The 6 Most Amazing Acts of Mid-Fight Mockery in MMA History
Beating a man is the universal way to express your disapproval. A vicious attack clears up any confusion, and it's still the only way to tell an inflatable doll that you've broken up with it. But sometimes violence isn't enough -- sometimes you need to add some mockery, trash talk or taunting pantomime to really tell a person how you feel. Whether they were used tactically or only to add insult to injury, here are the most outstanding taunts in MMA history:
Brandon Vera vs. Thiago SilvaUFC 125
At UFC 125, Brandon Vera was coming off two straight losses. One to Randy Couture and another to supernatural crimefighter Jon Jones who elbowed a crack into his face. He didn't do much better against Thiago Silva. Silva threw Vera into the mat and beat him like he wasn't human. Which, according to the post-fight urine test, he wasn't.The first two rounds looked the same-- like an inhuman monster violating the warranty of a Real Doll. Then late in the third round, Thiago got Brandon Vera's back, shoved him down, and pounded him until his knuckles were bored. By this point, the chunks of Brandon Vera's nose had decided to go in several different directions, so his fighting strategy was covering his face and hoping to live long enough to get home and delete his Internet history before he bled to death.
Thiago moved on to throwing volleyball spikes to the side of Brandon Vera's head, now the location of many head parts that were supposed to be on the front. To Brandon Vera's credit, he still wasn't dead.Thiago eventually ran out of legal places to hit, so settled back and started rhythmically slapping Vera's back. For a second Brandon probably felt this tender pawing and thought he'd crossed over to a place beyond pain. But, oh man, was he unhappy about it when he realized it was actually some asshole playing him like bongo drums.
Did it work?
There is a science behind taunting. For example, getting kicked in the balls hurts so many more ways if it happens right after you've heard how tiny they are. However, this was a case of a taunt being nothing more than a dick move. And it worked. Thiago Silva looked like a dick. Which was only logical, since the urinalysis showed that at the time his blood was 70% bull penis. Vera survived to the final bell, but after emerging from a humiliating beating with most of his nose missing, it was an easy decision for the judges. Vera lost his third straight, and as is UFC tradition, his job.
Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Royce GraciePRIDE Grand Prix 2000 Finals
Six months before this fight, Kazushi Sakuraba almost snapped the arm off Royce's brother Royler (see right). Royler never submitted, but the referee stopped the fight before he was yanked into two parts. This pissed the Gracies off-- they see limb removal as elective surgery. If you want to let someone disassemble you, who are these referees to get in your way? That's why Royce demanded a revenge fight against Sakuraba with fewer of these bullshit "regulations."Since Royce Gracie is sort of the most important martial artist who ever lived, Pride Fighting Championships agreed to a bout with no time limits and modified rules. Sakuraba responded by offering to bring a diaper.
On the night of the fight, it was clear neither of them was going to finish things any time soon. Royce kept pushing Sakuraba against the ropes and nudging him in the leg with knees. Sakuraba defended this by making faces at the camera and trying to pull Royce's pants down. There was a little bit of confusion about the new rules, and while the strange embrace went on, the Japanese referee tried to separate them for inactivity. Royce explained to the ref in two languages that were not Japanese, that the fight was a special occasion and he could hug all he wanted. So now we have three people huddled together: an angry one trying to fight, a confused one trying to break it up, and a third one trying to tear off the angry one's pajamas. In Texas, they call this a "wedding."As the fight went on, Sakuraba got more and more creative, combining his taunts and his attacks into an entirely new martial art. He pulled Royce's gi over his head and beat him like a hockey player. When Royce was on the ground, Sakuraba grabbed his pants and reverse-wedgied him up to drop him on his head. He snuck attacks through Royce's defenses with two-handed karate chops. In one fight, Sakuraba recreated the entire evolutionary process that led to monkeys being able to crack open palm nuts.
Did it work?
