Not surprising to anyone, this is the biggest category in our entire award show. In my opinion, it also might be the toughest one to vote on. Think about it - you are voting on which fight is the best of the best out of the worst of the worst in an era where tapping out from just being on the ground was not uncommon. The fights we have selected are the ones that made you groan, made you fast-forward VHS tapes, and in some cases, may have made you question being a fan of the UFC at all.
Brace yourselves, because here are the nominees for the Worst Fight Ever:
Fred Ettish VS Johnny Rhodes - Poor Fred Ettish. Here is the tale of a man that had the best intents in the world, and ended up a broken wreck in a little over three minutes. An extremely last-minute alternate for another alternate fighter that got hurt in the prelims of UFC 2, Ettish was backstage volunteering as a fight-wrangler and hoping to draw attention to himself enough to get a shot in the cage. Fate was kind to Ettish, as he got his chance after all, and within 10 minutes, got his corner together and prepared for his MMA debut against Johnny Rhodes. Sadly, he was outmatched by Rhodes, and spent the duration of his time in the octagon being beaten senseless by his opponent while looking clueless throughout the entire fight. Ettish would get his redemption over a decade later, but his first fight was a horrific experience for himself and anyone watching that night.
Jon Hess VS Andy Anderson - UFC 5 was seemingly built around Dan Severn, who the UFC was hoping would become their poster boy. The fighters in the tournament at that show were not quite as esteemed in martial arts skills as previous events saw, and this included master of SAFTA, Jon Hess, taking on street fighter Andy Anderson. Anderson was not a fighter and had no reason to be in the cage at all, but he squeaked his way into the tournament somehow, most likely using his pull as the man behind all the ring card girls you saw back in those days. The best thing about this fight was that it was very short, but that did not make it any less painful to watch.
Ken Shamrock VS Oleg Taktarov - Shamrock won the UFC Superfight title at UFC 6 by submitting Dan Severn in a great performance, while Taktarov had won the tournament at that event. It made perfect sense for these two to be booked against each other on paper, especially with them both being great grapplers who were not afraid to strike. Instead, UFC 7 gave us a huge disappointment with a 33 minute draw in which damn near nothing happened. Shamrock and Taktarov were not afraid to throw punches every other minute or so, and Taktarov even bled a little (he would also bleed from sneezing too hard and yawning). But in the long run, very little happened in this match that was an epic fail for a pretty mediocre event.
Oleg Taktarov VS Marco Ruas - What happens when you take two winners of different UFC tournaments and put them against each other in the semi-finals of the first Ultimate Ultimate tournament? You get 18 minutes of dancing. Talk about disappointing, since on paper, this should have been what Ken VS Oleg was not - two grapplers who could strike having a crazy back-and-forth match that would keep the audience on their toes. This match makes me sad because they also had a rematch in Vale Tudo in 1996 that went 31 minutes with not much happening before that resulted in a draw. Perhaps Ruas and Oleg are magnets of the same poles and can never touch each other because science.
Paul Varelans VS Joe Moreira - UFC 8 was one of our favorite events ever in old school MMA history. The majority of the fights were spectacular to watch, but then you had this one. Varelans was known for his aggressive style of in-your-face fighting, while Moreira was making his UFC debut and being touted as a great BJJ fighter. No one expected this match to be one for the history books, but indeed it was, as Varelans spent 10 minutes doing his impression of a pink lawn flamingo while Moreira ran around the ring, throwing weak kicks to Varelans and afraid to commit to anything except fleeing in terror from his opponent. Varelans won by decision, and viewers lost ten minutes of their lives that they could not get back.
Dan Severn VS Ken Shamrock 2 - Ugh. I want to vomit just from typing that title. I have gone to great lengths in the past to explain this terrible fight, so I suggest you give that link a read before continuing. This was the rematch at UFC 9 that fans were clamoring to see, and were clamoring to run away from once it began. If you want to see two sweaty heavyweights circle each other for 30 minutes, then this is the fight for you? But, if you prefer your fights with fighting, you might want to avoid this one.
Don Frye VS Mark Hall - One of the few fixed fights in the early days of the UFC, Frye and his people made an agreement with Hall backstage before their fight. The story goes that both Hall and Frye had the same managers, and Frye wanted an easy way into the finals of the tournament against Tank Abbott at the Ultimate Ultimate 1996 tournament. Since Frye had already beaten Hall before, they arranged that Hall would be paid a sum to take a dive.
The fight lasted 20 seconds, with Frye easily overpowering Hall and catching him a weak-looking achilles tendon hold that caused Hall to tap in visible pain. Even the commentators noticed something was funny with this one, but comparatively speaking, at least this nominee had an actual submission hold being used.
Thanks to June M. Williams for our Awards graphics.
Place your vote by writing in the comments, and let us know why you made your decision. Best answers will get read during our OSMMA Review Award Show episode!
"The OSMMA Review Awards, Volume 1" only represents UFC 1 through Ultimate Ultimate 1996, so remember that when placing your vote, as anything other than what was listed in the categories will be ignored, and the voter shall be promptly flogged. Stay constantly vigilant as more categories become announced, or take a peek at the stream to make sure you placed your vote in all twelve categories!