(Picture By Means Of Ben Watts for ESPN The Magazine. Click picture for full-dimension version)
With the latest Problem of the “ESPN Body Difficulty” set to hit shelves as of late – featuring none rather then UFC contender (By comfort) Miesha Tate – we made up our minds to take Appear back at memorable publicity stunts from Other MMA opponents. Some were one-time incidents, some have been entire careers, and one actually managed to be each. Read on for our picks, and please continue to ship your concepts for future Roundtable topics to [email protected]
There Was Once a time when Kimbo Slice Was the most well-liked MMA fighter on the planet. That’s No Longer hyperbole. There are precise numbers to again this up.
After Kevin Ferguson — Kimbo’s real identify, Should You’ve forgotten — turned into an Web legend Fighting in backyards, boatyards, and basements, the naked-knuckle brawler made up our minds to head legit and Combat in steel cages as an alternative. Kimbo’s first MMA exhibition in June 2007 Was Once a classic freak convey towards boxer Ray Mercer, which Slice received By Means Of guillotine choke in just over a minute. After that, it Used To Be a profession-defining 365 Days in Gary Shaw’s completely shameless EliteXC outfit, where Kimbo picked up three consecutive wins in opposition to Bo Cantrell (who put up no resistance in anyway), Tank Abbott (a Old-faculty relic simply there to repay his bar tabs), and James Thompson (who Used To Be slapped with a standing-TKO loss only as a result of his ear Was about to fall off).
The Battle against Thompson smashed American viewership information for MMA. Kimbo Used To Be an organic phenomenon who touched more than one groups of Battle fans — from the YouTube noobs who were surely certain that Slice Was the baddest man on the planet, to the skeptical MMA lovers who had been simply waiting for the Miami Pound Computing Device to be humbled By Means Of an opponent who might in truth Struggle. It Doesn’t Matter What you thought of Kimbo, you watched these fights. Admit it, you probably did.
Regardless Of his eerie potential to draw a crowd, Kimbo’s popularity as a fighter never rose beyond the extent of “oddity,” and when he Was knocked out By a again-pedaling Seth Petruzelli in October 2008 — the atypical aftermath of which contributed to the demise of EliteXC — it seemed like the name “Kimbo” would fade away into MMA lore.
So it came as just a little of a shock when Kimbo Slice Was signed to the UFC in June 2009, as a part of the all-heavyweight solid of the last word Fighter’s 10th season. What made the signing specifically surprising Was that UFC president Dana White had publicly trashed Kimbo as a side road-fighter who would get murdered In The UFC. In Fact, that Was back when Kimbo Was Once creating wealth for every other promoter. As soon as Slice became a Zuffa-managed asset, White did his best to spin the narrative, and abruptly, Kimbo Used To Be a real fighter who White respects, and Maybe he’ll shock everyone By Using winning the entire thing?
Wisely, the UFC did away with removal fights for the last word Fighter: Heavyweights, guaranteeing that Kimbo can be living in the house for the entire Eleven-episode run. But If viewers anticipated entertainment-value from Slice, they would quickly accept a harsh truth check. To get a sense of how over-hyped Kimbo’s stint on TUF 10 Used To Be, simply watch this “TUF’s Prime Ten Kimbo Moments” spotlight reel:
Critically, that’s the most effective photos they could find. #8 is Kimbo dodging out of the best way as Rampage Jackson pretends to be a bull. #7 is Kimbo turning down a Battle. The One action he in reality saw Used To Be a lopsided defeat by the hands of Roy Nelson — a Struggle that confirmed our expectations about how a ways Kimbo might in truth go in this game — and a boring decision win over Houston Alexander on the TUF 10 Finale. (Kimbo could be booted from the UFC after a follow-up TKO loss to Matt Mitrione.)
But as clear and absurd as this publicity stunt Was, it Was an unqualified success. TUF 10’s debut episode took in over Four million viewers, Whereas episode three, featuring Kimbo’s Battle against Nelson, hit a collection excessive of 5.Three million; that number ballooned to 7.25 million when DVR viewing Was Once accounted for. Every episode drew 2.Four million viewers or greater.
To Place that in standpoint: Brock Lesnar might best pull 1.5 million units of eyeballs on his very best day throughout his TUF 13 training stint, and the same Used To Be authentic of TUF 17’s desperation-reserving between Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen. Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz cracked 2 million viewers for the Fourth episode of TUF 11, However never did higher than that.
Perhaps that’s an unfair comparability, and No Longer just because Kimbo Slice’s TUF season Was Once broadcast on Spike, While Team Jones vs. Staff Sonnen had the misfortune of being on FX. The historical past of the final word Fighter has confirmed that celebrity coaches don’t in reality transfer the needle. But having a compelling fighter on the express offers viewers a real cause to tune in, and for reasons that are still baffling to some, Kimbo Slice Used To Be hugely compelling to Struggle lovers for a brief Moment in history. The numbers discuss for themselves.
