Before Deadliest Warrior showed us who would win in a fight between Jack the Ripper and General Petraeus, the only way we could determine the outcome of a fight between people of competing styles was the UFC. When UFC 1 happened, we could finally answer questions like: "who would win in a fight between a one-gloved boxer and a mysterious Brazilian?"; "what’s tougher, a fat Hawaiian guy’s face or a Dutch kick-boxer’s foot?"; and "what would have to happen to get Bill "Superfoot" Wallace to announce things?"
Royce Gracie, circa 1993, via media.strategywiki.org
UFC has done us the great service of answering questions like those and then some. We now know about the relative importance of jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, wrestling, and boxing, and the relative unimportance of Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, and magical nerve pinches. But I, for one, still feel the burning sting of a question to which I’ve wanted to know the answer since the dawn of today: who is most knock-outabble person in the world? To settle this, I present to you the Bloody Elbow Tournament of Trauma (BEToT)!
The BEToT is a one-night tournament, held in International Waters, designed to find out who MMA’s greatest knocked-out artist is. The rules of the tournament are simple:
1. NUMBERS: There are eight contestants and one alternate.
2. EXPOSURE: The more often a contestant has been knocked out on one of the world’s greatest stages – UFC, Pride, or Strikeforce – the greater his chances of getting in. After all, we’re looking for the world’s best KO’d artists, not Shannon Ritch.
3. SPECTACULARITY: The more spectacular the knock out loss, the better your chances of getting in. Steve Nelmark-style KO’d’s are what we’re looking for. If the viewing audience thinks you’re dead, then you’re on the right track.
Steve Nelmark: "Made it, Ma! Bottom of the world!" via fightrankings.files.wordpress.com
4. ADVANCEMENT: To advance to the next round, you have to get knocked out. In other words, getting knocked out gets you a win. But the thing is, you have to try to knock the other guy out. No intentionally punching yourself in the head or jumping into a guard rail.
5. REFEREE: Gary Goodridge is the referee. He’s an old hand at this, and he will not stop any of the fights. Because he doesn’t know what’s going on.
6. PRIZE: the winner gets a lifetime supply of soup and gets to have his brain donated to science.
The BEToT trophy, via afcwa.com
So, let me introduce you to the competitors:
ALTERNATE: Kendall "Da Spyda" Grove. With 3 KO losses and 2 TKO losses, "Da Spyda" is no stranger to the sweet caress of dreamland. That said, his best knocked outs – against Joe Riggs and Hector Ramirez at King of the Cage, and Jorge Rivera at UFC 80 – are either against journeyman fighters or at low-profile organizations.
Wouldn't you want to knock this man out? via t0.gstatic.com
NUMBER 8: Keith "The Dean of Mean and Also the Dean of Getting Knocked Out" Jardine. Like Grove, Jardine has 3 KO’d’s and 2 TKO’d’s, but his two best ‘victories’ – against Wanderlei Silva and Ryan Bader – beat out Da Spyda’s. In addition, his knocked-out against Ryan Bader should be on more highlight reels than it is, as Jardine falls just like a bag of shit dropped from an airplane.
NUMBER 7: Jorge Santiago. Santiago beats out Grove and Jardine not only because of quantity (he’s got 3 KO’d’s and 3 TKO’d’s to Grove’s and Jardine’s 3 and 2) but also because of quality. Not only has he gotten clean KO’d by a kick from Alan Belcher and TKO’d by a Mamed Khalidov hook when Khalidov was lying on his back, Santiago’s expression whenever he gets knocked out is priceless: he displays this unique combination of confusion, surprise, and indifference, as though he just found out his sister is one eighth Lochness Monster.
NUMBER 6: Wanderlei "The Axe Murdered" Silva. Some may be surprised that Wanderlei is more highly ranked than Santiago. After all, Wanderlei only has 5 KO’d’s/TKO’d’s whereas Santiago has 6. However, Wandy has 4 KO’d’s to Santiago’s 3, and Wandy’s really on a roll right now. In his last eight fights, he’s gotten knocked out cold four times, with the Chris Leben knocked-out happening in a mere twenty-seven seconds. It also doesn’t hurt that Wandy has been knocked out, like, twenty times in training and has the diction of a Ukranian hooker on ecstasy.
