Well, the UFC certainly deserves all the credit in the world of mixed martial arts sports. One of the iconic things that separate the UFC from professional wrestling is their honesty and simplicity. The players can speak their own mind and fight in their own style.
However, after the UFC was taken over by a company known as Zuffa back in 2001, things have gone south, and UFC was in a very bad position. The future of one of the greatest sporting events after professional wrestling and the NFL was up in the air. The organization faced many problems. UFC was illegal in many states in the US, and politicians were actively fighting to ensure that everything remained the same, meaning the UFC was doomed. John McCain, one of the politicians at that time that was against this sport, said the sport was “human cockfighting.” However, UFC’s relentless efforts to redeem its name finally paid off and McCain is one of UFC’s biggest fans.
While this sporting event has overcome some of the biggest hurdles any sport has ever experienced in the US, it was not without a few embarrassing moments. What most fans do not know is that the UFC has for years hidden a lot of things from its fans. Here are 15 sketchy things the UFC tries to hide from fans.
15. Suits from Former Fighters
Over the years, the UFC has received several class action suits from former UFC fighters. According to the complainants, the UFC is monopolistic and takes advantage of how it treats its fighters. At one time the UFC president, Dana White, who also happens to hold 9% of the company, used to give candid press scrums of how the UFC had no legitimate competition. But now that the court cases are underway, Dana is nowhere to be seen in the media. It’s probably not a good idea to have countless hours of footage of the company’s president contradicting your case.
14. Early UFC
Back in the day, in its infancy, before Zuffa took over, UFC events were marketed like they were the last concert on Earth, and for the avid UFC fan, it almost seemed like the barbaric match would end after one fighter was dead. They did whatever they could do to gain all the needed attention, even if it was bad publicity. Early UFC fans termed these times as the “Dark Ages”. And while things have drastically changed over time, this is still one of the toughest sports in the world, and you might still need to deal with the same old huge ego-ed, testosterone pumped fighters and people’s livelihood.
13. MMA Fighters take the Cage home
It seems these testosterone pumped muscle tight fighters can’t keep their fighting in the cage. The War Machine, Jon Koppenhaver was arrested after he took his training a little too far and beat up his ex-girlfriend. If you think the War Machine is the only MMA fighter to have this kind of record, then you are terribly wrong. Joe Son is currently serving life in a correctional facility for torture and murder. He was an early UFC fighter, who like Koppenhaver, took his profession a little bit further than the cage. Travis Browne and Anthony Johnson also have similar domestic abuse records.
12. Cases of Head Trauma
Just like boxers and NFL players, MMA fighters have also experienced cases of head trauma. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that after years of constant head battering, you are going to end up at the hospital with some serious head injuries. When signing up, the fighters assume that this is part of the game. However, it is believed that most of the trauma happens during training sessions. The players practice hard, and in most cases get knocked out cold during these sessions. Unlike in the real event where the match ends, in training they get up and continue.
11. The Iceman Powder event
Back in 2005, when UFC 51 broadcasted on Pay-Per-View, Chuck Liddell, famously known as “The Iceman” and would become the lightweight champion when the next UFC event was held, was captured inhaling something from his pinky, quickly rubbing his nose once he noticed the camera. This seemed suspicious, and in case you have watched the clip and you are not convinced, then what’s more incriminating is the fact that the UFC edited out that part before adding UFC 51 to their streaming services. So why would the UFC edit out that portion of the clip? Probably because it was irrelevant, right? Well, think again.
10. Poor Fighter pay
You would think that since MMA fighters expose their bodies to extreme danger and possibly death during the fighting sessions, they would be entitled to a handsome pay. Current MMA fighters like Connor McGregor have certainly become millionaires, but that’s not the case with glorified former UFC fighters. They have not hidden this fact, and have publicly lamented that they aren’t being paid fairly by the UFC. Several former MMA fighters have joined hands and filed a class action lawsuit against the UFC. On the other hand, active players are extra careful about going against the company, to preserve their future in the sport.
9. Reebok UFC Deal
Before Reebok was announced as the official clothing company for the UFC, the UFC kept denying them for years. This meant that the fighters could no longer be able to have their own sponsors for their clothing. It turned out to be a sour deal for the players. In the past, they made very good money dressing in their sponsor logos through their shorts, hats, towels and even shoes. Some fighters made much more from the sponsors than what they actually made from UFC for being in the cage. Well, fighters can no longer enjoy such deals, but clearly, the UFC can!
