Over the next few days, Bloody Elbow is going to ask for your opinion on some of the best things that have happened in the MMA world over the course of 2015. There will be a total of eight different categories you'll be asked to vote on. For the sake of simplicity we're going to stick with high-level and relevant MMA stuff in these posts. While I'm sure there was a ludicrous knockout in an unscheduled MMA event at The Lumberyard strip club in Des Moines, or an insane pancreas lock submission on an obscure ZST! card in Japan, let's just stick to stuff a lot of us have seen, okay? (If that spiel looked familiar, it's because I've used the same one for five years in a row. Originality? What originality?)
It's pretty simple. I'll post 5-10 options in a category, you vote for what you think was the best. If you think I left something really important off my list, post it in the comments and we can add it to the poll if it's deemed worthy. I can almost guarantee you won't like all my suggestions, but narrowing down these lists is tough.
You can still vote on the first category, Best Submission.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's get onto the second poll - the biggest debacle of 2015. This year seemed to have way more blunders, screw-ups, and controversy than years past in the sport, so what better way to relive the antics than to pick the best of the worst? This could have easily had 20 nominees, but I had to get it to 10. Here we go.
Jon Jones tests positive for cocaine, wasn't supposed to be tested for it - The year started with a major scandal - the light heavyweight champion had tested positive for cocaine. Clearly it was a PR nightmare for Jones and for the UFC. But two things quickly came out that made the whole thing very strange - fighters aren't supposed to be tested for recreational drugs when they're out of competition, so why was he? And why were the results made public? Regardless, Jones ended up in rehab for 24 hours, and an incident a few months later made most people forget about it.
Anderson Silva's NSAC meeting turns into a sex drugs circus - This one was definitely the most bizarre of the bunch. First, Silva's entire defense against a failed PED test was a sexual performance drug from Thailand that he apparently got from a friend. They refused to provide any evidence though. The NSAC defense was labeled "hokey". Then the music began. Someone started playing hilarious ringtones, like "Let's Talk About Sex" and "Bump and Grind". Silva ended up suspended for a year.
Jose Aldo's drug tester was more interested in an autograph - In the run-up to UFC 189, a strange situation occurred in Brazil. Aldo was tested by an NSAC-approved agent, but according to CABMMA (the Brazilian commission), he didn't have the correct visa to conduct the testing. So that test was thrown out, and the CABMMA DCO did the test instead a day later. After he collected it, he asked for an autograph and picture with Aldo, and the request was granted.
Reebok screws up everything - Giblert. Norifumi Yakovlev. Anderson Aldo. Only including half of Ireland (and this one's still on sale!). The UFC's deal with Reebok has lead to a litany of amateur-level errors with their merchandise, which has shocked and amused many.
The horrible UFC rankings - Barely any of the relevant media members were participating. Then the UFC went and said that the rankings would determine how Reebok would pay out their sponsorship money, and those members quit too, rightly wanting nothing to do with influencing fighter pay. Now they're even more of a mess than normal, with fighters regularly ranked below people they just beat and some panelists showing very clear nationalist biases with their ballots.
Nick Diaz given completely unreasonable suspension by NSAC - After a loss to Silva at UFC 183, Diaz was drug tested three times. Two of his samples came back clean. A third, tested at a different lab, was way over the limit for marijuana metabolites. Despite science basically proving the failed test had to be wrong and a very good case being presented by Diaz's lawyer, the commission went waaay overboard and gave him an incredible five-year suspension. A huge public outcry, a White House petition, and a strong comeback from Diaz's people have NSAC changing their minds, and the real suspension will probably come out soon.
Face The Pain gets dubstep remix - The UFC has used the same song to open PPVs forever. After years of being made fun of, they finally changed it - to a horrible dubstep remix of the same damn song. I laughed hysterically every time I heard it. Finally, mercifully, they went back to the original version for UFC 194.
T.J. Dillashaw leaves Team Alpha Male, Urijah Faber gets mad - UFC bantamweight champion had been at TAM for a long time. When the camp brought in Duane Ludwig to coach, he helped a lot of guys to get better. But due to a bad relationship with Urijah Faber, he packed up his peanut butter and left. Eventually, Dillashaw did too - to go to Colorado to work with Ludwig. This made Faber lash out at both of them and ban TJ from his gym, and he is now angling for a fight with his former teammate. The funniest part might be that Conor McGregor called the split-up before it ever happened.
Did Yoel Romero say gay Jesus? - After a big win, middleweight Yoel Romero butchered the English language in a post-fight speech where it sounded like he may have been talking about "gay Jesus". This was apparently in reference to the US passing same-sex marriage laws. Romero claims he was misunderstood, which is certainly possible, but the backlash was pretty severe. For a day or two, until the next issue came along.
Jon Jones gets in hit and run, stripped of LHW title - The UFC LHW champ was driving in Albuquerque when he smoked a car in an intersection, breaking a pregnant woman's arm in the accident. He fled the scene, and eventually turned himself in later. He was charged with a felony, which led the UFC to strip him of his title and suspend him. Eventually he was sentenced to 18 months probation.