UFC Fight Night 143 hit the headlines for all sorts of reasons this past weekend; not least because of the controversial finish to the Greg Hardy versus Allen Crowder bout which saw former NFL star, Hardy received a rare disqualification, denying him a win in his UFC debut.
For a sport that was initially marketed as having "No rules", the UFC always has had some. Even way back at UFC 1 in November 1993, there was no eye gouging or fish hooking allowed. As the UFC has moved forward and gained acceptance as a mainstream sport from State Athletic Commissions, it has introduced weight classes and a much more detailed rule book to ensure the safety of all fighters is 100% paramount.
It appears the controversial Hardy has not finished reading said rule book as he was on the wrong end of a DQ decision when he earlier looked like winning the fight.
Hardy struck a downed Crowder with a knee to the head which is illegal due to how dangerous a move it is.
Despite what many observers may think about Hardy personally and his past transgressions are in the public domain for people to make up their own mind, it genuinely seems as if the offending blow was not meant as a cheap advantage, but due simply to the fact he did not know the move was not allowed.
Which is incredible when you think about it. The fault for these negative headlines lies squarely with UFC for booking such an inexperienced fighter (this is his fourth pro fight, and prior to this bout had only spent around two minutes inside an MMA ring) in a featured spot on a major card.
Hardy will get another chance but it may take a while for him to shake off the image as a short cut taker.
However, Hardy is not the first man to find himself on the wrong side of a DQ in the UFC far from it. SK revisits five occasions from the UFC's past where a fighter has lost a fight via DQ.
#5 Frank Mir vs Wes Sims - UFC 43 (June 6, 2003)
Way back in 2003, Wes Sims's loss to Frank Mir bore more than a passing resemblance to the Greg Hardy DQ from UFC Fight Night 143.
Early in the fight, the smaller Mir attempted to lock in an armbar on the giant Sims. Sims's escape from the hold was quite incredible. Sims used his superior strength to hoist Mir up and drop him to the mat to release the hold. With Mir on the mat, the six feet 10 inch Sims let emotion take over.
To the shock of everybody watching, Sims grabbed hold of the fence, his first violation of the rulebook and proceeded to stomp on the fallen Mir again and again. For any fans of pro-wrestling, there was more than a hint of Stone Cold Steve Austin stomping a mudhole here.
Mir had no answer to the unexpected assault and the referee interjected. Sims thought he had won and was annoyed to find he had been disqualified.
It was a dangerous display. Mir exacted a measure of revenge at UFC 46 when he defeated Sims in a one-sided re-match via legal Knockout.
#4 Matt Riddle vs Greg Soto - UFC 111 (March 27, 2010)
Matt Riddle is currently wrestling for WWE's NXT brand. Prior to that, he was a semi-successful MMA fighter in the UFC. Back at UFC 111, he was looking to bounce back from his first career loss to Nick Osipczak at UFC 105 four months earlier.
Although he would receive another notch in the win column, he was not happy with the manner of his "victory" and for good reason.
As Riddle escaped from Greg Soto's guard, Soto smashed him with a vicious up kick that put Riddle out. The problem being that Riddle was on his knees. As doctors attended Riddle, the youngster had no memory of what had happened. That was enough for them to stop the fight and the decision was made to disqualify Soto.
A deeply unsatisfactory way to end what had been an entertaining bout but the powers that be upheld the UFC's rules admirably here.
#3 CB Dollaway vs Hector Lombard - UFC 222 (March 13, 2018)
The first round of the preliminary bout had passed without incident and was set up to be a decent encounter. However, when the buzzer sounded to signal the end of the first round, Lombard threw some punches at Dollaway. With his defences down, Dollaway was visibly rocked by the assault.
Former UFC fighters such as Chael Sonnen and other observers have stated that Dollaway should have kept his defences up until the referee intervened to send both men back to their respective corners, however, there was no need for Lombard to throw punches after the buzzer and the DQ loss was merited.
If ever a re-match was needed, it is to settle the score between these two.
#2 Matt Hamill vs Jon Jones - The Ultimate Fighter Finale (December 5, 2009)
Jon Jones has had a controversial career for all sorts of different reasons. However, one controversy came during his one and only defeat as a professional fighter.
That came a decade ago, during the finale of the tenth season of UFC's Ultimate Fighter series in which he took on Matt Hamill.
Jones by his own admission learnt a lot of his creative offence from YouTube videos and his elbows in this fight appeared to be directly lifted from some dodgy online content.
However, it is perplexing that Jones had to use them in the first place. With Hamill clearly beaten and defenceless on the mat, Jones pounded on him relentlessly with punches. Jones paused momentarily to see if the referee was going to stop the fight.
When referee, Steve Mazzagatti was unmoved, Jones decided to use elbows instead to force the stoppage and in doing so, used illegal ones, which ironically caused him to be disqualified.
The letter of the law was followed but in truth, this was a mess of a finish.
#1 Allen Crowder vs Greg Hardy - UFC Fight Night 143 (January 19, 2019)
That brings us to the most recent rule violation. Greg Hardy's disqualification loss served to demonstrate nothing more than a complete lack of experience on his part in the professional fighting arena. He had fought for a combined time of just two minutes prior to his UFC bow and his inexperience showed in an unskilled performance that did not match the hype that preceded his contest with the unheralded Allen Crowder.
Few had even heard of Crowder before this bout and the UFC had done everything possible to ensure that the former NFL star could win his UFC debut.
However, his inexperience told and after a scrappy contest, Hardy used knees on his grounded opponent to draw the DQ loss.
The bout evoked memories of former celebrity UFC fighters such as CM Punk and James Toney who were over-matched and embarrassed in their UFC bouts due to a lack of skill and experience. Hardy will get another chance but prior to his loss, offered very little to suggest that MMA is the career for him.