The UFC is now heading closer and closer to its third decade. With over 500 events in the books, the promotion has its fair share of legends and stories to tell.
In its near three-decade existence, the UFC has been home to some truly amazing storytellers. They're characters who’ve been around the block and seen some crazy and unique things over the years.
These storytellers are renowned for their tall tales based around stories from inside and outside of the octagon. And whether or not they’re somewhat embellished, they’re definitely a lot of fun.
With that in mind, here are five of the best storytellers in UFC history.
#5. Chael Sonnen – former UFC middleweight title contender
One of the greatest storytellers in UFC history is undoubtedly former UFC middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen.
‘The American Gangster’ traveled a genuinely fascinating path when it came to his UFC career. He transformed from a largely anonymous journeyman into not only a high-level contender, but also into one of the best microphone workers in MMA.
Unsurprisingly, for someone so comfortable on the microphone, Sonnen quickly developed into one of the UFC’s best storytellers. It’s a spot he easily retains today despite being retired from MMA since mid-2019.
A fighter who competed during MMA’s ‘Dark Ages’, Sonnen has multiple stories to tell from those days. That includes a bizarre tale about his 2002 fight with Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller at a regional show. According to Sonnen, a double leg takedown saw both men disappear through the ring due to a broken section of plywood.
Other stories told by Sonnen involve supposedly crooked promoters, gangsters who wanted to murder future UFC lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez and fights taken on 15 minutes’ notice.
Are all of Sonnen’s crazy stories true? Who knows. The truth is that it honestly doesn’t matter. ‘The American Gangster’ is so entertaining to listen to that it’s easy to become engrossed in his tales, no matter how tall they might seem to be.
#4. Matt Hughes – former UFC welterweight champion
On the surface of it, you wouldn’t expect former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes to appear anywhere near a list like this.
Despite becoming somewhat of a villainous character towards the back end of his UFC career, for the most part, Hughes was a largely stoic fighter who preferred to do his talking inside the octagon. However, in terms of crazy stories about the UFC, it’s hard to top Hughes’ 2008 autobiography Made in America.
Not only does the book detail some truly crazy stories from Hughes’ childhood, particularly during his college days, but it details plenty about his UFC tenure.
Hughes tells stories about fixing matches in the famed Abu Dhabi grappling competition and picking on Tim Sylvia when he first began training. He also explains how one of his UFC opponents begged him to “take the arm” and submit him to end a prolonged beating.
The most fascinating story, though, details the infamous UFC legend of British fighter-turned-gangster Lee Murray knocking out then-UFC light-heavyweight champ Tito Ortiz on the streets of London in 2002.
Unfortunately, Hughes has never really detailed any of these wild stories verbally. That means that to fans who don’t know a lot about the book, he remains the somewhat stoic fighter he always was. Beneath the surface, though, he’s undoubtedly one of the UFC’s greatest-ever storytellers.
#3. Joe Rogan – current UFC commentator
Given that he’s one of the most popular podcast presenters on the planet, as well as one of the UFC’s longest-tenured commentators, it’s hardly a surprise that Joe Rogan is an excellent storyteller.
However, the sheer amount of crazy stories that Rogan has to tell about his time in the UFC may well stun UFC fans. That's because they often detail plenty of things that haven’t really been touched upon before.
Given that Rogan has been around the UFC since 1997’s UFC 12, it’s clear that he’s seen a lot more inside the UFC than many fans realize. Some of Rogan’s best UFC stories are enough to make anyone raise their eyebrows.
There’s the story about how he accepted a fight in the octagon with actor Wesley Snipes. There's also the time he witnessed Dana White blow, and then win, millions of dollars on the blackjack table. Not to mention when he smoked weed in a hotel room with Jon Jones prior to ‘Bones’ becoming a UFC champion.
As with Chael Sonnen, whether Rogan is always sincere in his stories is a bit of a question mark. However, the former Fear Factor host certainly makes his tales sound wildly entertaining.
And so with that in mind, there’s no disputing that Joe Rogan is one of the greatest storytellers in UFC history.
#2. Michael Bisping – former UFC middleweight champion
Given that his skills on the microphone made him one of the UFC’s biggest villains for the best part of a decade, it’s hardly surprising that Michael Bisping ranks amongst the promotion’s greatest-ever storytellers.
The former UFC middleweight champion seems full of witty quips. It was on full display at UFC Vegas 36 with his subtle put-down of prospect Paddy Pimblett. 'The Count' essentially comes across as a man who can’t resist telling a tall tale.
Like Matt Hughes, many of Bisping’s craziest stories were revealed in his autobiography. Bisping’s Quitters Never Win was released in 2019 and detailed his life in MMA. The stories spanned from his early days fighting in the UK through to his eventual retirement from the UFC in 2017.
Some of the wildest stories in the book will stun any UFC fan, particularly those involving unsavory British gangsters, street fights and home invasions.
But equally interesting are Bisping’s stories from his UFC tenure. They include the way he dealt with his 2009 loss to Dan Henderson and the incident that saw him suffer a serious eye injury at the hands of Vitor Belfort.
Essentially, Bisping can hold the interest of UFC fans like few other fighters can, making him a truly brilliant storyteller.
#1. Dana White – UFC president
As president of the UFC since 2001, it’s hardly surprising that Dana White has plenty of stories to tell about his time with the promotion.
And due to his powerful position, many of these stories form part of the UFC’s overall mythology. That easily makes him easily one of the promotion’s greatest-ever storytellers.
Some of the tales that White has detailed over the years have opened the eyes of fans like few others would be able to. He’s spoken in detail about contract negotiations with fighters, about managers and agents trying to pull power-plays and about how he and the Fertitta brothers came to take over the UFC in the first place.
And of course, White has plenty of wild tales too. He’s gone on record to explain how Liddell once beat up a hotel security guard, winning White $5k in the process. He's also detailed how he walked in on ‘The Iceman’ "having an orgy in a Las Vegas hotel room."
Of course, fans have heard the story about how the UFC’s deal with Spike TV was signed in an alleyway close to the Hard Rock Hotel just minutes after the Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar fight.
Quite how much White embellishes the truth is a major question mark. Some fans would probably accuse him of having a propensity for such things. However, there’s no disputing that the man in charge of the UFC is also one of the promotion’s greatest storytellers.