And A Few nights, if the wind is up and the moon is full, which you can nonetheless hear his voice echoing across the bungalows of Miami, the triumphant bellow of a man who came, cashed in, and left, a voice as exhausting and shining as a fist dipped in gold:
Within The pursuits of full disclosure: I’m a actual asshole to Tim Sylvia. But identical to the emotionally abusive boyfriend who reminds his child love of those 5 additional pounds, I’m most effective doing it as a result of I Really Like him (the big lard-o).
And Tim Sylvia makes it so, so hard to like him. There’s No one – NO ONE – who will go to the lengths that Timmeh has to embarrass themselves. Different opponents could have tried a publicity stunt for a bump in consideration, the Maine-iac may write a ebook: Staying Within The Public Eye (And Giving It Conjunctivitis).
It’s necessary to take into account that Sylvia started his career with Sixteen straight wins and a UFC belt, along with his first loss coming by means of Herb Dean freakout – an invalid outcome that shouldn’t even rely, But whatever. Used To Be Tim proud? Brother, this man never took his belt off. However even when he Was Once the UFC’s respectable Baddest Man on the planet ™, his publicity Was hilariously incongruent along with his dayjob’s badassery. When Dana thought that having a few fighters appear on truth courting convey Blind Date can be a just right publicity stunt, Timmy Was satisfied to play alongside. Unfortunately, his 22 year Old date prospect fast found Sylvia’s weak spot: a tolerance for alcohol that falls someplace between Taylor Swift and Mr Miyagi. Whoopsie? ( In Case You haven’t considered it, Click On right here [you’re welcome]).
But hello, errors happen, right? In Fact they do. However Sylvia would pinball from one embarrassing story to the following. As if hearing that Tim saved his belt on throughout sex didn’t do enough for the sector’s stock of Mind Bleach, there’s additionally the story about him choosing up Andrei Arlovski’s sloppy seconds. And good day, playa, do you, get some, no matter, However Arlovski sent Sylvia to the burn unit along with his immortal quote about tasting Andrei’s Large pee pee, and it still smells like burnt hair and pork marinated in Previous Spice in right here.
And when the wheels fell off for Tim, they rolled in 4 separate guidelines, as if mocking Sylvia’s lack of agility and velocity. After shedding his Valuable to Randy Couture at UFC Sixty Eight and an meantime shot in opposition to Large Nog at UFC Eighty One, Sylvia confronted off with Fedor below the Suffering banner (Soreness itself being the publicity stunt, in this case, just No Longer essentially Tim’s publicity stunt). Sylvia received man-handled, shedding the stand-up Combat, the grappling trade, and the whole shebang in simply 36 seconds. (I mean damn, son – the Browns cling it collectively longer than that.)
Tim drowned his sorrows in meditation and decided training In The mountains of Tibet. LOL J/Ok I SUPPOSED HAAGEN-DASZ . Tim showed up for his subsequent
publicity stunt Battle at 310 kilos for a Struggle with 48-yr Old retired boxer Ray Mercer. Funny factor: taking a former world champ/Olympic gold medalist flippantly will get your lights turned out, as a result of Sylvia got merc’ed in just nine (9) seconds. For viewpoint, it takes longer to claim “Tim Sylvia got knocked out By Using Ray Mercer and i Was Once embarrassed observing it” than it actually took to observe it happen, which is why NOBODY talks about that Battle, ever. Ray Mercer straight away retired (once more), and most certainly nonetheless laughs his balls off everytime he sees that healthy in GIF form.
Tim has struggled together with his weight ever considering that, although he’s tried (and tried, and tried some extra) to get go into reverse to his Outdated Preventing shape, which, for the document, Used To Be pear. He’s still working, although, and preserving that dream alive of making it again to Combat for the UFC again. However Despite all his work and beef up on Twitter (I’m so sorry, Tim), the UFC continues to Now Not blow up his cellphone. It’s virtually like his publicity is working towards him.
There are a ways better and worse examples of opponents making an attempt to make use of publicity to their benefit, But as historical past will prove, none more memorable than the profession of Brock Lesnar. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been known to shit on Lesnar through the years, probably a tad unjustly. In Actual Fact that numbers don’t lie, and Lesnar did it appears put asses in seats. Which begs the question, why?
From 2000 till 2007 Lesnar made his living In The esteemed profession of Skilled wrestling. Sooner Or Later throughout 2007 the genetically proficient athlete made up our minds to check out his hand at MMA, and what followed can handiest be described as…attention-grabbing (Word: I’ve decided to try and Not be such an asshole, so undergo with me on my possibility in wording). Professional Wrestling enthusiasts jumped at this chance to prove once and for all that there is a lot more to their cherished game than simply appearing. On The Other Hand MMA enthusiasts noticed this as an opportunity to show the world that There’s No place for pro wrestlers in real, sanctioned fights. Whereas either side had been busy arguing for their respective sport, the head honchos at Zuffa had been attempting their best possible to hide a raging money boner. At Least until it Was time to advertise Brock.
