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10 most disrespectful moments in UFC history

MMA is, first and foremost, a sport built on respect. While the athletes that compete in the cage love nothing more than to beat the hell out of one another, most of the time there’s always a healthy level of respect between opponents. It’s why most post-fight scenes involve a hug.

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Sometimes though, we’ve seen fighters completely disrespect their opponent both during and after the fight. These moments are usually frowned upon by fan and commentator alike – but they definitely make for talking points after an event. Here are the top ten most disrespectful moments in UFC history.

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#10 Couture spanks Tito

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When Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz clashed for the undisputed Light-Heavyweight title at UFC 44 in 2003, the story going in was the ageing paragon of virtue in Couture against the younger, brash and arrogant Ortiz. Both men were on top of their games, but much to the delight of the pro-Couture fans, it was the older man who dominated the fight with his stronger wrestling game.

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With Ortiz four rounds in the hole and clearly losing the fifth round due to Couture’s continual takedowns, he decided to make a hail mary attempt at winning the fight by rolling for a low-percentage submission move – a kneebar – with the clock running down. Couture defended the move and then paid Ortiz back for all of his past disrespect in the most humiliating way possible.

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For the want of a better term, Randy reached down and spanked Ortiz, who was trapped upside-down with nowhere to go. The crowd and the commentators both erupted in laughter and it was the icing on the cake for the anti-Ortiz fans – the moment when the ‘Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ was given a taste of his own medicine. Still disrespectful, mind you!

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#9 Baroni’s hyena laugh

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Phil Baroni is one of the most colourful characters in UFC history
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One of the most colourful personalities in UFC history, the ‘New York Bad Ass’ Phil Baroni earned plenty of fans – and haters – during the early Zuffa period in the promotion for his fast hands and even faster tongue. His knockout of Dave Menne – and subsequent wild rant at the camera afterwards – at UFC 39 remains one of the all-time great highlight reel moments.

For the most part though, inside the cage at least, Baroni was relatively respectful of his foe, win or lose. But that changed at UFC 37 when he was faced with Russian kickboxer Amar Suloev. During a wild first round, Suloev landed an illegal knee on Baroni that almost put him out of the fight. Baroni came back though and ended up finishing Suloev off with a series of punches.

Evidently, Suloev’s behavior annoyed Baroni, who collected a small American flag from his corner and began to wave it at the Russian’s team, taunting them, before leaning over the fallen Suloev and letting out a wild hyena laugh that caused them to be furious. Laughing at a fallen opponent is a massive no-no by anyone’s standards and so this was definitely Baroni’s most disrespectful moment.

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#8 Thiago Silva plays the bongos

Thiago Silva played the bongos on Brandon Vera's back

When Thiago Silva faced Brandon Vera at UFC 125, it looked like a tight fight to call. Unfortunately for Vera that didn’t prove to be the case as the stronger, harder-hitting Silva dominated proceedings for all three rounds, breaking Vera’s nose badly to the point where it resembled a beak once the fight was over.

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The lowest point for Vera came in the third round though, when Silva unleashed a classic moment of disrespect. He found himself in control of Vera from behind, with ‘The Truth’ stuck in a crouching position, unable to escape. Silva landed some huge punches from behind before realising Vera was basically trapped, and so he changed his tactic and played the bongos on Vera’s back instead.

The crowd found the moment hilarious, and it only lasted for a handful of moments before Silva went back to pounding on Vera’s head with his fists instead. But it was a moment of tremendous disrespect, made even worse when it was revealed later on that Silva had failed a post-fight drug test for anabolic steroids.

#7 Rousey refuses Tate’s handshake

It’s one thing to be a bad loser inside the Octagon, particularly if your opponent was especially vicious with pre-fight taunting, or if you feel like the judges got a decision wrong. To be a bad winner, however, is another thing entirely and if anything its far worse – you’ve just taken revenge on your opponent so why not bury the hatchet? Unfortunately, nobody gave Ronda Rousey this message at UFC 168.

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Faced with her most bitter rival in Miesha Tate – a woman who had taunted her and her Armenian trainer Edmond Tarverdyan relentlessly for months leading up to the fight – Rousey took her revenge in the best way possible by dominating her opponent leading to a third-round armbar finish. With the fight finally over, Tate looked to end the grudge by shaking Ronda’s hand, acknowledging her as the better fighter.

Rousey though would have none of it, instead completely ignoring Tate to celebrate with her corner. Ronda’s explanation was that Tate was simply playing the good sportswoman for the cameras and would never have shaken her hand otherwise, but still – it would’ve been nice to see Ronda be the more gracious athlete and bury the hatchet, rather than disrespect a tough opponent.

#6 Jon Jones’ crotch chop

Over the years, Jon Jones has become one of the UFC’s most hated villains, and it’s easy to see why. His laundry list of shameful behaviour outside the cage has marred his tremendous fighting skill inside, and he’s also been caught doping on two occasions. But his most disrespectful in-cage moment certainly came against Daniel Cormier at UFC 182.

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The pair had developed one of the most heated rivals in UFC history, stemming from a pre-event press conference that turned into a brawl when Cormier shoved Jones and the champion lunged for him, causing a fracas. Inside the cage, it was Jones who largely dominated proceedings and knowing he was ahead on the scorecards, with seconds to go he decided to get really disrespectful.