Kind of. Sakuraba wasn't disrespectful so much as he was just trying to entertain himself. He looked like a five-year-old forced to go to the laundromat with his parents. And like that poor bored child's day, this fight went on for fucking ever. For six 15-minute rounds, Sakuraba put on a violent improvisational comedy show with only one prop. And finally, after 90 minutes of leg kicks and decortication, the legend Royce Gracie could no longer stand. His corner threw in the towel. He lost what was and will always be the longest MMA fight ever, but Royce made his point: if a man is going to lose a fight it should be from defeat, not from some asshole judge or referee's decision.Once again, Royce Gracie had changed the face of mixed martial arts. At least until three months later when his cousin
Gary Goodridge vs. Amir RahnavardiPRIDE FC 3
Gary Goodridge was first seen in blurry video footage recovered from a massacred Tobagonian research team whose final words were, "It took all their sorcerers to entrap him! What hubris it was to unseal the casket!" Coming into this fight, he punched so hard that bomb squads had to use a special robot to wrap his hands. Amir Rahnavardi, on the other hand, was forty pounds lighter, coming in with a professional record of 0-0, and took the fight on one day's notice. Sorry if that spoiled the ending for you.And speaking of spoiling the ending, this fight featured commentary from Stephen Quadros and Bas Rutten pretending to be live at ringside. They actually recorded it months later in a studio, and what happened to Amir Rahnavardi in this fight was so insane that Stephen Quadros started telling a story about it. He suddenly realized what he was doing, panicked, and blurted out that Amir lost. Amazingly, it was left on the DVD release. Here's a transcription:
Stephen Quadros: "Amir, when I was working for editor of Kickboxing Ring Report, used to, was calling me from Japan, telling me, 'Hey. I took a fight with Gary Goodridge.' I said, 'Oh my god. tt! Okay.' OH, LOOK AT THAT RIGHT HAND!""And then Amir called me after the fight was over and... he uh... told me... that...""...""That he had lost the fight.""...""..."Bas Rutten: "Okay, they have to cut it out. You're right here, man."So now the people watching at home knew that Amir lost, and that he did it in a way so horrible that simply thinking about it caused a fight commentator to forget where the fuck he was. It all started with Amir's takedown attempt. He got close to Gary and tried a basic judo hip throw. Gary countered it by ignoring physics and falling right on top of him. The hip throw went so unaccording to plan that Christian scientists show it to their students to disprove levers.While on the bottom, Amir started throwing strikes. Gary said the last three things you ever want to hear from the man you're punching in the jaw. See below:
Did it work?
Only as a portend of the obvious. Gary Goodridge wasn't letting out little "WOO"s like Ric Flair; he was belting them out. When you hit a man as hard as you can ten times and it only makes him sing like Little Richard, there aren't a whole lot of Plan B's. At that point, all you can do is hope that your mortuary makeup artist has a good Before picture and a lot of spackle in your color.After giving something for Amir to see every time he closed his eyes ever again, Gary Goodridge grabbed his left arm, pulled it behind his back, and dropped the kind of punch that stimulates neurological job growth. His unfrozen Trinidadian caveman fist bounced Amir's head off the canvas and one of the impacts knocked him out cold with his eyes open. The next three punches didn't do anything to help him wake up, but they confused the shit out of Tokyo seismologists.
Duane Ludwig vs. Shad SmithKing of the Cage 4
Shad Smith claims to have been in over 1000 street fights. Normally when someone makes a claim like this it turns out they're exaggerating from the number zero. With Shad Smith, though, I believe him. He's the only openly gay mixed martial artist, and that takes an insane amount of courage. Not because of homophobia, but because out of every activity, being a gay mixed martial artist has got to have the highest risk of boner-in-front-of-everyone possible.Still, a giant pair of balls isn't really a match for Duane Ludwig. From the opening bell, Ludwig lit Shad up, connecting with virtually everything he threw. A beautiful combo knocked Shad out two minutes in, and Shad didn't care. The fall woke him up and he kept coming. Duane hit him with six more highlight reels worth of knockout shots, but Shad figured he'd already had plenty of sleep for the day, so he stayed on his feet.
