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Who do you love to hate? Who do you want to lose every time they step inside the ring or the cage? MMA has a long, rich history with heels like Frank Shamrock, Tank Abbott, Phil Baroni, Tito Ortiz and too many others to count. Even the most dispassionate, analytical fans still get riled up by certain trash-talking fighters. So who are the most hated heels in MMA today?
10. Chael Sonnen
Chael Sonnen might be trying harder to sell himself as a heel than anyone on this list. Largely regarded as a boring lay-and-pray fighter before he came to the UFC, he's reinvented himself in the UFC as the man destined to beat Anderson Silva. At least, that's what he'll tell you. He's talked more outlandish trash about Anderson Silva than can be recounted, pitching himself as a savior come to rescue the UFC from the curse of the dancing Brazilian. In the process, he's somehow generated a good deal of hype for a fight where the oddsmakers have him as a very large underdog.
"Ed [Soares], pray to whatever Demon effigy you prance and dance in front of with your piglet tribe of savages that I decide not to CRUCIFY you."
"He’s a grown man with earrings. He’s a grown man with saggy pants, pink t-shirts and crooked hats. Go join a gang, don’t get in the UFC."
9. Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva joins his UFC 117 opponent on this list due to a string of bizarre fights and condescending remarks made about the fans who buy his fights. Despite his reputation as the pound for pound best fighter in the world, Anderson Silva doesn't have a lot of fans these days. Three of his last four fights have been incredibly dull snoozers, and his bout against Demian Maia at UFC 112 was even worse. Silva spent nearly the entire fight taunting Maia, verbally insulting him several times, dancing around the ring, avoiding engagement, and generally making an ass of himself. He won the fight via unanimous decision, but lost far more than he gained. Although initially recalcitrant, at the press conference after the fight he claimed he "owed nobody an apology" and "couldn't please everyone"
After dancing and taunting Demian Maia for five rounds: "You know, they’re here, they’re fans, they pay for the PPV and sometimes the fans don’t understand exactly what’s going on inside the Octagon."
8. Josh Koscheck
Koscheck has generally taken a heel approach to MMA from day one. He admits that he doesn't particularly care what the fans think of him or what other fighters think of him. As a result, he's got a legion of haters, and even Dana White has accused him of not being a team player. However, despite his generally rude and standoffish behavior, Josh Koscheck's real introduction into elite heel status came when turned his post fight interview at UFC 113 into a heel promo any pro-wrestler would be proud of. Note the classic heel techniques of insulting the local sports team as well as the hometown hero.
7. James Toney
I'm cheating just a bit to put Toney on this list, because he's never had an MMA fight. But because he's done such a good job getting MMA purists everywhere furious, I'll stick him at number seven. Toney seems to have zero respect for any aspect of MMA that isn't boxing, and isn't shy about letting anyone know.
"I don’t care if Randy Couture is a legend in this sport, I have had a career of knocking guys out in their back yards. Boxing is the superior science, we are the best. I am going to show that wrestling and hugging people is for women... you know that jiu jitsu, all the hugging… it's for girls."
6. Frank Mir
Mir simply comes across as an entitled jerk in many of his interviews. For a man who lost to Brandon Vera, Pe de Pano, and Ian Freeman, he seems to have an awfully high opinion of himself. He's constantly talking about how he's "one of the most dangerous men in the world" or "one of the greatest heavyweights of all time". That's why whenever Mir fights a sizable contingent of fans cheer for him to get pummeled.
Re: Brock Lesnar before their second fight: "I'm working on the intricacies of details of maneuvers that he still doesn't even know the names of."
5. Nick Diaz
Nick Diaz is not a typical heel. He has legions of loyal supporters who love his brash attitude and will follow him wherever he goes. But he's also one of the most annoying fighters in MMA for those who don't like him. And Nick Diaz is a pro at providing his detractors with plenty of ammunition. There's the constant in-cage taunting. The admitted drug use (this makes some fans despise him and some love him even more). Losing to Joe Riggs and then cheapshotting him in the hospital. Strange, rambling verbal assualts on anyone he perceives to disrespect him. And the infamous Strikeforce: Nashville brawl.
There are really too many Nick Diaz quotes to choose just one, so instead I'll use this:
4. Shinya Aoki
Shinya Aoki is at this moment the standard bearer for Japanese MMA. It's too bad he's also got a tendency to cry in the ring after losses and taunt his opponents after snapping their limbs. You'd think that a fighter could only be hated for one general reason, but Aoki manages to gather scorn for being both a bully and a crybaby. Truly a stunning heel accomplishment.
3. Tito Ortiz
Tito Ortiz is one of MMA's all-time great heels. Through a combo of trash talk, arrogance, and talent, Ortiz became one of the UFC's highest drawing and most disliked fighters. More than a million people paid to watch Chuck Liddell knock him out. And for every recent loss, there's an excuse. Broken back, cracked skull, you name it and Tito's used it as an excuse for a loss. And even in the twilight of his career, Ortiz manages to draw haters like flies to manure.
It's hard to pick just one, but this celebration after slamming Evan Tanner unconscious is amazing
2. Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar is the most polarizing fighter in MMA today. It seems everyone either loves to watch him win or yearns to see him lose. Let's face it: coming from a pro wrestling background and entering the UFC with one fight to his name, Lesnar was never going to go over as the good guy to traditional MMA fans. Lesnar embraced the heel role beautifully, taunting Heath Herring cowboy style after his first UFC win, and going berserk after beating Frank Mir in their second fight at UFC 100. Lesnar's caught flack for many, many of his actions and comments, but none can top his post UFC 100 rant where he manages to insult the fans, the sponsors, his opponent, and general decency all in one interview. I defy you to find a better post fight sequence.
1. Dana White
A surprise choice at number one! But if you really stop to think, has there ever been a more hated figure in MMA than Dana White? White plays up his public image as the face of the UFC precisely so that he can create controversy and attention for his company. It's partly who he is but it's also part of a self-made persona. His targets are many: Journalists, fighters, promotions, managers, websites, boxing, politicians, and more. His track record is far too long to list specific instances. The one thing any educated fan should know is that White isn't saying these things for no reason. He's a promoter, and a calculating guy. He knows exactly how to draw attention with his persona and he's extremely good at it. Love him or hate him, you cannot deny that White is the best at his brand of madness, and if he's making you mad then he's doing his job.
It's unbelievably hard to pick just one Dana White moment, but I think the essence of his persona is summed up perfeclty by this one picture.