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The Top 10 Ragdoll Physics Moments in Mixed Martial Arts

In Mixed Martial Arts, a knockout can come in many forms, but the most spectacular are ragdoll knockouts. Ragdoll physics were invented in the 90s so serial killers could masturbate to video games. It's a system of flopping that allows bodies to dramatically flail even after they are rendered dead by a rocket or traffic accident.

For a real life example, here is Tank Abbot's knockout of Steve Nelmark from The Ultimate Ultimate '96. Before the creation of ragdoll physics, Steve's limbs, head and torso would have all been going in similar directions. With the help of modern science, that hasn't happened here. Let's take a look at some others!

#9.
Lyoto Machida vs. Rashad Evans
UFC 98 - The Talkative Ragdoll

When you grow up doing karate, you learn awesome and impossible things. Like how to cross your arms perfectly to catch incoming punches, or how to levitate out of the way of multiple nunchuck attacks. I can't even type about the advanced stuff because I can't trust you with it. I'm serious, my kung fu sensei once taught the heart exploding touch to someone and they died microwaving a burrito. But that guy'd been training for over two years. When non-grand masters try these techniques, they realize that Face Punch Speed beats Wax Off Speed almost every time. And it really only has to win once or twice.

Well, Lyoto Machida took all those crazy secrets of the Orient and found a way to make them work. He fights like we thought people fought before MMA existed. Rashad Evans looked like an extra in a Steven Segal movie while he spent eight minutes unable to hit him. Which might be why Rashad decided to stop letting his fists do the talking.

While utilizing his face to absorb karate, Rashad Evans drunkenly explained to Lyoto that he hits like a little bitch. Which is a pretty ironic thing to say right before a guy shuts down your entire nervous system.

Rashad Evans's Brain: "Guard our face."

Rashad Evans: "You... ouch... can't hurt me!"

Rashad Evans's Brain: "The guy barely even speaks English, stop playing mind games with his hands."

Rashad Evans: "Ow! You hit like a bitch!"

Rashad Evans's Brain: "Alright, fuck you. I'm not staying awake for this."

Rashad Evans's Legs: "Hey, we're falling this direction!"

Rashad Evans's Brain: "Oh, don't you start with me too. You do what you want, but I'm going this way!"

#8.
Mirko Cro Cop vs. Igor Vovchanchyn
Pride Total Elimination 2003 - The Classic Ragdoll

Mirko Cro Cop is a martial artist, part of the Croatian Parliament and a member of a special forces anti-terrorist unit. Also, after kicking 25 brave human heads into low orbit, he is personally considered Croatia's only space program. (He is for ages 10 and up, Aqua Battlebike sold seperately.)

Mirko Cro Cop is shining example of what can happen when lunatic Eastern European gods mistake G.I. Joe cartoons as instruction manuals. Igor Vovchanchyn has a much different origin story. He was created by Cold War scientists trying to cross breed man and industrial equipment. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Vovchanchyn was to be used for blast mining and digging train tunnels.

They were scheduled to fight at Pride Total Elimination 2003, an event that took its name from the likely elimination of all life in a perfect one-mile impact crater around them. For 90 seconds, they circled each other, Igor's right hand and Cro Cop's left foot each acting out the plot to Armageddon. Only in Cro Cop's version, Bruce Willis loses. He finished charging his super move first, and his foot dropped a meteor the size of Texas on Vovchanchyn's neck.

Watch the Fight Video

#7.
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Mirko Cro Cop
UFC 70 - The Glitched Ragdoll

A Japanese reporter once asked Cro Cop how many PSI he had in his kick. What's crazier than the question is that Cro Cop had an answer. "If it is right leg, hospital. Left leg, cemetery." Ladies, Cro Cop is so tough that when he fucks you, you grow chest hair on your uterus, right before you explode.

Gabriel Gonzaga is an actual Australopithecus, released from an ancient frozen cave by quickly-eaten explorers. This fight was an anthropologist's dream--could modern kickboxing techniques stand up to the savage combat instincts of early man? Well you win, Mother Nature, you bitch. It wasn't even close. Cro Cop was manhandled, and then his own weapon was used against him: a nuclear kickblast to the head.

Cro Cop toppled all over himself, ragdolling so hard that his foot was on backwards when he landed. Croatia's space program was now an unconscious heap of wrongly-inserted Mr. Potato Head parts. It almost didn't make the list because if you were programming a ragdoll physics engine that made something this fucked up, you'd probably be fired.

Watch the Fight Video

#6.
Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisbing
UFC 100 - The Ragdoll Landing Zone

Going into UFC 100, Michael "The Count" Bisbing had managed to build up a full steam of douchebaggery with his pre-fight comments and dick behavior on The Ultimate Fighter reality show. The crowd was definitely not on his side.

Luckily, if this hurt Bisbing's feelings, Henderson hit him hard enough in the second round that he got to walk through a tunnel and talk to Jesus personally about it. Dan's right hand dropped him like a cartoon. He hit him so hard that even gravity got scared. Bisbing hung in mid-air for a moment while gravity screamed at inertia, "Did you see that shit!?" Then, after a high five, the two universal forces quit screwing around and yanked Bisbing's limp body into the floor.

Henderson wasn't done dominating Bisbing and gravity, though. After the man-shaped sack of bangers and mash landed, Dan flew into the air and came down on Bisbing's head with Fistos, the forbidden punch of legend. Henderson went fully horizontal with both feet in the air like some kind of maniac skydiver. If you were the greatest warrior that ever lived, came across a sleeping enemy and had six hours to plan one ultimate punch, this is the punch you would throw.