8. UFC isn’t as professional as it wants to seem
The UFC seems to be able to do anything it wants. It’s like the spoiled rich kid at school that gets away with bullying everyone since his parents fund school projects. The UFC legitimized its Reebok deal stating that they needed to look more professional like other sports leagues such as the NFL and the NBA, hence the need for an official clothing sponsor. However, anyone seems to be able to fight in the UFC today including celebrities, boxers, and wrestlers. To a curious eye, this seems like an attention-seeking scheme to gain attention from both worlds. You can never pick up a football and play in the NFL, it takes years of training and vetting. That’s a professional sport!
7. The Bellator
The Bellator is one of UFC’s biggest competitors when it comes to promotion, but it’s still owned by Viacom. But even with that, the UFC still leads with a significant gap. With that in mind, why wouldn’t Viacom just throw in a pile of cash and become the biggest players? Well, the martial arts bit is just a tiny piece of the MMA empire pie. This poses a great risk to the UFC, since Bellator still values its fighters. It lets them have their own sponsors, and they are in a much better position to get fresh talent. Furthermore, they aren’t as tough as the UFC when it comes to drug testing.
6. Performance Enhancement Drugs
We all know athletes get caught up with these claims all the time. While it’s believed that the UFC does thorough testing of its fighters, it’s not been doing the best job of late. They might be more thorough than most sports but it hasn’t always been that way. A fight between Viktor Belfort and Jon Jones still took place even after Viktor failed the drug test, as revealed in a Deadspin article. During the fight, Jones almost had his hands ripped off. It wasn’t funny when he found out years later after the story came to light. This is just one case. Who knows how many other fighters have failed the tests before.
5. Jon Jones “Angry Jones”
Jon Jones seems to be confused about what he wants to be. He is completely undecided about what personality he wants to have. One moment, he may be featured doing charity and helping out in the community and the next moment he is all over the news for rear-ending a pregnant woman’s car and fleeing the scene. He is undoubtedly UFC’s best fighter and his behavior has affected his performance in the cage as well as his career. Will Angry Jones make a comeback? That depends on if he messes it all up again with his violent partying sprees.
4. UFC PRIDE Deal
PRIDE is a competing MMA promotion from Japan. The UFC allegedly paid millions to purchase it and had plans to merge it under its own banner; however, the real value of the deal is attributed to its video archives from past events alongside current contracts they had from fighters. But after looking into PRIDE’s books, the UFC found out that PRIDE was sketchy and that the Japanese Mafia had ripped them off. They still managed to work out a few deals, but the company lost a lot of money from this sour deal. They ended up paying for the video archives that are being used on Fight Pass.
3. UFC’s Incompetent Staff
In UFC fights, it’s kind of obvious to know which fighter will win depending on the referee or judge on the panel. Clearly, this isn’t fair play, and at times, referees have prematurely stopped a fight when the losing fighter was not even close to danger. There are tons of brilliant officials in the MMA, but that doesn’t mean they’re all great. The main problem is that you do not need any experience to be a judge or referee. The MMA is a very complex sport, and there is usually a lot going on. It’s hard to understand if you do not know what you are doing. The fighters are constantly putting their lives on the line; therefore, it needs some level of competency from the referees.
2. UFC is based on Pro Wrestling
The MMA competitions have always presented themselves as the opposite of wrestling. Either way, the MMA fighters are constantly trying to hurt one another. However, during an interview in 2015, pro wrestler CM Punk stated that the sport had a lot in common with wrestling. While he turned out to be a poor martial arts fighter, he was actually right. Just like wrestling, the MMA encourages trash talk, the gladiator arena vibe and a lot of wrestlers have competed in the MMA. It’s not rocket science that the UFC has borrowed a lot from wrestling, boxing, and martial arts.
1. UFC fighters are not that into popping pills
The UFC makes it seem as if their fighters spend a fortune buying whole shelves of protein and vitamin bars. But the reality is that the fighters are warned against using supplements and drugs and the only time they use them might be during big matches to enhance their performance. The normal diet of a professional MMA fighter mainly consists of garden vegetables and fish. Therefore, while the MMA fighters might be endorsing borderline legal supplements, they don’t necessarily use them. If you are an upcoming MMA fighter, now you know: keep off the supplements. It might be good for your future in the MMA.
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