Shad Smith is not something a doctor would call "not a zombie," so Duane had only one move left to try against his unkillable opponent: the Crane Kick.
Did it work?Fuck yes. If do right no can defense. To be honest, this might not have been a taunt. Duane was probably only doing the Karate Kid stance out of politeness while he waited for Shad's brain to figure out it was in a coma. When it never did, Duane landed a combination of kicks and punches that was so goddamn sexy that now I think I might be the gay one. Eventually Shad's corner had to throw in the towel since he was too busy being awesome to fall.
Nate Quarry vs. Kalib StarnesUFC 83
There's an abstract concept in the UFC called "Octagon Control." It's the idea that all things being equal, the fighter who dictates the pace of the fight wins. By that standard, Kalib Starnes is the greatest Octagon controller of all time. His incredible strategy of doing nothing and running made Nate Quarry's attack plans almost impossible. Kalib Starnes must have studied under Vin Diesel before the fight because 50% of his performance was crankiness and the rest was chase scene.Nate did what he could to run Kalib down and hit him, but there's a reason Hard Target is 97 minutes long-- when a man really doesn't want to get killed, it takes awhile to catch him. Plus, the only people properly trained to fight men running away at full speed are policemen and rapists. So Nate had to settle on openly mocking Kalib while he fled. He did the running man, waddled after him pretending to be an elephant, and all of it seemed to only terrify Kalib more. This is going to sound crazy, but I think someone might have drawn monsters on the inside of Kalib Starnes' contact lenses. I mean, even the referee was laughing.
Did it work?
As any scholar will you tell you, you only do the running man when you're telling someone that their crew is through and you're two legit to quit. Nate showed that it can also be used in the UFC to tell the ringside judges that your opponent is a giant pussy. It got the message across. Despite delivering an arguably average ass-kicking, Nate Quarry won the decision by the second widest margin in UFC history. One judge had Nate ahead 30-24. To translate that into a different sport, say basketball, it would be like scoring 100 points while your opponent cried into a bowl of ice cream and left his ex-girlfriend a voicemail.
Frank Shamrock vs. Bas Rutten IIIPancrase: Truth 5
Bas "El Guapo" Rutten loves to fight, almost too much. He's so excitable that he actually draws "R"s on the back of his hands to remind himself to "relax" during a fight. You can trick Bas Rutten into knocking a tree stump out of your yard by standing in front of it and asking him if he polishes his head or if his scalp naturally secretes turtle wax. Of course, this will kill you.Frank Shamrock knew all this and, maybe stupidly, decided that a lunatic Bas Rutten would be safer to fight than a tactical Bas Rutten, so he spent a lot of the fight fucking with Bas.
Did it work?Yes, Frank's master plan of getting punched worked. In the same way "jumping" works for getting down an elevator shaft. Bas lost his temper, made a fist, and thumped it into the cut on Frank Shamrock's grinning head. This gave him a red card, but it also started the fight back on the feet where Bas had every advantage. He was also now strangely energized, probably since Bas Rutten was designed by Dutch military scientists to have erogenous zones on the ends of his fists. Sure enough, Bas came out like a killing machine and Shamrock came out like a man with a recently-smashed head wound. Bas landed a knee and almost pulled Frank's spine out with a standing guillotine choke. Soon the cut on Shamrock's opened so far that the doctors stopped the fight. Not for medical reasons, but because in Bas Rutten's frenzied state, a vagina on his opponent's face could have leveled the stadium.
Seanbaby has a round kick that bends parking meters and a comedy website. You can follow him on Twitter or face him on Facebook.For more Seanbaby & Combat, enjoy 7 Fighters Who Lied Their Way to Legendary, Worst Life Ever: The Story of Kazuyuki Fujita's Skull, or The Top 8 Oh Shit Moments in MMA