Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to violence. The word and the act. We often try to convince ourselves that MMA is some higher form of art where man achieves his full potential. But let's be real here. It's two people trying to beat the hell out of each other. Sometimes it's a thing of beauty and other times it's pretty damn close to a snuff film. This piece is about the latter. The career enders, the will breakers, the life changers, and the downright hard to watch. These are the fights that we don't want mainstream media to know about. The fights that we only talk about in secret, like it's some sort mutant offspring that we are ashamed of. This is dedicated to the savage beatings that make the most hardcore MMA fan feel uncomfortable.
I'll start this off with the quintessential massacre, Ricardo Arona vs. Kazuyushi Sakuraba. Video and other entries after the jump.
Ricardo Arona vs. Kazuyushi Sakuraba - PRIDE Critical Countdown 2005
We all know and love Saku, he's a legend. The demi-god of Japanese MMA. He's made a career of pulling victory out of the fang filled jaws of defeat. But he's also known for taking merciless beatings. And that's exactly what happened here. The barrage of knees that Arona landed in the opening moments of the fight were just a trailer to slasher flick that Arona would act out on the Japanese legends face. Fifteen minutes, a few soccer kicks, and what seemed like thousands of knees later, Arona turned Sakuraba's face into something inhuman. The look on Sakuraba's face as the camera zoomed in on him after the fight is almost sickening.
Enson Inoue vs. Igor Vovchanchyn - PRIDE 10: Return of the Warriors
PRIDE FC had more than it's fair share of violence but Enson Inoue vs. Igor Vovchanchyn was one of the more extreme examples. The fight started off with one of the most insanely sloppy striking exchanges in the history of the sport. Inoue did the most damage in the exchange but his success ended there. Igor threw him to the floor like a child and proceeded to unleash some of the fiercest ground and pound that I've ever seen. After a quick reset by the referee, Igor transitioned to mount and lambasted Inoue until the bell rang. An exhausted Igor got up and walked back to his corner, while Inoue lay on the canvas. Inoue's beaten body had to be dragged back to his corner. Needless to say that this was the end of the fight.
Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos vs. Jan "Cuddles" Finney - Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum
Truth be told, this fight should have never happened. The California State Athletic Commission really dropped the ball on this one. We knew what was going to happen but we didn't expect it to be this bad. From the starting bell to the end of the fight, Cyborg walked through every bit of Finney's offense and committed what could be considered a war crime. This wasn't a fight at all. It was the equivalent of a bait dog being thrown in with champion game dog. There's no technical breakdown in this one. Cyborg savaged Finney for nearly eight minutes. Many fans complain that the fight went on far longer than it needed to. It's hard to argue with them.
"The Prodigy" B.J. Penn vs. Joe "Daddy" Stevenson - UFC 80: Rapid Fire
I recently saw an episode of "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern" where he witnessed the dispatching of a Camel that he would later eat. The kill was supposed to be swift as the Camels jugular vein was slashed open. The opposite happened. The camel ran around the enclosed area spraying blood for minutes until it was finally put down. This is what happened to Joe Stevenson at UFC 80. After dominating Stevenson on the feet B.J. Penn cut him open with an elbow and bleed him for the rest of the round. Stevenson rushed out in the second round with a look of determination and desperation in his eyes. His efforts were futile though. The round played out much like the first and Stevenson quickly found himself in a rear naked choke that literally squeezed the blood out of him. The beating was so savage that Stevenson was left in tears.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua - PRIDE Total Elimination 2005
We often hear promoters talk about bad blood. More often than not it's fabricated to hype fights and sell pay-per-view's. This was not one of those instances. Shogun and Rampage had real beef. Shogun's brother was robbed of a win against Rampage in his last fight. Rampage voiced his disagreement with the win but Shogun was having none of it. When Shogun and Rampage finally met in the ring, Rampage was on the receiving end of a shellacking. After breaking several of Rampage's ribs with knees in the clinch, Shogun poured it on. The referee finally stepped in after Shogun soccer kicked Rampage into oblivion. Jackson lay slumped down in the corner with the look of a defeated man written across his face, while Shogun was carried around the ring in celebration.
This is Vol. 1 of a 3 part series that I'll be posting over the next few weeks. Comments? Additions? Suggestions? You know what to do. Oh and follow me on Twitter @DeoWade
Picture credit in order of use.