Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has had its fair share of controversial moments that have sparked debate and discussion among fans, fighters, and pundits alike. From disputed decisions to shocking incidents inside and outside the cage, these moments have left a lasting impact on the sport. Here are the top five most controversial moments in MMA history:
1. UFC 167: Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks Decision (2013)
One of the most controversial decisions in UFC history occurred at UFC 167 when Georges St-Pierre defended his welterweight title against Johny Hendricks. Despite many believing that Hendricks had done enough to win the fight, the judges awarded a split decision victory to St-Pierre. The decision led to widespread criticism and calls for changes in judging criteria in MMA.
2. UFC 229: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor Post-Fight Brawl (2018)
Following Khabib Nurmagomedov's submission victory over Conor McGregor at UFC 229, chaos erupted as Nurmagomedov leaped over the cage and attacked McGregor's cornermen. Simultaneously, members of Nurmagomedov's team entered the cage and confronted McGregor. The incident marred what was billed as one of the biggest fights in MMA history and led to suspensions and fines for both fighters and their teams.
3. UFC 210: Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson Towel Incident (2017)
During the weigh-ins for UFC 210, Daniel Cormier controversially used a towel to help him make weight for his light heavyweight title defense against Anthony Johnson. The use of the towel sparked accusations of cheating and raised questions about the integrity of the weigh-in process in MMA.
4. Strikeforce: Nick Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi Drug Test Controversy (2007)
After his submission win over Takanori Gomi in a non-title bout at Pride 33, Nick Diaz tested positive for marijuana. However, the result was later changed to a no-contest due to a technicality regarding the drug testing procedures. The controversy surrounding the fight raised questions about the enforcement of drug policies in MMA.
5. UFC 178: Yoel Romero vs. Tim Kennedy Stoolgate (2014)
During his fight against Tim Kennedy at UFC 178, Yoel Romero was given extra time to recover between rounds after his corner failed to remove a stool from the octagon in a timely manner. The extended break allowed Romero to regain his composure and ultimately win the fight via TKO. The incident sparked debate about the role of corners in influencing the outcome of fights.
These controversial moments have left a lasting impact on MMA, shaping the way the sport is perceived and the rules that govern it. While they may have been contentious at the time, they have also contributed to the ongoing evolution of the sport and the continued efforts to ensure fairness and integrity in MMA.