WME-IMG bought UFC for $4 billion in 2016 and we’ve already seen the effects of the deal. Long time bookmaker Joe Silva and announcer Mike Goldberg are no longer with the company but one man still is, Dana White. Regardless of which company owns UFC, the image of the brand and sales are the most important things at the end of the day.
Just because the UFC has reached mainstream culture doesn’t mean there aren’t critics of the company and MMA in general. While White and UFC promote their brand as a friendly and exciting product, detractors want to convince you that it’s not okay to reward violence. With the UFC having a long history, many incidents have happened involving former and current employees of the company. White and the UFC would rather fans not remember or check out these incidents, especially novices who are on the fence about the sport.
For a long time, UFC had a stigma of being that ugly duckling. White has spent years making the UFC brand what it is today and he doesn’t tolerate anyone who will tarnish that brand. Like all companies, the UFC isn’t perfect, but they try their best to make you believe so.
15 Yoel Romero's "Accident"
Yoel Romero did nothing wrong, unless he purposely decided to poop himself to distract his opponent Derek Brunson at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Philippou. You can even make the case he was the victim of a bad combination of chili and beans. Regardless, human waste isn’t attractive and people will be turned off from the sport if these type of incidents happen more often. Also, you don’t want people laughing and being distracted from the actual fight.
14 Chuck Liddell Going Night Night
Chuck "Iceman" Liddell was focused and energetic inside a UFC octagon, however, the same cannot be said when promoting a movie on a television show. Representing the UFC and promoting the movie 300, Liddell sleept through questions on WFAA’s Good Morning Texas back in 2007. It was a pretty embarrassing moment for Liddell and the UFC as the former champion would be seen slurring words and falling asleep.
13 UFC 33: Victory to Vegas
It’s considered the worst UFC card ever under Dana White and the UFC would rather you didn't watch the event. At the time, MMA was still a mystery to many in the United States and this card did not help bring in new consumers. In fact, it did the exact opposite as many complained about the slow paced, boring fights. It was Zuffa’s third show and first in Las Vegas, so the company tried to stack the card with multiple title fights.
12 That Family Member You Never Talk About
Even though Joe Son never had a contract under Dana White, the former actor is still part of the UFC family history. Son would be a corner man for Kimo Leopoldo at UFC 3 and would make his debut as a black belt at UFC 4. He proclaimed his Jo Son Do style was the best, however, he would lose to Keith Hackney in the first round of the tournament. His match was a brutal one as Hackney would legally strike his groin multiple times before submitting Son.
11 Don't Mess With Arianny
The UFC doesn’t just care about their fighters staying out trouble, but all employees. Arianny Celeste is arguably their most popular ring girl and has been with the company since 2006. In 2012, Celeste was partying before getting into a brawl with her boyfriend Praveen Chandra. Allegedly, the couple fought in a Wynn hotel room which led to the arrest of Celeste and Chandra.
10 The Fight Before The Fight
Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier might be the biggest rivalry in the sport because both legitimately hate each other’s guts, but the fans only have seen one match between them. Jones was supposed to have a rematch against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 182 but the fight never happened due to Gustafsson pulling out. The Olympian Cormier then replaced Gustafsson and trash talking began to commence.
9 Unsportsmanlike Conduct
The UFC wants sportsmanship just as much as a fitting rivalry where two fighters hate each other. Sportsmanship in MMA shows critics that fighters aren’t barbarians and can control their actions. Sometimes, a fighter that submits another doesn’t let go of the hold. This leads to bad publicity and a stain on the fight. The most famous case in the UFC is Renato Sobral versus David Heath at UFC 74.
8 A Crazy War Machine
Only the more dedicated fans of the sport knew who War Machine was when his face was plastered all over the internet after it became news that he tried to kill his girlfriend at the time, former adult star Christy Mack. He wasn’t in the UFC, but he did have a contract with the company years before the incident. Even though he wasn’t with the UFC, it’s still a bad image for everyone in the MMA world.
7 The Cheap Shot
As we earlier mentioned with Sobral, sportsmanship is something the UFC does take seriously, even though they love a lot of trash talking to build up a fight. What Paul Daley did at UFC 113 is one of the craziest things a fighter ever did after a match was called. Daley can trash talk and he was up against another trash talker in Josh Koscheck.
6 Going On A Rampage
Rampage Jackson made a name for himself when he fought in the former Japanese promotion, Pride Fighting Championship, and by the time he made it to the UFC in 2007, he was a legit star. Jackson’s personality and ability to knock people out made him one of the best fighters in the UFC but in 2008, he was involved in a hairy situation. In the same month, he lost the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship to Forrest Griffin and was involved in a wild car chase with police in California.
5 UFC 167 Post Press Conference
Georges St-Pierre was arguably the best fighter in the UFC before his retirement in 2013. He’s the most dominant Welterweight Champion ever and has won numerous awards for his performances. His blood, sweat, and tears have paved the way for many athletes. That’s why it was shocking when Dana White blasted GSP after his last match, a successful title defense against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167.
4 Classless Jokes
Miguel Torres was a scrappy fighter and pretty successful when he was in UFC’s sister promotion WEC. He would sport an outstanding record of 38-3 before the WEC roster merged with the UFC in 2010. The former WEC Bantamweight Champion went 2-2 before being released by the company. The UFC needs their brand to look squeaky clean and when Torres decided to make a sexual assault joke on Twitter, Dana White fired him.
3 The Fall Of Jon Jones
While Conor McGregor has become the face of the UFC, there still is one fighter out there that should be considered the best pound-for-pound athlete in the UFC and his name is Jon Jones. However, Jones is his own worst enemy. The gifted Light Heavyweight contender has won every match except for a disqualification against Matt Hamill years ago. This photo basically sums up the fall of Jon Jones.
2 McGregor Looking Weak
Conor McGregor kept the UFC afloat in 2016 when he would be involved in one crazy feud with Nate Diaz. Just like Ronda Rousey, McGregor was on an unbelievable path of fame and success demolishing his opponents. UFC 196 had McGregor booked but they needed another fighter on short notice after Rafael dos Anjos got hurt. Diaz took the fight and he proved many critics wrong when he beat McGregor with a rear-naked-choke in the second round.
1 Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey can retire today and will still go down as a legend because she’s a pioneer for women's MMA. The way she executed a judo toss into an arm bar was like seeing Michael Jordan dunk from the foul line or watching Tom Brady throw a game-winning touchdown. She transcended the sport and became a household name, even to the casual fans.
The UFC needed Rousey’s success to continue because her PPV sales were as good as the ones posted by Conor McGregor and Brock Lesnar. Everything came crashing down when Rousey ran into a buzz saw named Holly Holm. At UFC 193, Holm would beat Rousey in convincing fashion and Amanda Nunes would do the same at UFC 207. It looks like the Rousey moneymaking machine may be officially over.
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