Everybody Was Once leaping on the Brock bandwagon in a single kind or any other. Hell, we here at Cage Potato ran 10 separate articles on the fellow sooner than his first UFC Fight. Let me put that in perspective. One MMA site runs ten articles on a 1-Zero fighter that’s making his UFC debut. Multiply that By Using how many Other MMA news retailers ran tales (10 instances one thing…lift the one…shit, I don’t math good) and you get an idea of how so much power Zuffa Used To Be hanging into selling the unstoppable beast That’s Lesnar.
Quick ahead to lately and which you could clearly see the implications of mentioned promotion. There May Be nonetheless discuss of a “superfight” between Lesnar and Fedor. Randy Coutre, amongst many others, suppose Brock deserves a spot Within The corridor of repute. And when you ask Google Brock is clearly the baddest man on the planet. Now may be the point the place I remind you that it is a retired 5-Three Professional wrestler we’re talking about.
So say what you will about Brock Lesnar *cough* means fucking overrated *cough*, however the evidence is all there. Brock Lesnar is, Used To Be, and god prepared will at all times be essentially the most memorable publicity stunt in MMA history.
*processes podium with microphone in hand, clears throat*
the last word Preventing Championship paid James Toney $500,000 for a Combat towards Randy Couture that he didn’t even fake to take Critically at UFC 118, which garnered a feeble 570,000 PPV buys. I relaxation my case.
*drops mic, walks off stage as a sluggish clap starts*
Whereas you will At Least make the case that the boxing occupation of Eric “Butterbean” Esch contained the slightest semblance of advantage – to at the present time, his document stands at Seventy Seven-9-4 (and also you don’t need to Appear from now on into it than that) and he Used To Be the one time WBA Super Heavyweight champion – to say that Butterbean’s MMA profession Was anything more than a tragic, albeit memorable running gag could be a criminal offense punishable Through Scaphism. If Truth Be Told, except Steven Seagal reemerged from his specific realm of B-movie hell to turn into Anderson Silva’s Sensei, it’s protected to claim that Butterbean Used To Be in all probability the largest in-funny story Within The recreation’s brief history – a 400+ pound, tortoise of a man who has tapped to strikes on virtually as many occasions as Bob Sapp, who he Used To Be coincidentally trounced By Way Of in a sumo suit.
Appear, Everyone from Peter McNeeley to Johnny Knoxville will inform you that Butterbean possesses some strong boxing abilities and hits like a Mac Truck in addition. But as Used To Be the case with James “Kele Calamari Specific” Toney, a good boxer does Now Not a just right MMA fighter make. The Truth That Butterbean’s first foray into the arena of blended martial arts Used To Be towards the A Hundred And Fifty Five-pound Genki Sudo, whom he lost to By Way Of 2nd Spherical cankle hook, will have to have advised us all we wanted to know about where his profession Used To Be headed. The Man literally lacks the power to get to his ft once placed on his back, and you permit him to compete in a recreation That’s 50% ground Preventing? Yeah, I’m actually having a look ahead to Kyle Maynard’s upcoming run on the PGA tour as smartly. Hear he’s got a perfect quick game.
Does any person honestly suppose it Was Once a twist of fate that Butterbean fought Zuluzinho at what could be PLEASURE’s Last experience? You ignorant sluts. Butterbean Used To Be the roughly freak convey publicity stunt that finally backfired on the japanese, resulting Within The dying of one of the best MMA promotions to ever exist. Butterbean would have a identical effect on the woefully faulty YAMMA pit Combating promotion almost a yr to the day later, when he fought Patrick Smith in what would go down Within The history books as an American tragedy on par with the americaIndianapolis.
Of all the embarrassing, to not point out brutal knockouts In The MMA career of James Thompson, I imagine that his loss to Butterbean at Cage Rage 20 is the first thing he thinks of every morning and is the sole motive he cries himself to sleep Every night. Minowaman *dropkicked* Butterbean’s fats ass and armbarred him within a Spherical, yet Thompson is pressured to attend hypnosis courses day-after-day to check out and erase the reminiscence of the time he Was Once KO’d Through Portly McT-RexArms. That’s some roughly hell I don’t even wish to imagine.
Butterbean’s last MMA Struggle (for now) befell in October of 2011, with Esch tapping to strikes in under a minute, go determine. Worse than that? He lost to a man named Sandy. Sandy. There Is no improving from that.
Pfft. I’m about to finish y’all’s entire careers with my pick.