Like the yin to every yang, the Lone Ranger to every Tonto, and the oozing strawberry jelly to every organic peanut butter slathered on a slice of whole wheat bread, comes the official “worst of” 2011 list, which is meant to offset all the “best of” gospel of Monday’s post. Just as every year before it, 2011 had its moments of glory, when for the briefest of instances the sport was elevated to something more than just two dudes (or dudettes) bashing each other. Of course, there were also instances when you just knew you were watching something that people would be talking about years from now, and not in a good way. So! The “worst of” 2011! Enjoy!
-Worst Destruction of a Limb by a Male: Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira II, UFC 140 – If the former UFC heavyweight champ keeps broking bones, you have to wonder if future fighter contracts will contain a “Frank Mir Clause”, which promises some sort of additional payout if the submission-savvy lug does what he did to Tim Sylvia and “Big Nog”. And damn, what he did to Nogueira… that’s the stuff nightmares are made of. Sure, a ton of responsibility for the arm-breaking finish rests on the shoulders of the Brazilian – homeboy should’ve tapped long before bones began snapping – but the common denominator in two of the worst submission-related injuries in the Octagon have been Mir. THANK THE LORD THAT FIGHT DIDN’T AIR LIVE ON FOX.
-Worst Destruction of a Limb by a Female: Ronda Rousey vs. Julia Budd, Strikeforce Challengers 20 – Rousey proved to be too fast for the referee to react at Strikeforce Challengers 18, and when a crapstorm arose from her releasing her armbar on Sarah D’Alelio before the ref could step in, she vowed to rip the damn thing off next time. Well, Rousey is a woman of her word. At Strikeforce Challengers 20, she made Budd’s elbow bend in a direction it was never meant to bend, and she held the suddenly-useless appendage until the referee pried it from her uncaring hands. Think there will soon be a “Ronda Rousey Clause” in fighter contracts as well? I certainly do.
-Worst Comeback Fight: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Jeff Monson, M-1 Global’s “Fedor vs. Monson” – After rattling off three consecutive losses, the once-unbeatable Fedor was in desperate need of a win, so in that regard, you can’t fault the legendary fighter for taking an “easy” fight against perpetual journeyman Monson. But damn, if you’re going to defeat someone who a mere two years before wouldn’t have been worthy of dry cleaning your sweater, you better not make it lackluster – which is more or less what happened when Fedor earned his unanimous decision win over the American grappler. Did Monson’s anarchistic tendencies throw the Russian off? Or was it just an example of how high the mighty have fallen? I don’t know. I don’t really care, either. I just want the man who was for the longest time the greatest heavyweight in the world to fight – or retire – with dignity.
-Worst Resolution to a Tournament: Eric Prindle vs. Thiago Santos, Bellator 59 – Nothing says vale tudo like a soccer kick to the nuts. Unfortunately, vale tudo isn’t the rule set the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board uses when it sanctions MMA bouts, so when the Brazilian behemoth Santos punted Prindle’s junk, that signaled the anticlimactic end to Bellator’s Season Five heavyweight tournament machinations. The fight was ruled a “no contest” for reasons that escape logic, so the two hulks will get to resolve things when Season Six rolls around.
-Worst Athletic Commission for Brazilians: Arizona – If Marcos Galvao forevermore declines taking fights in Arizona, everyone in the world should respect that. He did, after all, get royally screwed in what should’ve been two clear-cut decisions against Joe Warren (at Bellator 41) and Alexis Vila (Bellator 55). Arizona State Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts Commission, why do you hate Brazilians?
-Worst Performance Before a Hometown Crowd: Mark Hominick vs. Chan Sung Jung, UFC 140 – Seven seconds. That’s how long it took the “Korean Zombie” to counter Hominick’s overly-aggressive one-punch assault with a storm of leather at UFC 140 in Toronto. As a Canadian hero who went the distance with the champ in his last trip to the cage, Hominick could not have screwed the hometown pooch any worse.