Nicknames are like tattoos — badass when you first pick them out, generally embarrassing ten years later. And yet for some reason, they’re often the only things that MMA fighters keep forever, even as they change camps, change fighting styles, and change their hair. And while every fighter sends a message with their choice of nickname, it may not always be the message that they’re trying to send. For example, let’s say your nickname is…
Notable examples: Mike “Quick” Swick, “Bad” Brad Blackburn, Shannon “The Cannon” Ritch, Marvin “Beastman” Eastman
What you think it says: You’re straightforward and to-the-point. You want your nickname to stick in people’s heads.
What it really says: You spent no more than five seconds coming up with that weak bullshit.
A REFERENCE TO YOUR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
Notable examples: Kamal “Prince of Persia” Shalorus, Efrain “Hecho en Mexico” Escudero, Sako “The Armenian Psycho” Chivitchian, “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung
What you think it says: You’re proud of your heritage and want to represent the fighting spirit of your people.
What it really says: You will be met with boos and “U.S.A.!” chants every time you fight, even though you’ve lived in Glendale your entire life.
A REFERENCE TO YOUR CITY OF ORIGIN, INCORPORATING THE WORD “BAD”
Notable examples: Phil “The New York Bad Ass” Baroni, Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz
What you think it says: You came up the hard way. You were the toughest dude in your neighborhood, and now you’re the toughest dude in any neighborhood.
What it really says: There’s a good chance you’re a complete asshole.
Notable examples: Ed “9mm” Ratcliff, Paul “Semtex” Daley, Matt “12 Gauge” Thorpe
What you think it says: You’re a dangerous son-of-a-bitch who’s not to be messed with. Your goal is to inflict maximum damage.
What it really says: Sometimes you fantasize about walking into a McDonald’s with an assault rifle and thinning out the herd, so to speak. You think Charles Whitman had some good ideas.
A COMIC BOOK CHARACTER
Notable examples: Dennis “Superman” Hallman, Kurt “Batman” Pellegrino, Jesse “The Spiderman” Taitano, Jason “The Punisher” Lambert
What you think it says: You’re an ass-kicker, but you use your powers for good. You’re a defender of the weak, and a destroyer of bullies.
What it really says: You wore underoos until you graduated high school. You have the body of a man, and the mind of a child.
Notable examples: Junie “The Lunatik” Browning, Justin “The NSane 1” McCully, Amber “The Crazy Bitch” Powell
What you think it says: You’re unpredictable. People watch you to see what kind of wild shit you’ll do next.
What it really says: You’re not literally insane. You may have a bit of a drinking problem, sure, but your crazy persona is just an act you use to get attention, which is something you’ve been doing ever since dad left. If he hugged you one time when you were growing up — just once — you’d probably be a doctor or a teacher right now.
A PLAY ON WORDS
Notable examples: Nate “Rock” Quarry, Nick “The Promise” Ring, Paul “The Wheel” Barrow, Eliot “The Fire” Marshall, Rick “The Horror” Story
What you think it says: You’re not some neaderthal bar brawler. You’re as clever as anyone in this arena.
What it really says: Let’s just say they’re not laughing with you…
A REFERENCE TO YOUR SUBMISSION SPECIALTY
Notable examples: Giva “The Arm Collector” Santana, Joe “The Triangular Strangler” Pearson, Paul “Sassangle” Sass
What you think it says: Nobody can handle your special move.
What it really says: You know how to do one thing really well. As long as you keep competing against guys with poor submission defense who don’t do any research on their opponents, it’s all good.
Notable examples: Thiago “Pitbull” Alves, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Seth “The Silverback” Petruzelli, Doug “The Rhino” Marshall
What you think it says: You’re an alpha; you won’t be dominated, and you can’t be tamed. When you’re in the cage it’s survival of the fittest, homey. Kill or be killed. Grrrrr!
What it really says: Like many animals, you can’t stay monogamous, and you give terrible interviews.
A JAPANESE WARRIOR
Notable examples: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Genki “Neo-Samurai” Sudo, Carlos “The Ronin” Newton, Daniel “Ninja” Roberts
What you think it says: You have deep respect for the traditions and history of martial arts. For you, fighting is beyond physical — it’s spiritual.
What it really says: You have deep respect for teriyaki chicken and schoolgirls.
CHAOS AND DISORDER
Notable examples: Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Charles “Kid Kaos” Bennett
What you think it says: You’re an off-the-chain motherfucker.
What it really says: You’re an off-the-chain motherfucker, for real.
Notable examples: Logan “The Pink Pounder” Clark, Pat “Awesomely Awesome” Audinwood, Jorge “The Naked Man” Ortiz
What you think it says: You’re here to party.
What it really says: Fighting is the only thing you’ve been able to do for more than three months without getting fired.
Notable examples: Mitsuhiro “Endless Fighter” Ishida, John “Buckets of Blood” Polakowski, Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko, Srdjan “Crazy Serbian Dancer” Sekulic
What you think it says: It’s just a nickname. It came to you in a dream one night. No biggie.
What it really says: You are too awesome for this world.
Notable examples: Jake Shields, Jon Fitch
What you think it says: Nicknames are silly, and you don’t need one to be marketable.
What it really says: Good Lord are you boring.
Props to our buds at Holy Taco for the inspiration.