The fi rst Roman Gladiatorial Games were held in 246 BCE by Marcus and Decimus Brutus in honor of their father, Junius Brutus. Thousands of years later, the term gladiator is often used to describe a mixed martial artist. However, one wrong move by a gladiator resulted in being impaled by a spear or eaten by a lion. In mixed martial arts, a wrong move usually means being knocked out or submitted.
Unless of course, that one wrong move is so stupid it forever places you in a league of your own – a sort of Hall of Fame of MMA Ineptitude. Thanks to the Internet, it’s all available for your viewing pleasure.
GILBERT YVEL VS. ANYONE
Anytime / Anywhere
Where to begin? Yvel is about as dirty as you can get inside the ring. His fi ghting style should be listed as Asshole instead of Muay Thai. Over the last decade, Yvel has been disqualifi ed on at least three separate occasions. Not one to be pigeonholed for a specifi c dirty maneuver, he has an assortment of illegal tactics in his arsenal.
At the 1998 IAFC Pankration European Championship, he repeatedly bit Karimula Barkalaev. Then, at PRIDE 16 in 2001, he stuck his thumbs knuckle-deep into Don Frye’s eye sockets. The pièce de résistance was punching out and then soccer kicking the ref during a 2004 fi ght with Atte Backman. For some strange reason, the Nevada State Athletic Commission refused to give Yvel a license to fi ght in 2007.
YOSHIHIRO NAKAO VS. HEATH HERRING
K-1 Dynamite 2005
The phrase “protect yourself at all times” has never been more apropos. While the ref was giving his fi nal instructions to the fi ghters in the center of the ring, Nakao decided it was a splendid opportunity to lean in and give Herring a big smooch on the lips. Living up to his nickname, “The Texas Crazy Horse” instantly delivered a right hook that knocked Nakao out cold.
Nakao had to be carried from the ring on a stretcher, and a scuffl e erupted as his corner man attacked Herring. Order was eventually restored and the bout was ruled a no-contest. Interestingly, Nakao fought Don Frye a year earlier and made no attempt to kiss him. Apparently, Nakao prefers his men clean-shaven.
ART JIMMERSON VS. ROYCE GRACIE
UFC 1, 1993
Poor Art Jimmerson. He will forever live in infamy for entering the Octagon wearing a single boxing glove. Yes, that is correct: one gloved hand, one ungloved hand. Since it was UFC 1, I’ll cut him some slack for his illadvised pugilistic decision. Unfortunately for Art, however, his bad day didn’t end there.
After speaking with Gracie’s training partner “Big” John McCarthy, Jimmerson was so worked up about fi ghting the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master that he probably wished he had a chainsaw attached to his arm ala Bruce Campbell rather than that lone, useless glove.
The action in the Octagon was uneventful, but just past the two-minute mark of the fi rst round, Jimmerson tapped out. No shame there, except Jimmerson tapped to a move that has not been and never will be used for submission purposes – the double grapevine. Basically, he tapped because he thought he was about to be in pain. Royce Gracie’s victory is offi cially listed as submission due to mount. Thanks for the memories, Jimmerson.
RENATO SOBRAL VS. DAVID HEATH
UFC 74, 2007
No love was lost between Sobral and Heath leading up to the fi ght. Both fi ghters trash-talked in typical UFC pre-fi ght shenanigans. However, Sobral’s idiocy manifested inside the Octagon.
Sobral secured an anaconda choke in the second round, and forced Heath to tap. However, instead of relinquishing the hold as directed by ref Steve Mazzagatti, Sobral held the choke for an additional four seconds, causing Health to lose consciousness. Now, it’s not unheard of for a fi ghter to be a little slow when releasing a submission. When BJ Penn fought Jens Pulver at The Ultimate Fighter 5 fi nale in 2007, Penn held his rear naked choke for a couple of extra seconds after Pulver tapped.
Sobral’s real jackass move was during his post-fi ght interview with Joe Rogan, when he stated that he was trying to teach Heath some respect. If he had just said he didn’t feel Heath tap, or that couldn’t hear Mazagatti, he would still be fi ghting in the UFC. Instead, the UFC kicked him to the curb and the Nevada State Athletic Commission withheld half his $50,000 purse. Sobral learned the hard way that teaching respect could cost you.
Will Nakao kiss (or possibly cuddle) another opponent? Will Sobral make his way back to the UFC after serving his penance fi ghting in smaller organizations? Will Yvel ever again be licensed to fi ght in Nevada? Moreover, will Art Jimmerson ever fi nd that other boxing glove? Only time will tell. Until then, gladiators, we salute you… for being stupid.