NUMBER 5: Mirko "CroCop" Filopovic. CroCop has the same number of KO’d’s (4) and TKO’d’s (1) that Silva does, but CroCop has two advantages over the Axe Murdered. First, he has the highest spectacularity quotient of any of our competitors: when CroCop gets KO’d, it’s like his body gets gangbanged by gravity. Not only are the lights turned out, the house is abandoned, bulldozed, and then the earth where it once stood is salted. Second, he no longer offers any offense whatsoever. His stock as a fighter has diminished, but he’ll win any standing competition he’s entered into. A fight between CroCop and Kalib Starnes would be legendary, like a retarded cyclist chasing a mailbox.
NUMBER 4: Chuck "The Ice Man" Liddell. Chuck Liddell used to be called the Ice Man because he never got nervous before fights. Now, they call him the Ice Man because he turns cold instantly. Chuck, like the rest of the top four, has amazing one-touch knocked-out power. Though he only has 2 KO’d’s and 3 TKO’d’s, it’s the manner of his KO’d’s that makes him a threat to win the whole BEToT. First, his KO loss to Rashad Evans is, along with Gonzaga’s KO of CroCop, the gold standard of getting knocked out. I could be wrong, but I believe Liddell’s head literally spun around like a top for three whole minutes. Second, his KO loss to Rich Franklin looked entirely accidental. It really looked like Rich was trying to give Chuck directions to a pretty good BBQ place and was trying to point behind Chuck, but he errantly bonked Liddell on the button and put him into knockout heaven (that’s where you go when you get knocked out). To be knocked out by a tap like that says that you’re in this thing to win it. Liddell is the perfect sleeper pick.
Moments later, Chuck was knocked out, via www.deliberationroom.com
NUMBER 3: Andre "The Pit Bull" Arlovski. KO’d watchers knew that Andrei Arlovski was a star in the making when he got knocked out in his very first fight by Viacheslav Datsik. While his career has had some low points (he had a five year dry spell between 2001 and 2006), Arlovski has really been turning on the jets lately. Not only is he on a four-loss roll (with 2 KO’d’s and 1 TKO’d), when he gets knocked out, he looks like he died of fright. Like, if I were walking into my apartment, and I opened the door and saw Arlovski knocked out on the floor of my living room, I would know immediately that he had watched that video tape from The Ring seven days before.
Arlovski's fright-face, via cdn3.sbnation.com
NUMBER 2: Jonathan "The Road Warrior" Goulet. A lot of people think Goulet dyes his hair, but really those colors are just brain fluids. The stats speak for themselves: knocked out 3 times, TKO’d 6 times, and tapped to strikes one time. This guy wants to get knocked out, and the man gets what he wants.
His best performance was probably his four-second loss to Duane "Bang" Ludwig. On January 16, 2006, Jonathan Goulet ran towards Ludwig like an angry, very fragile bull. Three seconds and one lazy Ludwig punch later, Goulet was sucking canvass. But then – and this is the amazing part – one second later Goulet was awake and smiling. He knew then that he had gotten the record for fastest knocked out of all time. Well, he didn’t know it then, on account of lost time, but he strongly suspected it, and probably someone told him later.
Although he, like Liddell, is officially retired, he has a taste for blood—his own blood—, and also he wants the victory soup.
Jonathan Goulet, seconds after introducing himself to Duane Ludwig, via www.cdn.sherdog.com
NUMBER 1: James "The Colossus" Thompson. The King of Knocked-Out. The Sultan of Stunned. The Prince of Punched. There is only one James Thompson, and man, is he unconscious. On paper, Thompson blows everyone else out of the water: an incredible eight—eight!!—KO’d’s and two TKO’d’s for a total of eleven Tournament of Trauma points (I know that 2+8 usually equals 10, but this is James’s math, not mine).
James Thompson gets knocked out three to four times a day. He is not medically cleared to do anything. He once knocked himself out by trying to wipe the sweat from his brow. Most impressive of all, he got knocked out by a jab by Miodrag Petkovic.
And he's the favorite to win the BEToT.
The Favorite, via assets.espn.go.com