Some say MMA is a crazy sport populated by crazy folk. Well, for God’s sake, don’t show those people any of the bouts on the following list, ‘cause then they’re really going to think we’re lunatics. Of course, the reality of any endeavor that involves choking an opponent unconscious or knocking them silly is that strange stuff is bound to happen, whether it be someone losing their cool, losing their bearings, or just straight up losing their mind. But at least we don’t have to deal with idiots running onto the baseball field, nude chicks sprinting across the putty green or goofy mascots, right? Anyway, here are some of MMA’s top mid-fight freakouts. If any of your non-MMA friends read this, ask them not to judge us too harshly.
-Rousimar Palhares vs. Dan Miller, UFC 134 – The inspiration for this article occurred this past weekend, when the UFC returned to Brazil so a bunch of native fighters could slaughter a bunch of foreigners. The particular bout in question: Palhares versus Miller. In an opening round that saw more back-and-forth action than a ping pong match staged on a seesaw, Palhares dropped Miller with a perfectly-timed kick to the head, and he followed it up with some hellacious ground and pound. However, not content to wait for referee Herb Dean to call it, “Toquino” decided the fight was over himself, and he turned and jumped on top of the cage and began celebrating. The ensuing dialogue went something like this:
Dean: “I didn’t stop the fight. Get down from there and keep fighting.”
Palhares: “Que disse?”
Dean: “I didn’t stop the fight. You have to keep fighting.”
Palhares: *Makes indecipherable grunting noises*
Miller: “This sucks.”
Thankfully, order was restored and the fighters resumed bashing each other.
-Chael Sonnen vs. Paulo Filho, WEC 36 – Brazilian Top Team black belt Filho was hell on wheels for the longest time, defeating all comers to earn his status as reigning WEC 185-pound champ and one of the best middleweights around. He even defeated Sonnen in his first title defense. But when the American earned another crack at the Brazilian, Filho was – to put it bluntly – coming apart at the mental seams. First, the bout had to be rescheduled when Filho abruptly checked into a substance-abuse rehab facility. Then, when the match finally did come together, he failed to make weight, rendering their WEC 36 bout a non-title affair. To make matter worse, during their fight Filho looked like had no desire to be in the cage, and allegedly whispered to Sonnen suggestions that they go to the ground and just rest there. Sonnen did not oblige him, went on to win the decision, and that was the last we Americans saw of Filho.
-Mike Kyle vs. Brian Olsen, WEC 20 – Kyle may be a rock-solid Strikeforce competitor nowadays, but back in 2006 he was fighting Olsen for the WEC heavyweight title when he decided mid-fight that the Unified Rules were actually just suggestions and not really something you had to adhere to. Our first clue that something was amiss? The soccer kick Kyle landed to Olsen’s head when Olsen was down. Then, when the referee tried to jump in and Kyle pushed him away to keep hitting his clearly stunned opponent, well, that cinched it. Kyle had lost his marbles. Thankfully, Kyle got roughly a two-year timeout for his disgraceful behavior, and by all appearances he has since pledged his allegiance to the Unified Rules. Still, a soccer kick and punches after the ref says “stop”… naughty. Very naughty.
-Phil Baroni vs. Evan Tanner, UFC 45 – Hard-hitting Baroni came oh-so-close to knocking Tanner out in a standing exchange, but then found himself sucking wind, mounted and absorbed elbows from above. He was far from done, though. After all, if anything, the “New York Bad Ass” is tough as nails. Unfortunately, referee Larry Landless thought the best way to gauge Baroni’s desire to continue was via conversation, which, given that the fighter had 185-pounds of angry Texan on top of him, was probably a poor choice. The ensuing dialogue went something like this:
Landless: “Okay, I’m going to ask you a question and I want you to be perfectly honest. Do you want to continue?”
Baroni: “Que disse?”
Landless: “Because if you don’t tell me right now that you’re okay and want to continue, I’m going to stop this exciting back-and-forth fight, thereby giving Mr. Tanner the win by TKO.”
Baroni: *Makes indecipherable grunting noises*
Tanner: “This sucks.”
Sadly, when Landless stepped in to call the bout, Baroni disagreed with the call, so he began punching up at the referee. I’d say that counts as a freakout, right?
-Wes Sims vs. Frank Mir, UFC 43 – Tall, lanky and inexplicably impossible to submit, Sims earned himself a berth in the UFC by smashing Marcus “Conan” Silveira at a HooknShoot event. His first opponent in the Octagon, however, was none other than Mir, who was a submission machine. As predicted, Mir got Sims down and worked him over. But nothing the future heavyweight champ did could elicit a tap out, and when Sims eventually slammed his way out of an armbar, what followed was ugly. And by “ugly”, I mean Sims grabbing the cage and stomping on Mir’s face with his foot. Which, uh, is sort of a no-no as per the Unified Rules. As a bonus, when the referee promptly disqualified Sims for the infraction, Sims acted as if he was somehow wronged by the call. Oh Wes, you so crazy.