-fight interview, Miller chimed in asking for a second chance at Shields title.
The live telecast cut away as both Gilbert Melendez and Shields pushed Miller away to stop things from escalating, and was followed by Nick Diaz, who threw the first punch that started the brawl his teammates were trying to stop. Gus Johnson reminded home viewers on CBS that these things tend to happen in the sport, and that was the last that CBS ever saw of live MMA.
4. Chute Boxe vs. Hammer House
Back at Pride 31 in 2006, Mark Coleman met Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, who had just won the Pride 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix. Coleman lost his last two fights in Pride before this fight, but did hold a win over Milco Voorn in an event called Bushido Europe. This warranted his return to the Japanese promotion, and somehow a match against Rua.
In a nutshell, Coleman scored with one of his trademark takedowns, only this time things went awry. Rua came crashing down on his arm and broke his elbow in gruesome fashion. “The Hammer”, who was still in fight mode, did not seem to notice and kept coming on, requiring multiple officials to jump in. When that wasn’t enough, the Chute Boxe team rushed to Rua’s aid. In response to this, the Hammer House team jumped into the ring and chaos ensued, ending with Phil Baroni somehow standing on Wanderlei Silva’s neck.
The above video is what happened backstage, as Coleman attempts to apologize to Chute Boxe after the fight, but the Brazilians are not hearing any of it. Was Coleman genuinely trying to apologize? Probably, but then there is this bit of video evidence to make you think twice.
Coleman and Rua met again at UFC 93, which Rua won by TKO in the third round, putting an end to this feud once and for all.
Where do I even begin with this one? This is the story of two men that hate each other, fight, and then hate each other more and it’s difficult to choose just one of their confrontations since they have had so many.
The Shamrock/ Ortiz feud started all the way back in the early days of the UFC with Ortiz’s debut against Guy Mezger at UFC 13, which ended weirdly. Ortiz continued to dig through The Lion’s Den, beating Jerry Bohlander and then Mezger in a rematch. Following that win, Ortiz donned a shirt that read “Gay Mezger is my Bitch”, which led to the first physical confrontation between the two (which is the clip that best represents their feud, but alas, above is the best I could find).
Their heat never died though, and four years later the two finally met in the ring at UFC 40. Ortiz dominated the fight and things seemed to cool off, but only briefly as the two met against during the taping of TUF season 3 leading into their rematch that Ken lost, and then fighting one more time months after which Ken again lost. During those many years, the two went back and forth with not just words, but shoves and near-brawls anytime they were in the same building with each other.
2. Renzo Gracie vs. Eugenio Tadeu
A long rivalry between two champions of Vale Tudo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu culminated one hot night in Brazil in 1997. At Pentagon Combat, Renzo Gracie, representing his family name and BJJ, met Eugenio Tadeu in a duel to decide who had the superior fighting style.
To say that the crowd was into the match was an understatement, as during the 15 minutes leading into its conclusion, the fans slowly crept closer and closer to the cage until they were literally hanging it off of it. In the Renzo Gracie documentary, “Legacy”, Renzo recalls being pushed and kicked by some of these fans, which you can see quite clearly in this video.
Things escalated as the crowd grew more and more upset and violent, and then Ryan Gracie threw a punch at one loudmouthed fan, which turned the arena into an orgy of tossed chairs, broken bottles, and violence. Police were called in to stop the riot and the match ended in a no-contest. That would have been the top spot when it comes to post-fight brawls… if not for this next one.
1. Hell’s Angels vs. Finks
Sad to say, but riots have broken out at many MMA events around the world. The worst one that comes to mind would be from an Australian event in 2006 called “Xplosion 13”. The show featured both MMA and kickboxing matches (although more kickboxing than MMA), with a main event of Nathan “Carnage”Corbett VS Steve McKinnon.
Unfortunately, those two men never got a chance to fight as members of two rival gangs, The Hell’s Angels and The Finks, began to brawl in the arena, leading to gun shots being fired. With a crowd full of nearly 1,600 spectators, serious injuries were unavoidable.
By the end of this riot, a Hell’s Angels member was shot in the throat and stomach, a Finks member was shot in the shoulder and two other Hell’s Angels were stabbed, while a spectator was wounded in the foot from a gun shot. The promoter of the show was also nailed with a flying chair, as were countless other spectators who fled the venue.
Thankfully, many media sources that reported on the story said the fights had nothing to do with the sport or event and stemmed purely from the gang rivalry. That still did not stop many Australian officials who did not want the sport of MMA coming to their continent and used it as fodder against the sport. The UFC eventually made it there, and since then things have been better, as more security has also been added to deal with the gang problems and this has never been an issue again since.
Back to Elite XC for an honorable mention! After their debut in New Jersey, which also happened to be the last time they came to New Jersey, Kimbo Slice defeated James Thompson in an unconvincing fashion to many. One of those pundits was Brett Rogers, who also fought on the card as the first live-televised MMA fight on CBS, and had some words for Kimbo at the post-fight press conference. Personally, I prefer this video below of the action, which has Scott Smith limping away from the scuffle with as much comedic timing as Jerry Lewis.
We could have a whole list devoted solely to press conference brawls, and maybe we will one day. But for now, keep watching the cage, because you never know who will jump over the fence and pick a fight with someone else next!
Matthew Kaplowitz is the editor of TheFightNerd.com and a featured columnist for MMA Worlwide & TapouT magazines.