In general, we’re pretty lucky that so many MMA fights are as awesome as they are. There’s 1001 ways to stink shit up in the ring, from refusing to engage to lay’n’praying to stalling to … eh, I dunno. Go back and watch a Tim Sylvia fight and you’ll see what I mean. Boxing went from being full of amazing fights to full of shitty ones. Will MMA go the same way eventually? I don’t know, but here’s hoping that shaming the participants in truly rank fights will keep them from becoming the norm. Here are your nominees for worst fight of 2008:
Mike Swick vs Josh Burkman at UFC Fight Night 12, January 23rd
This was a huge fight for both competitors and the first time either had headlined a card. Many were expecting fireworks between the two … ‘Quick’ Swick vs ‘The People’s Warrior’ Burkman, what could go wrong? A lot, apparently. Here’s a complete analysis of the entire fight: 15 minutes of Burkman holding Swick against the fence attempting a takedown while Swick defended. That’s it, that’s all. Swick won the majority decision which featured one judge scoring the fight a 29-29 draw.
Kalib Starnes vs Nate Quarry at UFC 83, April 19th
Who can forget the match that looked more like a track meet than a fight? Kalib Starnes ran himself out of the UFC by spending three rounds stuck in reverse, constantly backing away from his opponent. To his credit, Quarry did his best to corner Starnes but in the end gave up trying to engage and spent the final minute of the bout mocking Kalib. Starnes lost the bout via decision, with one judge scoring the fight 30-24.
Mirko Crocop vs Alistair Overeem at DREAM.6, September 23rd
With DREAM’s ratings at an all time low, the promotion needed to pull off a big main event fight that would give it a shot in the arm. A heavyweight bout between Mirko Crocop and Alistair Overeem was set up in the hopes of recreating some PRIDE heavyweight magic. Instead, the fight was stopped six minutes into the contest after Overeem repeatedly kneed Crocop in the balls.
Anderson Silva vs Patrick Cote at UFC 90, October 25th
A fight between two hard hitters should have been a surefire recipe for a slugfest. Instead Anderson Silva spent two rounds dancing around the cage before Patrick Cote’s knee gave out at the start of the third, resulting in one of the most disappointing matches of the year. Critics tore Anderson Silva apart, accusing him of toying with Cote and not taking the fight seriously.
Kim Couture vs Lina Kvokov at Strikeforce Destruction, November 21st
Rumor has it this fight only made it onto the televised portion of the Strikeforce card because HDNet pressured Strikeforce into doing it. That’s too bad, because the fight didn’t even deserve to be on a Strikeforce card at all, let alone the televised portion. If you took every pigheaded and negative attitude about women’s MMA and condensed it into one fight, it would look like Kim Couture vs Lina Kvokov. Couture was only featured because of her name, Kvokov was only featured because she was an easy victim for Couture, and it only gets worse from there.
A clearly afraid Kvokov spent the majority of the fight with her back turned to Couture, trying to avoid strikes. When she wasn’t pulling away she was covering up, and the ref had to step in and save her only 1:44 into the first round. It was an abomination of a fight and a disservice not only to other female fighters but all MMA fighters working their asses to get a shot in an organization like Strikeforce.
Paulo Filho vs Chael Sonnen 2 at WEC 36, December 5th
The first time these two met resulted in an exciting match with a controversial ending. Those expecting more of the same from the rematch were disappointed when a seemingly disoriented Paulo Filho refused to engage and spent half the match muttering in Portuguese to an invisible listener. Even the commenters were baffled by Filho’s behavior, wondering aloud if Paulo was “talking to Jesus or someone in the middle of the ring. Who is in there talking to him?” The crowd turned ugly halfway through the second round, chanting obscenities at the fighters for the remainder of the match.
Honorable Mentions: Brandon Vera vs Reese Andy, Matt Lindland vs Fabio Negao, Frank Trigg vs Falaniko Vitale.