Ten Infamous UFC Controversies
“I’m a white boy and I’m jacked!” So boasted Brock Lesnar ahead of his hotly-anticipated return to the UFC. But if ‘The Beast’ emerged from his bout with Kiwi Mark Hunt victorious, the results of a 28th June drug test suggest that the multi-event sportsman fought ‘The Super Samoan’ with a banned substance in his bloodstream. So while the former WWE heavyweight champion contemplates a possible two-year ban, now’s as good a time as any to look at those occasions when the Ultimate Fighting Championship has made headlines for entirely the wrong reasons.
10) Balls to the lot of you!
Although it’s now fairly tightly regulated, in the early days of the UFC, fighters could pretty much do anything they wanted in the ring. Hence the extraordinary sight at UFC 4 of kenpo exponent Keith Hackney defeating Korea’s Joe Son – aka Random Task from the first Austen Powers movie – by striking him repeatedly in the bollocks. Should you find yourself feeling sorry for Son, please refrain from doing so – convicted for murder and torture in 2011, his life sentence was later extended after he killed his cell’mate’.
9) The Killing Choke
Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobral courted controversy the way Casanova courted the female population of Europe. As for his career nadir, look no further than UFC 74 where he defeated David Heath with an anaconda choke. Being a dickhead of the highest order, Babalu refused to release the hold after his opponent tapped out. Indeed, he didn’t free Heath until after he’d passed out from hypoxia, a potentially lethal condition. Babalu claimed that he was trying to teach Heath respect. UFC President Dana White in turn taught Sobral a lesson by firing him.
8) The drugs don’t work
The moment it turned out Brock Lesnar might have traces of steroids in his urine, his UFC 200 opponent Mark Hunt (below, right) didn’t hesitate to describe Lesnar as “a cheat” and demand the Minnesotan’s record-breaking $1.9 million purse. All of which sounds a tad excessive. Hunt, however, has been burnt by drugged opponents before, the lustre of his landmark draw with the legendary Anderson Silva having been tarnished by ‘Bigfoot’ subsequently testing positive for elevated testosterone. Amazingly Silva still fights for the UFC, suggesting that the federation isn’t taking seriously this most serious of issues.
7) Grease isn’t the word
In the pantheon of UFC feuds, BJ Penn v Georges St-Pierre deserves a wing all of its own. The reason for this is UFC 94’s ‘Greasegate’ fiasco. With GSP having won their first encounter, Penn was desperate to extract both revenge and the Canadian’s title belt. Only problem was, BJ couldn’t get hold of his opponent. Informing the referee that he was convinced St-Pierre was covered in petroleum jelly, Penn eventually quit in frustration. Sour grapes claimed many, or at least they did until Dana White told The Canadian Press he had no doubt Penn’s allegations were true.
6) Don’t cross the boss
He might have been UFC light heavyweight champion but Tito Ortiz (below, left) had a super heavyweight ego. And if he had nothing but contempt for his rivals, ‘The People’s Champ’ endured an epic hate-hate relationship with President Dana White (below, right). Things got so bad between the pair that White – a keen pugilist – challenged his champ to a boxing match. Come the day of the weigh-in – 24th March 2007 – Ortiz was nowhere to be found. And if looking like a coward wasn’t bad enough, White verbally KO’d Ortiz when he proclaimed, “I used to beat the shit out of Tito!”
Update – On 19th July, USADA, the US Anti-Doping Agency, informed the UFC that Brock Lesnar failed a second drug test on 9th July, the night he fought Mark Hunt at UFC 200. The illegal substance Lesnar is said to have had in his bloodstream is yet to be identified.