Descriptive nicknames have been attached — for one reason or another —to peoples’ names throughout history. Many nicknames are considered desirable and complimentary, symbolizing admiration, strength, or physical attributes. The Vikings have Erik the Red. The Civil War has Stonewall Jackson (he actually had a lesser-known cousin named Mudwall). And jazz singers have The Velvet Fog.
In the last century, it’s been the stead of boxers, professional wrestlers, and serial killers to continue providing our culture with entertaining nicknames. However, Larry Merchant is the only man who still cares about boxing. Professional wrestling is for tit babies. And if you’re a fan of serial killers, you need to subscribe to a different magazine. Now, it’s up to MMA to carry on the great tradition of colorful fighting nicknames. Cool monikers like Rampage and The Natural are becoming scarce. There needs to be significant work done in this department, because some of the current handles that fighters are using are awful. Here’s a rundown of the 20 best and worst MMA nicknames out there, pitted against one another in their own unique subcategories.
BEST: SPENCER “THE KING” FISHER If you’re going to use a royal nickname, you might as well pick the most powerful position. Like Tom Petty says, “It’s good to be king.” In addition, a king fisher is a cool-looking predatory bird. Spencer gets added points for the duality of this nickname.
WORST: MICHAEL “THE COUNT” BISPING Count is a title of nobility that falls somewhere between duke and baroness on the nobility scale. Bisping would be better served to call himself Count Chocula — at least he had fangs, cool hair, and delicious cereal.
BEST: MIRKO “CRO COP” FILIPOVIC Filipovic’s nickname is derived from his time spent as a member of Croatia’s most elite anti-terrorist force. You know a nickname is good when it’s so popular it’s used instead of your surname.
WORST: JOSH “THE DENTIST” NEER True, no one likes to go to the dentist, but that’s no reason to make it your nickname. No one likes to go to the proctologist, either.
BEST: DAVID “TANK” ABBOTT Abbott’s physique and utilitarian fighting style could best be described as watching a tank in battle. Sometimes a tank fires off a couple of big missiles and treads over you and sometime it gets blown to shreds by a bazooka. Abbott was blown up by 14 bazookas during his 24-fight career.
WORST: MARCUS “THE IRISH HAND GRENADE” DAVIS What the deuce is an Irish hand grenade? If Davis wants to pay tribute to his Irish heritage, how about using Marcus “The Shillelagh” Davis, Marcus “The IRA Pipe Bomber” Davis, or Marcus “The Potato Lover” Davis?
BEST: EVANGELISTA “CYBORG” SANTOS Part man, part machine — that’s pretty cool. However, I’m guessing the part of him that controls his cardio is not robotic, because as far as I know, robots do not get fatigued after 3 seconds.
WORST: RORY “VERSION 2.5” SINGER Seriously? Eventually word got back to Singer on the lameness of naming himself after a graphical user interface software operating system (I’m guessing), and he changed his nickname to “The Outburst,” which is a slightly better symptom of Tourette’s syndrome.
6) COLD MEN
BEST: CHUCK “THE ICEMAN” LIDDELL Liddell has ice in his veins and never gets nervous. Plus, his devastating power can knock you out cold. Props also go to Liddell for incorporating his nickname into his icicle-covered fighting shorts.
WORST: JEFF “THE SNOWMAN” MONSON Frosty the Snowman — not scary. The Abominable Snowman — pretty scary. Monson is somewhere in between. The pasty-white Monson got the nickname at Abu Dhabi as he gained momentum in a snowballing fashion to consecutively beat four Brazilians to win the title. For this reason, Monson gets a pass.
BEST: DON “THE PREDATOR” FRYE The Predator is a befitting name for a man of Frye’s awesomeness, but I prefer Don “The Stache” Frye to pay homage to his glorious lip mane. And here’s a little side note: If Frye had played the part of the Predator in the movie, he would have ripped Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arms off immediately after being introduced and impregnated any females on the set.
WORST: STEPHAN “THE AMERICAN PSYCHO” BONNAR If you are going to use this moniker, you need to be a raving lunatic. When was the last time Bonnar shot someone or had lunch with Cliff Huxtable? Bonnar is no Patrick Bateman (see the movie or, God forbid, read the book).
BEST: WESLEY “CABBAGE” CORREIRA Cabbage yields the heaviest gross tonnage of any cultivated crop. So Correira has that going for him, which is nice.
WORST: ERIC “BUTTERBEAN” ESCH The 400-pound Esch has probably never eaten a butterbean. But he makes some pretty tasty BBQ. If you are ever in Jasper, Alabama, stop by Mr. Bean’s BBQ.
3) RHYME TIME
BEST: TOM “THE FILTHY MAULER” LAWLOR Is there a more befitting nickname for someone who pisses in his own fruit tray and then KOs the ever-annoying Dave Kaplan? Lawlor aptly demonstrated his ability to be both filthy and capable of mauling on his TUF 8 stint.
WORST: KEITH “THE DEAN OF MEAN” JARDINE Two rhyming words in a nickname are just pretentious. Pick one and go with it. Why not be Keith “The Dean of Mean Seen Being Serene” Jardine?
BEST: BAS “EL GUAPO” RUTTEN Bas “The Handsome One” Rutten has no lack of confidence in his fighting ability or his luck with the ladies. Just listen to him sing “I Wanna Chill,” which accompanies his instructional DVD series. The song is as enter taining as a paralyzing liver shot.
WORST: JOSEPH “THE HO BAG” BOCHENEK The Ho Bag sports a career 0–10 record. Enough said.
BEST: MARK “THE SMASHING MACHINE” KERR Someday I would like to invent a smashing machine. Until then, I’ll just ask Kerr to smash all my smashables.
WORST: JOHN “WAR MACHINE” KOPPENHAVER Koppenhaver legally changed his name to War Machine in 2008. Technically, John Koppenhaver is now his nickname. When you put it all together, War “The John Koppenhaver” Machine might be the worst nickname in the history of MMA.