Posted 07/16/2013 by admin in Untethered MMA

Top MMA Moments of 2013 Part 1

By Mike Fagan, July 16th, 2013

We’re midway through the year, which means you’ve probably seen all sorts of mid-year “best of” lists at your favorite MMA web sites. Don’t fret, dear reader. I am not immune to the temptation of easy-to-write click-bait. And so I present, the top MMA moments of 2013 (so far).


Mike Goldberg rumored to be in drug rehab

Jon Jones’ toe explodes at UFC 159

Ilir Latifi headlines Sweden’s UFC on Fuel

10. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson signs with Bellator

Both Quinton Jackson and Dana White made it clear that Rampage’s fight with Glover Teixeira would be his last for the UFC. So, no one was surprised when Jackson signed a deal outside the promotion. Heading to Bellator, the de facto number two MMA promotion in the world, was no guarantee. Jackson teased both boxing and kickboxing careers, and the free-spending World Series of Fighting could have used a big name to put in front of an NBC Sports Network audience. And Rebney himself decreed his promotion would not end up as a home for UFC castoffs.

But Bellator/Viacom gambled on the Rampage brand still carrying weight with casual fans, signing him to the same dual MMA/pro wrestling contract that inked King Mo in 2012. We’ll find out if the gamble will pay off later this year, but we do know that Rampage will be the biggest name to ever step inside the Bellator cage.

9. The UFC releases top-ten welterweight Jon Fitch

It’s not unusual for the UFC to release a fighter who has lost two of his last three fights.

But cutting Jon Fitch left the UFC in an awkward position. The promotion had just instituted its new ranking system, which polled a large group of media members. Those media members still ranked Fitch as the number 9 welterweight in the world, despite the loss to Maia.

So what did the UFC do? They scrubbed Fitch’s name from the rankings, and left a blank in the 9 spot.

Fortunately for the promotion, Fitch lost in embarrassing fashion to Josh Burkman in his debut for World Series of Fighting, retroactively providing justification for the move to many.

8. Nick Diaz introduces MMA fans to “wolf tickets”

For many, the prospect of a Nick Diaz press conference is as exciting – if not moreso – than the succeeding fight itself. (Guessing whether Nick actually shows up to said press conference is often as exciting as both.)

While Diaz’s fight with Georges St-Pierre at UFC 158 turned into a pedestrian GSP victory, Diaz’s performance at the pre-fight press conference did not disappoint. Diaz told St-Pierre he was scared to take the fight, then recanted, then complained about not being featured in the UFC’s magazine. Then he introduced a new phrase into MMA fan’s vernaculars: wolf tickets.

Georges was selling you wolf tickets. Dana was selling you wolf tickets. The UFC was selling you wolf tickets. Unsurprisingly, the phrase went meme and hashtag quickly.

7. Emmanuel Newton knocks out King Mo

When Zuffa decided to cut ties with King Mo, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney must have thought his luck couldn’t get any better. Mo was a flashy fighter with a marketable personality with the talent to hang with the UFC’s top guys, let alone Bellator’s thin offerings. Here was a guy they could not only build a division around, but the entire promotion. And he had essentially fallen into their laps.

Unsurprisingly, Mo won his debut against something called Przemyslaw Mysiala in the first round of Bellator’s season 8 light heavyweight tournament. His second round opponent would be Emmanuel Newton, a name most people still don’t know. Mo entered the fight a -1000 favorite.

And then Newton flattened him with a spinning backfist, foiling Bellator’s best laid plans.

6. Fallon Fox comes out as transgendered

Fallon Fox was born Boyd Burton, the son of a conservative family from Ohio. In 2006, Fox traveled to Bangkok to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Six years later she fought MMA twice, first in Idaho and then in Florida.

Three days after the fight in Florida, Fox came out as a transgender woman. And all hell broke loose.

Joe Rogan, Matt Mitrione, and other meatheads attacked Fox for being a “man” fighting women. Others faulted her for not disclosing her gender on prefight medical documents. Some questioned whether being born a man provided her an unfair athletic advantage. And some members of the LGBT community entered the conversation in MMA circles, and not always with the best of intentions.

The debate, when one throws out the meathead bullshit, is still one worth having, and unfortunately, one that probably cannot be answered until more research surfaces. In the meantime, Florida licensed Fox a third fight in May. She defeated Allanna Jones by submission.

Stay tuned for part 2 later this week.