It’s difficult to create stars in the fight game. If a promoter finds that person with the right look and bundles of charisma, it won’t mean anything if they can’t deliver in that ring – or in the UFC’s case, The Octagon.
The UFC has a strong track record in building stars over their 25 years of business; Chuck Liddell, Georges St. Pierre, Ronda Rousey and most recently – Conor McGregor have become mainstream names.
However, there are those who didn’t become mega draws the UFC hoped for due to their performances inside the cage and out.
Let’s look at the top five biggest flops in UFC history, ranked in descending order.
#5 Alistair Overeem
Alistair Overeem entered the UFC with a lot of hype; he held titles in both MMA and kickboxing at the same time. To snap up ‘The Reem’, UFC offered him a big money contract.
In his first fight, UFC matched him up with their biggest draw, Brock Lesnar. The clash of behemoths underperformed on PPV, partially due to UFC’s decision to have this card on Friday night instead of Saturday.
Overeem’s first slip occurred outside the cage when he failed a pre-fight drug test. He was scheduled to challenge for the heavyweight title.
Overeem was slapped with a year’s suspension. On his return, ‘The Reem’ went 1-3 in his next four fights, he was looking like a costly mistake.
Overeem turned it around and won his next four bouts, earning him a heavyweight title shot. He lost that bout to champion Stipe Miocic.
After the fight, Miocic’s complaint that Overeem made more money than him despite the match being in the champ’s hometown (Miocic made $600,000 while Overeem netted $800,000).
Last December, Overeem was KO’d by rising star Francis Ngannou. On the upcoming UFC 225 event, Overeem is matched up with another blue chipper, Curtis Blaydes.
‘The Reem’ has earned over $6 million since his UFC debut in Dec 2011. He’s currently ranked fifth all-time in career earnings.
Overeem’s record in the UFC is decent, and the bouts he’s been in have been reasonably entertaining, but the UFC surely expected more with that investment.