#5.
Brad Kohler vs. Steve Judson
UFC 22 - It's Ragdollin' Time

Brad Kohler had so many muscles that he was more thumb than man. And when he took a big step and wound up for a double splash page Thing vs. Hulk haymaker punch, everyone in the entire world saw it coming except poor Steve Judson. This punch was such a force of nature that local wildlife left the area the night before. The fact that Steve Judson woke up later, not dead, means that he will spend the rest of his life being hunted by military researchers wanting to harvest him for tank parts.

#4.
Igor Vovchanchyn vs. Francisco Bueno
PRIDE 8 - The Air Juggle

Igor Vovchanchyn is known as a counter fighter, which means he waits for you to do something, then punches your skull until the memories of your ancestors die. Francisco Bueno knew this, so his gameplan was to run away and not do anything, ever.

It didn't work. About 80 seconds into the first round, Igor got impatient and figured he'd just throw a couple punches to get things going. What happened next is considered the worst atrocity in history by face activists.

Both punches knock out Francisco Bueno, ending the fight. At least in a practical sense. But legally, the fight isn't over until the referee stops it or the evil has left Igor's fists. And as Francisco is falling lifelessly to the mat, neither of those things has happened yet.

While his unconscious body plummets, Francisco somehow picks an entirely new fight with Igor, and loses this one just as badly. Igor slams in two more punches to Francisco's falling head with such amazing precision that it can't be blood-drunk rage. I think he's just politely trying to wake him up before he hits. Or maybe it's considered good manners in the Ukraine to remove the head from a corpse after you're done with it.

Watch the Fight Video

#3.
Travis Fulton vs. Jeremy Bullock
Extreme Challenge 22 - The Conscious Ragdoll

Jeremy Bullock looked like a host to several tape worms and entered his first MMA fight with a background in Tae Kwon Do. To put this into perspective, that's like entering a bullfight with a background in semen drinking. This next fact might spoil the ending, but his opponent, Travis Fulton, came into this fight with 47 wins on his record.

Jeremy started the fight with a running everything assault. I think it was intended to be a flying kick, but in his excitement, he sort of turned it into a flailing interpretive dance over Travis Fulton's ducking head. It was around here that Travis realized it was Christmas.

In wrestling, a pansy who lets you manhandle him is called a fish. Fighting a fish offers you unique opportunities, and Travis took full advantage. From side control, he just stood up, lifted Jeremy into the air after him and--as if he'd been dreaming about this moment forever--gave him a real-life Undertaker chokeslam.

Jeremy's body seemed to know what was coming even before impact, and the rodent part of his brain engaged its natural defenses. He went limp on the way up, hoping the predator would mistake him for dead. Post-impact, it was a different story. While wide awake, each of Jeremy Bullock's limbs tried to escape from his body in different directions, probably to find four different lawyers to sue the fight promoter that allowed this circus. Ike Turner has been in fairer fights than this.

Watch the Fight Video

#2.
Wanderlei Silva vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (II)
PRIDE 28 - Ragdoll in a Barbed Wire Fence

I'd have to look it up to be sure, but I think this fight happened when Wanderlei was in the middle of a 255-fight winning streak, all of them via head stomp. He's crushed the heads of so many of their people that in Japan, the emergency code for a Wanderlei Silva attack is 001. And any police that respond to a 001 are required to go in wearing a wetsuit so their bodies are easier to clean up.

The worst thing about fighting Wanderlei is that he's only happy when he's destroying you. And in Silva vs. Jackson (I), he was grinning so big while kneeing Rampage unconscious that his mouthpiece almost fell out. He didn't seem as happy-go-lucky this time. A Portuguese speaker must have explained to him that Rampage was going around before the fight saying he looked like the sign language gorilla from Congo. Life imitates art, though, because he went at Jackson like an ape testing luggage. And he didn't stop until Jackson was dangling in the ropes.

Jackson has since avenged the loss, lowering Japan's Wanderlei Silva Advisory System to ELEVATED.

Watch the Fight Video

#1.
Gilbert Yvel vs. Carlos Barreto (I) and (II)
2 Hot 2 Handle 2 - The Double Ragdoll

When something rams into your brain, like your own jawbone, you're never quite sure how it will make you fall. In this fight, when Gilbert Yvel landed a flash knockout on Carlos Barreto, he flopped into the splits. Apparently, when Carlos gets hit in the face, his body is taken over by the ghost of James Brown. Hold on, I'm getting a call from Jackie Chan about optioning that last sentence for a screenplay.

I'm back, and Chris Kattan is now attached to the project. Where was I? Oh yeah, Carlos woke up from the splits just in time to see the referee stopping the fight. He and his corner were pissed, screaming at the referee to let the fight go on. I guess he's using the famous "Spontaneously doing the splits was part of my defense" defense.

The referee refuses to restart the fight just because the knocked out guy woke back up. Carlos insists with a shove. Well, this referee is through being pushed around and intimidated by bullies. Starting tomorrow. He restarts the fight.

Gilbert Yvel has a history of punching referees, and yet here, where it's actually justified, he behaves himself and patiently waits for the brand new second fight to start. Then he ends it four billionths of a second later with a bicycle kick to the face. During this second knockout, ragdoll physics weren't as kind to Carlos. Apparently, when he gets bicycle-kneed to the face, his body is taken over by the ghost of C3PO after he's dismantled by space pigs. Hold on, Jackie Chan wants to know if we can change that one to be a sexy female ad executive, a baby and President Abraham Lincoln. Shit, this sounds like it's going to be a long phone call.

Watch the Fight Video

See you next week!

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