The Ultimate Fighting Championship is supposedly the top mixed martial arts organization in the world today and a promotion that, theoretically, should feature the best male and female fighters on the planet. As those who are passionate fans of the sport know, however, the UFC has showcased fighters who never should have stepped foot in the Octagon for an exhibition, let alone for a real battle, throughout its history. In some cases, the UFC merely needed bodies for shows during the early years of its existence or for television programs meant to hype better fighters. Then, there were the times the UFC booked fights only because one of two of the fighters involved in the contest were recognizable names to casual would-be customers who otherwise would have ignored a certain Pay-Per-View event.
It probably isn't a surprise to any knowledgeable person that two of the worst UFC fighters who never should have stepped foot in the Octagon were, in reality, not respected MMA combatants. One is a former World Wrestling Entertainment Superstar who was signed by the UFC because of his name alone, and that person probably should not have been allowed to have a spot on any Pay-Per-View program. Another is a boxer who was thoroughly humiliated when he stepped foot in the Octagon during a UFC show. The hope, in the future, is that the UFC will be better about the individuals the promotion allows to fight, although the company will likely understandably always put smart business decisions ahead of doing what is right for the sport.
15 Joe Son
We begin the list with Joe Son for multiple reasons. For starters, he played the role of Random Task in the movie Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Son also happens to be one of two fighters mentioned in this piece who suffered defeats to Keith Hackney in the UFC.
14 Rolles Gracie Jr.
You couldn't be blamed for being surprised to see the Gracie name on a list of fighters who never should have stepped foot in the Octagon. Sometimes, the apple, sadly, falls far from the tree. Rolles Gracie Jr. was unable to live up to the expectations that come with having such a legendary last name, as he lost to Joey Beltran via TKO at UFC 109.
13 Jason “Mayhem” Miller
Jason “Mayhem” Miller deserves credit for making a name, not to mention money, for himself via his unique personality and his involvement with the MTV program Bully Beatdown. Miller was more of a television host than a true UFC fighter, however, even though he did manage to earn an impressive record for himself when fighting outside of the company.
12 Seth Petruzelli
Seth Petruzelli was somewhat unlucky in that he became famous among casual fans and viewers when he dismantled Kimbo Slice at an EliteXC show in October 2008 so easily some assumed there had to be some behind-the-scenes shenanigans involved in the contest's outcome. It turns out Petruzelli was that much better than Slice but still not good enough to hang in the UFC. He already had a pair of losses on his UFC resume when the promotion gave him a second chance leading up to UFC 116, but the company moved on from Petruzelli after he suffered two more losses.
His career now serves as proof that the quality of fighters in smaller promotions not associated with the UFC is unquestionably worse than what you'll see in the top fighting organization in the world.
11 Art Jimmerson
You may not immediately be familiar with the name Art Jimmerson, but odds are you have seen either pictures or video highlights of his lone UFC encounter. Jimmerson, a boxer, famously wore a single boxing glove for his fight versus Royce Gracie at UFC 1, a decision that did not help his cause for the couple of minutes that he lasted before he was finished off by Gracie.
10 Jack May
On paper, Jack May has the goods to become a star in the Heavyweight Division of a promotion. Per Sherdog, he checks in at 6-foot-8, and he could have knockout power if he were able to develop his strikes to the point where he could land shots against top-tier talents. The problem here is that May quickly flamed out of the UFC after only a pair of losses.
9 Yoji Anjo
CM Punk was hardly the first pro wrestler to learn that making the transition to life in the UFC from a career inside the ring can be rather difficult. Yoji Anjo was an accomplished pro wrestler who had worked in Japan when the UFC gave him a chance to compete at the Ultimate Japan show that occurred in December 1997. Anjo lost to David “Tank” Abbott at the event, which is somewhat ironic because Abbott eventually joined up with World Championship Wrestling before the end of the decade.
8 Ruan Potts
In recent memory, the UFC has failed to build a Heavyweight Division filled with a wide depth of talented competitors. Ruan Potts began his career with wins in eight of his first nine fights, but it did not take long to learn the fighters he faced in Africa were not at the level of those worthy of earning UFC contracts.
7 Gabe Ruediger
Those of you out there trying to remember why the name Gabe Ruediger seems familiar need only think back to what occurred during The Ultimate Fighter Season 5. Ruediger, who had one UFC fight under his belt at the time, thought it wise to eat ice cream cake leading up to his first fight of the season, a decision that resulted in him missing weight and ultimately being booted from the show by UFC boss Dana White.
6 John Alessio
John Alessio has gone by the nickname “The Natural” during his fighting career, but he proved to be anything but a natural during multiple stints in the UFC. Alessio lost his debut encounter in the promotion back in June 2000, he suffered a pair of defeats in 2006 and he was released from the UFC after he lost two additional fights in 2012.
5 Sean Gannon
It's another example of the UFC signing a guy because he earned himself a name among some Internet users for beating Kimbo Slice. After Sean Gannon defeated Slice in an unsanctioned brawl, the UFC put pen to paper on a contract with the Boston Police Department officer hoping he could bring some publicity to the company.
4 Emanuel Yarbrough
Dedicated fight fans who have followed the UFC since the company's first Pay-Per-View shows probably remember Emanuel Yarbrough as the former sumo wrestler who lost to the much smaller Keith Hackney at UFC 3. The promotion, simply put, needed bodies and guys willing to compete in a sport many honestly didn't fully understand in September 1994.
3 Kimbo Slice
Even when Kimbo Slice managed to notch a victory over Houston Alexander at The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale, it was pretty clear the man who made his name as a famous street brawler featured in YouTube videos lacked the skills needed to compete with some of the top fighters in the world and in the UFC. Slice's second official UFC fight occurred at UFC 113 when he faced off with Matt Mitrione, but that contest, like the majority of Slice's MMA career, was more hype than substance. Mitrione defeated Slice in the second round via TKO, and the UFC quickly and wisely decided to move on from the Slice experiment.
2 CM Punk
You have to give former WWE Champion CM Punk credit for being willing to take a risk, leave his pro wrestling career behind and attempt to make it in the UFC after he signed with the company in late 2014.
1 James Toney
The UFC was a different promotion still struggling for acceptance among casual sports fans when the organization gave boxer James Toney an opportunity to fight Randy Couture at UFC 118. This proved to be a delightful encounter for MMA fans wanting to see the boxer get humbled inside of the Octagon, as Couture dominated the match en route to winning via submission before the halfway point of the opening round.
While this booking decision generated plenty of international headlines for the UFC, the fact remains Toney never should have been allowed to step foot into the Octagon, and the company is lucky Couture wasn't looking to injure his opponent on this night. Go back and watch these couple of minutes of “action” if you still believe Floyd Mayweather should ever fight in the UFC.
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