Putting on a show is integral to mixed martial arts and many other combat sports like Muay Thai, Kickboxing, and Boxing. Prizefighters who don’t understand the importance of putting on a show for fans often find themselves getting neglected by promoters and not getting the same opportunities lesser fighters who are entertaining get.
It’s called the fight business for a reason, and you would be wise to understand that there’s more to being a fighter than simply winning fights. Fight promoters have to make money to rent venues, market their events, and sell their fights, so fighters who put butts in seats or get people to order pay-per-views will always get more opportunities than those who don’t. Many of today’s most popular fighters like Conor McGregor and Israel Adesanya are experts at captivating fans with their showmanship.
Seven Times When Showboating Backfired In Mixed Martial Arts
While putting on a show for fans is a massive part of mixed martial arts, things don’t always go as planned. It only takes one mistake to end up in a bad spot. Here are some of the most memorable moments showboating went wrong in mixed martial arts:
1) Anderson Silva Vs. Chris Weidman
Anderson Silva was one of the most entertaining fighters to watch in his prime, and his showboating tactics were a huge part of it. Silva enjoyed toying with opponents with his incredible head movement and footwork. He always seemed to be multiple steps ahead of everyone he faced.
Silva had one of his most impressive performances when he squared off against Forrest Griffin at UFC 101. It was reminiscent of “The Matrix” as Silva effortlessly slipped and weaved past Griffin’s attacks before putting him away with a jab.
Silva’s luck finally ran out when he squared off against Chris Weidman at UFC 162. After spending most of the first round on his back, Silva weaved into a hook as he did his usual Matrix-style strike evasion. Weidman followed up with punches on the ground, bringing Silva’s legendary reign to an end.
2) Johan Segas Vs. Joe Harding
These two collided on a British Challenge MMA card in 2017, and they ended up creating one of the most memorable moments that showboating went wrong inside the cage. The fight was competitive for the most part, with Harding likely ahead on the scorecards since he had the crowd behind him the entire time.
Hardin decided to taunt Segas with a little dance during the third round, but the latter used the opportunity to land a vicious head kick that instantly stiffened Harding. The video went viral hours later, warning prospective MMA fighters of the dangers of being too cool for school inside the cage.
3) Michael Page Vs. Douglas Lima
Like Anderson Silva, Page is known for showboating as part of his fighting style. He’s also one of the best strikers in MMA history, with a unique style that’s impossible to imitate. Page sported an undefeated record heading into his title clash against Lima, and he took the theatrics to new highs heading into their clash.
Page fought like he usually does during the bout and had lots of success. However, Lima caught him with an inside low kick that sent him to the canvas and followed up with an uppercut that put him away. Page did manage to avenge the loss when the two squared off for their rematch at Bellator 267.
Diaz stepped up as a last-minute replacement when Rafael dos Anjos pulled out of his scheduled UFC 196 bout against McGregor. Conor was coming off his win against Jose Aldo, which earned him the UFC’s featherweight title, and he was the biggest name in mixed martial arts.
Conor did not disappoint with the trash talk heading into his fight against Diaz, and many expected him to put Diaz away in impressive fashion early in the fight.
That’s not what happened, though.
Diaz took McGregor’s best shots and took over the fight when Conor dropped his hands to taunt him. Diaz landed a 1,2 combination, stunning McGregor. Dazed, Conor shot in for a takedown, but Diaz sprawled and jumped over him. He forced a tap shortly after, becoming the first man to defeat McGregor in the UFC.
In true Nate Diaz fashion, he then gave us one of the most memorable quotes in MMA history when commentator Joe Rogan asked him what he thought of his performance, “I’m not surprised m———–s!”
5) Jonathan Ivey Vs. Hikaru Sato
Ivey wasn’t very respectful of Sato heading into their Pancrase 284 fight as he brought WWE-style antics with him. He made some videos mocking traditional Japanese training styles and was pretty sure the fight would go his way.
Ivey taunted Sato from the fight’s opening moments, but Sato didn’t get flustered by it. Ivey even mocked Sato by getting into the famous “Karate Kid” stance. Sato eventually made him pay, catching him with an overhand right that put him away.
6) Chris Leben Vs. Terry Martin
Leben was on the wrong end of highlight reels a few times in his MMA career, but his victory against Martin has to be one of his favorites. Martin got the better of the exchanges during the fight, but he got cocky when he had Leben hurt. Instead of jumping in for the finish, Martin mocked the visible hurt Leben by extending his arms, daring him to engage.
That made Leben angry enough to forget he was hurt. He charged forward while throwing a wild barrage of punches until one eventually caught Martin and put him away.
7) Holly Holm Vs. Bethe Correia
Holm scored one of the most impressive finishes in her career when she faced Correia in 2017. She dominated the exchanges and was up two rounds going into the third round. Correia was frustrated with her inability to land strikes on Holm and started taunting her in an attempt to get her to stand and bang with her. She waved her fingers inside, motioning Holm to engage, and dropped her hands a few times. Holm caught her flush as she taunted, knocking her out cold with a roundhouse kick.
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