It’s that time of the year - the holidays are upon us. For many (at least those who still believe), it means it’s time for a visit from Saint Nicholas aka Santa Claus. According to the classic holiday jingle, “Santa Claus is coming to town,” he’ll be making a list checking it twice, in hopes of finding out who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.
However, for the purposes of the article, we are going to take a look and 15 naughty female athletes who may very well wind up with a lump of coal in their stocking from old Santa Claus. That’s right; we are going to take showcase 15 of the most controversial bad girls in the history of professional sports. In many cases, these ladies have earned their reputations through bending the rules, or in some cases, even breaking the law.
Interestingly enough, some of pro sport’s biggest bad girls also happened be some of the most beautiful women you’ll ever see. Moreover, in many cases, they are some of the biggest stars in their respective sports.
While there tends to be a lot of focus on behaving during the holiday season, we shouldn’t totally neglect our favorite bad girls.
With that in mind, here are 15 photos of gorgeous female athletes who aren’t afraid to live on the edge.
15 Hope Solo
Hope Solo was a goalkeeper for the United States women’s national soccer team. She holds several U.S. records including most starts, wins, and shutouts. Solo is also a World Cup champion and a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Her appearances on television shows like Dancing with the Stars have helped make her something a pop culture star. The 5-foot-9 brunette is currently married to former NFL player Jerramy Stevens.
Bad Girl Credentials: Solo’s bad girl rep, to some degree, stems from allegations of domestic violence involving family members. In 2014, she was arrested and charged with two misdemeanor counts of assault. Outside of the incident, she is also known for making controversial statements, such as calling Sweden's team “ a bunch of cowards” in interviews, following the US being eliminated by the Swedes at the 2016 Olympic Games.
14 Maria Sharapova
Russia’s Maria Sharapova is one of the most recognized names on the WTA tour today. The blonde tennis star has won every Grand Slam tournament as a singles player, making her a career Grand Slam winner. The 6-foot-2 Russian has managed to take home over $36.8 million USD in prize money over the course of her career. She is also a former Olympian who captured a silver medal at the 2012 games in London, England. Sharapova is something of an accomplished model who has been featured in publications such as the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Bad Girl Credentials: Despite having turned pro all the way back in 2001, Sharapova only recently joined the bad girl ranks, after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium in 2016. As a result, she was forced to serve a 15-month long suspension.
13 Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey is a mixed martial artist who largely responsible for the sport's biggest promotion, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, creating a women’s division. She won her first 12 professional fights against top-ranked competition, ending every contest by either submission or knockout. She captured the UFC Bantamweight Championship and became the face of women’s MMA. In 2015, Rousey suffered an upset loss, via head kick knockout, at the hands of Holly Holm. The result was (and still is) considered one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. The 5-foot-7 blonde would go to lose her next contest (via 1st round TKO) to the current champ, Amanda Nunes, back in December of 2016. She has not fought since.
Bad Girl Credentials: In her autobiography, Rousey recalled an incident where she allegedly assaulted an ex-boyfriend, which sparked a debate about double standards, when discussing domestic violence.
If you were a wrestling fan in the late '90s, then you will likely recall former WWE (then WWF) manager and on-air personality Tammy Lynn Sytch, who performed under the ring name, Sunny. She managed several acts during the course of her WWE run, including The Legion of Doom and her real-life boyfriend, Chris Candido (aka Skip). In 2011, she was formally inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Bad Girl Credentials: Out of all the ladies on our list, one could argue that Sunny is the biggest bad girl of them all. Besides performing in adult-oriented films, Sunny has had several run-ins with the law. In fact, back in 2012, she was arrested five times. The charges ranged from burglary to disorderly conduct. She was arrested again, in January 2016, this time on DUI-related charges.
Tenille Dashwood is better known by her World Wrestling Entertainment ring name, Emma. The 5-foot-5 Australian began wrestling when she was just 13 years of age. She would eventually go on to sign a contract with WWE in 2011. Emma had a fairly successful run in the company’s developmental promotion NXT. However, she had limited success during her two stints on the promotions main roster. She expressed her displeasure with how she was being used in WWE, which may have played a role in her being released in late-October of this year.
Bad Girl Credentials: In 2014 she was arrested in Harford, Connecticut for allegedly shoplifting at a local Walmart. Apparently, she forgot to pay for an iPod case at the self-checkout line. She was originally released by WWE for the incident, before the company reconsidered, shortly after.
10 Tonya Harding
Tonya Harding was an Olympic figure skater and pro boxer. As a skater, she is arguably best known for being the first woman to complete a triple axel in short program. She was a 1991 U.S. champion, and also took home a silver medal at the World Championships that year. After beating Paula Jones (former US President Bill Clinton's alleged ex-mistress) in a celebrity boxing match, she decided to go pro. The 5-foot-1 blonde went 3-3 as a professional pugilist, before calling it quits in 2004.
Bad Girl Credentials: In truth, Harding is better known for her alleged involvement in the attack of rival figure skater Nancy Kerrigan in 1994, then any of her athletic accomplishment. Her (now) ex-husband hired a man to hit Kerrigan in the leg with a nightstick, in order to prevent her from competing. Harding’s level of involvement in the incident is a subject of debate to this day.
9 Cris Cyborg
Cristiane Justino Venancio, often referred to as Cris Cyborg, is arguably the most feared woman in the sport of mixed martial arts. After losing her first professional fight in 2005, she has since gone undefeated. Her record currently stands at 18-1-1. In truth,she has been dominate since her first lost and has finished the majority her opponents via 1st round stoppage. The 5-foot-8 Brazilian is the current UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion and is scheduled to face Holly Holm, arguably her toughest test to date, on December 30th.
