When playing the heel in MMA there’s a fine line between embracing the character to draw heat and acting like a complete jackass. Judging from their reputations and performances at UFC 113, Josh Koscheck and Matt Mitrione clearly comfortable in their skins, while being a bad ass cost Paul Daley his job in the UFC.
Koscheck didn’t think twice at taking jabs at Montreal, telling fans after his win over Daley, “Don’t worry; next week the Pittsburgh Penguins are going to kick your ass. Then I’m going to beat St-Pierre,” Koscheck said, “and you guys are going to lose twice. How do you like that Montreal?” Mitrione was jeered during weigh-ins and introductions – and smiled the entire time before stopping Kimbo Slice.
The pre-fight hype for Daley vs. Koscheck included a humorous Fraggle Photoshop contest and Daley’s colorful predictions of a knockout. It made for great entertainment and Daley could have left Montreal a defeated man but with his dignity intact. One sucker punch after the final bell and Daley flushed his UFC career down the toilet. It was uncalled for and disgusting, especially in light of the Nashville melee, and White responded immediately.
“He’s done,” White said after the event. “I don’t give a [expletive] if he’s the best 170-pounder in the world. He’ll never come back here again.
“There’s no excuse for that. These guys are professional athletes. You don’t ever hit a guy blatantly after the bell like that, whether you’re frustrated or not. It was probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen because he is a talented guy, and he is one of the best 170-pounders in the world.”
These are five more fighters who have ridden inflammatory words and antics to greater notoriety.
It’s no wonder why Matt Hughes has never competed in Canada and seriously doubtful you’ll see him represent the UFC in future shows north of the border. Prior to his first battle against Georges St-Pierre in 2004, he asked an interviewer rhetorically, “Who wants to lose to a Canadian in a street fight?” It got better during an interview with the Canadian Press two years later when given a chance to clear his name he was asked if those comments were strictly hype.
“Well, if you look back at history, I don’t think Canada’s had big wars or anything like that,” Hughes said. “They’re not a violent country, can we say that?
Would you agree?
“You’ve done your bit. Well I’m from America and I think we’re fighters, as a country. Look where we’re at, we’re all over. That’s what I was talking about. I don’t see you guys venturing out trying to help the world out, we’ll say that,” he responded.
Dana White chimed in: “Put that in the headline, Matt Hughes hates Canadians. Pay-per-view Saturday night.
This is the same guy who feuded publically with Matt Serra and whose attitude has rubbed a few fighters the wrong way – what separates him from some of the guys on this list is that there’s no indication that his behavior is a schtick.
Forget about how Lesnar was once a professional wrestler. Those days are over with and outside of the Octagon he lives a private life on the farm with his wife and children. The public eye, for whatever reason, brings out the worst in the reigning UFC heavyweight champion. There was his lasso mocking of Heath Herring following his thrashing of “The Texas Crazy Horse.” During the UFC’s countdown show to his rematch against Frank Mir, Lesnar fumed over Steve Mazzagatti’s late stoppage of their first fight and busted down a door after reviewing the tape. Then after extracting revenge over Mir to become undisputed champion, he got in Mir’s face before telling a live audience, “Frank Mir had a horseshoe up his ass. I told him that a year ago. I pulled the sum bitch out and beat him over the head with it.”
He didn’t stop there. Lesnar encouraged an angry crowd to keep booing him and made a disparaging comment about the UFC 100’s primary sponsor, Bud Light. That earned him a tough-lashing from Dana White and a public atonement for his sins, but that won’t stop Lesnar from playing the villain when he defends against hero Shane Carwin at UFC 116.
One of the originals, the aptly-named “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” started a feud with Ken Shamrock by taunting him and his Lion’s Den corner after defeating Jerry Bohlander at UFC 18. He hasn’t exactly mellowed since wearing a “Gay Mezger is my Bitch” t-shirt post-UFC 19. There’s the continuing vendetta with Chuck Liddell – despite two KO/TKO losses to the Iceman – that was supposed to culminate at UFC 115. And don’t forget the disrespect he showed Mark Coleman, calling him a sissy during Coleman’s postfight interview following The Hammer’s loss to Randy Couture. Coleman responded by calling Ortiz a “douchebag” and told RawVegas.tv he’d fight him even when he’s 60 years old.
Mir turned heel once he became obsessed with a rubber match against Lesnar. He revamped his training regimen to add bulk to his frame and disrespected UFC 107 opponent Cheick Kongo, eventually choking him out in the first round. Then there was the infamous radio interview during which Mir said he wanted Lesnar to be “the first person that dies due to octagon-related injuries.” Mir had been labeled a stalker, and though he insisted he wasn’t looking past Carwin and his coveted third fight with Lesnar, his dreams were crushed by a devastating first-round knockout loss at UFC 111.
Tank Abbott mocked his first UFC opponent after knocking him unconscious, called his critics losers, bragged about not training, and over the span of his career proved to be more talk than walk. Tank is the dictionary definition of a heel.