Jones threw his arms up in celebration before proceeding to throw some more punches at Cormier, and as the buzzer went, he aimed a classic pro-wrestling taunt at his foe – a crotch chop – and then strutted away to celebrate. Cormier looked like a broken man after the defeat and in a later interview, Jones remarked that he “hoped he was crying somewhere” – doubling down on his disrespect.

#5 Nate Diaz...in general

When you’re talking about disrespect in the UFC, some fighters have been guilty of worse individual moments, but perhaps no fighter has been as consistently disrespectful to his opponents as Nate Diaz. The younger Diaz brother has basically done it all inside the cage, from taunting his opponents with verbal jabs to flipping them off before, during and after the fight, all while becoming one of the UFC’s most popular stars.

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We could discuss Diaz’s myriad moments of disrespect all day long, but the best one would probably have to be his actions during his April 2008 fight with Kurt Pellegrino. A tremendous wrestler/grappler, Pellegrino took Diaz to the ground only to find that he’d bitten off more than he could chew, and Diaz quickly threw his legs up and caught him in a triangle choke.

With the knowledge that the choke was sunk in, Diaz decided to completely disrespect Pellegrino – firstly by flipping him off with a double bird while he was stuck in the hold, before doing a double-biceps flex taunt as his opponent tapped out. It was classic Diaz – unbelievable talent mixed with the ultimate disregard for his opponent’s skills.

#4 Lesnar’s rant at UFC 100

Going into his big rematch with Frank Mir at UFC 100 with the undisputed Heavyweight title on the line, Brock Lesnar had a major chip on his shoulder stemming from their first meeting, when Mir submitted him in the first round with a kneebar. According to Brock, “Frank Mir had a horseshoe up his ass”, whatever that might mean.

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Lesnar made good on his promise to avenge his loss, destroying Mir with a series of caveman punches in the second round to pick up a TKO victory. But it was after the fight that Lesnar really opened people’s eyes. He spat out his mouthpiece and began to rant at Mir, the crowd, and basically anyone who would listen.

When Joe Rogan interviewed him after the fight he said he’d “pulled out the horseshoe and beaten Mir over the head with it” and then went on to take a shot at the UFC’s latest big sponsor Budweiser, before stating that he was going to go home and “get on top of his wife”. It was the ultimate disrespectful rant – to the UFC and to Mir – and only helped to build the outlaw, badass image that Lesnar cultivated to become one of the biggest stars in UFC history.

#3 Ortiz flips off Shamrock

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Tito Ortiz was the biggest star in the UFC for years, and the source of his stardom could be traced back to one of the greatest disrespectful moments in promotional history – way back in 1999, at the height of the UFC’s ‘dark ages’. Faced with the only man to defeat him – Guy Mezger – in a rematch in the main event of UFC 19, Ortiz absolutely hammered Mezger until the referee decided he’d seen enough.

But Tito wasn’t finished. Rather than be a gracious winner, he pulled on an offensive t-shirt that read ‘Gay Mezger is my bitch!’ before turning to Mezger’s corner – primarily his lead trainer and UFC legend Ken Shamrock – and delivering some gun taunting before flipping them off. Shamrock was absolutely furious and had to be restrained from going after the ‘Huntington Beach Bad Boy’.

It was the moment that shot Ortiz to UFC stardom, as he embraced his bad boy image to the full. And a handful of years later, it was the catalyst for a fight between Ortiz and Shamrock that would end up being the UFC’s biggest pay-per-view show to that point, a full two and a half years before the TUF boom sent the promotion mainstream. Who says disrespect doesn’t sell?

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#2 Bisping spits at Rivera’s corner

Going into his clash with British star Michael Bisping at UFC 127, journeyman Jorge Rivera decided to attempt to get under Bisping’s skin by making the fight personal. He recorded a series of videos taunting everything about Bisping, from his fighting style to his family background and his British accent, and it certainly had the desired effect.

Bisping was fired up like never before coming into the fight and he took all of his frustrations out on Rivera, largely outstriking him in the first round before landing a blatantly illegal knee to his downed opponent. Bisping was deducted a point and although Rivera chose to continue, it was clear that he was never going to recover from the shot.

It was no surprise when Bisping finished him with a series of strikes in the second round, but what the Brit did next was a shocker. Not only did he taunt Rivera – telling him to “go home, loser!” – but he also spat at Rivera’s cornermen as he felt they’d been involved in the videos too. The show of disrespect – although arguably warranted – made Bisping into one of the most hated fighters in the whole UFC, a position he went on to largely embrace.

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#1 Daley’s post-fight sucker-punch

The story coming into the fight between Paul Daley and Josh Koscheck at UFC 113 was that it was a match between the UFC’s two biggest bad-boys – the fight for the black hat, Daley put it. When all was said and done, the British striker may have lost the fight, but he was the only one that came away wearing the black hat.

Despite promising a shootout, Koscheck decided to play it smart and used his smothering wrestling game to essentially hold Daley down for the full three rounds, never allowing him to land a clean strike. As the clock ticked down, Koscheck – known for his trash talk – clearly said something to Daley and when the buzzer went, before the referee could step in, the Brit unleashed a sucker-punch on Koscheck as he walked away in celebration.

The move horrified everyone from referee Dan Miragliotta – who restrained Daley – to the anti-Koscheck crowd. It was the biggest moment of disrespect in UFC – and probably MMA – history, and the only thing it earned Daley after the fight was his pink slip. Dana White immediately released him from the promotion and he’s never been back since.

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Edited by
Tanya Rudra
 
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