Bad Girl Credentials: In 2012, Cyborg tested positive for stanozol, a type of anabolic steroid. The test resulted in a year suspension and $2,500 fine for the current UFC champ. She was also allegedly involved in an out of cage altercation with fellow fighter Angel Magana.
8 Anna Chicherova
35-year-old Anna Chicherova is an Olympic high jumper out of Russia. The 5-foot-11 brunette captured a bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, China. Four years later, Chicherova would return to the London Olympics in 2012, where she would go on to win a gold medal. Outside of the Olympics, the high jumper won the 2011 World Championships and was the runner-up in 2007 and 2009.
Bad Girl Credentials: In 2016, it was announced that Chicherova has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, based on the results found in her re-test samples from the 2008 Summer Olympics. She tested positive for a drug known as Turinabol, which is a type of anabolic steroid. As a result, Chicherova was stripped of her Olympic bronze medal.
7 Carina Damm
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Brazilian mixed martial artist Carina “Barbie” Damm has been fighting professionally since October of 2014. She has shared the cage with top female fighters such as Cat Zingano, Jessica Eye, and Tonya Evinger. At 38 years of age, the veteran's record now stands at 23-14, after losing 4 of her last 5 bouts. Before folks like Ronda Rousey and Paige VanZant arrived on the MMA scene, it was Damm who was recognized as one the sports hottest females.
Bad Girl Credentials: Over the course of her career, Damm was failed not one, but two drug tests. In 2008 she tested positive for steroid Nandrolone ( also called Decaburabolin). She got busted a second time for allegedly submitting fake urine samples, before her 2013 bout with Jessica Eye.
6 Elena Nikitina
A native of Moscow, Russia, Elena Nikitina competes in a sport called skeleton. For those unfamiliar, skeleton is a winter sledding sport. Unlike other popular sledding sports, such as the luge, skeleton racing only requires one person. It was permanently added to the Winter Olympic Games in 2002. Elite skeleton racers can reach speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. After winning the European Championships in 2013, Nikitina went on capture a bronze medal of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Bad Girl Credential: Those who have followed the recent Russian Olympic doping scandals probably have a pretty good idea where this is headed. Yep, Elena Nikitina failed a drug test. As a result, the 5-foot-6 beauty was officially stripped of her Olympic medal on November 22, 2017.
5 Serena Williams
Saginaw, Michigan’s Serena Williams very well may be the greatest female tennis player of all-time. She has won an eye-popping 23 Grand Slams, as a singles competitor which is the Open Era record. The 36-year-old also has 14 Grand Slam doubles titles to her credit. Since turning pro in September of 1995, the 5-foot-9 tennis pro has managed to win over $84 million, which is by far the largest amount for a female player. To put it into perspective, her sister Venus ranks 2nd on the list of highest earners with just under $40 million.
Bad Girl Credentials: Back in 2009 Williams made headlines for yelling profanity at a line judge during a US Open match against Kim Clijsters. As punishment, she was suspended from the US Open the following year, put on probation, and fined $82,500.
4 Olga Kaniskina
Russia’s Olga Kaniskina is former Olympic race walker. Race walking is a long distance contest similar to traditional track and field races. However, the primary difference is that in race walkers are required to keep one foot on the ground at all times. The races range from 1.8 miles, all the way up to 62.1 miles. Kaniskina won a silver medal at the 2006 European Championships, a gold medal at the 2007 World Championships, on her way to winning gold at the 2008 Olympic Games. The 32-year-old would return to the Olympic Games in 2012, this time capturing a silver medal.
Bad Girl Credentials: Kaniskina was suspended for doping violations, for which she received a suspension lasting three years and two months, in October of 2012. While she was stripped of some titles, Kaniskina was allowed to keep her Olympic medals.
3 Alex Morgan
California’s Alex Morgan is arguably the face of United States women’s national soccer team. The 5-foot-7 brunette striker helped her team win Olympic Gold at the 2012 London games. Morgan and her teammates also won the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Morgan's play on the court and marketable appearance, have helped her land endorsement deals with companies like Coca-Cola, Nike, and McDonald's. When the 28-year-old isn’t competing as a member of the national team, she is playing for the Orlando Pride in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
Bad Girl Credentials: Morgan was in the news last October after being a part of a group of athletes that were thrown out of the Disney theme park, Epcot. The soccer star was allegedly yelling, screaming, and appeared to be impaired (drunk).
2 Charlotte Flair
Ashley Fliehr is a professional wrestler who performs under the ring name Charlotte Flair. The 31-year-old also happens to be the daughter of wrestling legend “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. The 5-foot-10 blonde in the midst of a legendary career in her own right and is a five-time Women's champ and onetime Divas Champion. Charlotte Flair also has the distinction of being the first female (along with Sasha Banks) to headline a WWE pay-per-view, when she did so at Hell in a Cell, back in 2016. She is widely regarded as one of the top female performers in the wrestling industry.
Bad Girl Credentials: In 2008 she was arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer, following a fight with her husband at the time and father. She pleaded guilty to lesser charges and ended up with supervised probation and a $200 fine.
1 Martina Hingis
Recently retired tennis star Martina Hingis was a star on the WTA tour for well over 20 years. During that span, she has ranked number one in the world as both a singles and doubles player. Moreover, the Swiss beauty also won every Grand Slam tournament, with the exception of the French Open, as a singles athlete. The 5-foot- 7 starlet also managed to win every Grand Slam and even an Olympic silver medal as a doubles player. Hingis will retire with over $24 million in prize money.
Bad Girl Credentials: Back in November of 2007, Martina Hingis allegedly tested positive for benzoylecgonine, which is a metabolite of cocaine. The amount found her system was low, but the incident still resulted in Hingis being dealt a two-year suspension.