May 19, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Josh Barnett (right) fights Daniel Cormier (left) during the heavyweight tournament final bout of the Strikeforce World Grand Prix at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Five MMA Mayan Apocalypses (Hyped Things That Never Happened)

February 4, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Retired UFC fighter Randy Couture sits in attendance during UFC 143 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was a let-down. For hundreds of years people have been pointing to today as the end of the world. It even looked like it was going to happen for a second, as Jade Bryce acknowledged my presence on Twitter last night and even gave a “haha.” But alas, I woke up today just like any other day: I still had to come to work, and still have to clean the apartment tonight. All is not lost, however, as it really would have sucked if my last meal was Shawarma. No offense to the shawarma, but it wouldn’t be how I want to remember food as I plunge into the black abyss of the apocalypse.

Anyways, now that things are back to normal, and the Mayan calendar-theory was a giant bust, I got to thinking about other things that got infinite amounts of hype only never to materialize. Naturally, seeing that I write an MMA blog, I especially thought about the question through that lens. Here are the top five MMA Mayan Apocalypses that I was able to come up with:

Dana White vs. Tito Ortiz Boxing Match

Over the years, it’s been really fun to see all of the headaches Tito Ortiz has given Dana White and vice versa. It has seemed like the two could never agree on anything other than needing the other to make money. Tito was one of the first big draws in MMA, but had little option for using said drawing power than the UFC. As a result, there were many intense negotiations between the two, which generally involved Tito holding out for more money and Dana getting angry. Exemplifying this, as part of Tito’s negotiations in 2006, the UFC agreed that Dana White would box him in an exhibition fight. The results probably would have been awesome, as either Dana would have gotten knocked out, or gotten the better of one of the UFC’s most highly-promoted fighters. Either would have been hilarious. However, it was never to be, as Tito no-showed the weigh in and caused the bout to be cancelled.

Affliction: Trilogy

With Zuffa dominating the MMA world today, it’s hard to remember that at one point its dominance was challenged by clothing company Affliction. While Dana White would probably never admit it today, the UFC definitely felt threatened by the up-and-coming promotion, as it banned the company’s clothes from the octagon and put Anderson Silva on free TV to counter-program Affliction’s first pay per view. The first two Affliction shows were centered around Fedor Emelianenko fighting (and destroying) former UFC Heavyweight Champions Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski. This all built to Affliction: Trilogy, which featured the long-awaited fight between Fedor and Josh Barnett in the main event. The card was also to include notables Jay Hieron, Paul Daley, Vitor Belfort, Jorge Santiago, Babalu, and Gegard Mousassi. All in all, the main card was stacked enough that people thought it was comparable (if not better) than the UFC’s product at the time. Just eleven days before the show, however, Barnett failed a pre-fight drug screening, causing the bout, card, and promotion to eventually be scrapped.

Fedor vs. Randy

Speaking of Fedor, one of the most hyped fights in MMA history was a potential mid 2000’s fight between him and UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture. Not only are the fighters two of the most decorated heavyweights in MMA history, they are also synonymous with Pride FC and the UFC, and the fight would have done wonders to solve the “which promotion is better” debate. Randy was even willing to walk away from his spot as the UFC Champion in 2007 to make it happen, and he attempted to resign from his contract to fight Fedor elsewhere. The fight never materialized, however, because the UFC would not agree to release Randy from his contract and could not come to terms with Fedor. Thus, until the end of time, the UFC vs. Pride and Randy vs. Fedor debates will never have a definitive answer.

Anderson Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre

I know, I know, Dana White has vowed that this fight will happen before the two men retire. But the fact remains that there are no definite plans for the bout at this point. People have been clamoring for a superfight between the UFC’s two greatest champions for years, but the potential fight has faced roadblock after roadblock. Mainly, the fighters have wavered as to whether they actually want to fight each other. The funny thing is how the calls for the bout have changed over the years. First, everyone wanted the fight as a way to challenge Silva. For instance, I remember the crowd vociferously chanting for GSP when an uninterested Silva danced around Damien Maia in Dubai. Now, as Silva has regained his dominance, people are clamoring for the bout more as a way to challenge GSP, as he has faced little resistance in his recent domination of the welterweight division. Unlike the other items on this list, there is still a chance here, but I am not getting my hopes up.

Phillipe Nover Being the Next Anderson Silva

Dana White is the ultimate hype man, especially when it comes to his product. He’s especially so with The Ultimate Fighter, as he normally hypes up all of the fighters as future superstars, notwithstanding their general lack of experience. Unfortunately, as has been the case since the early seasons of the show, the fighters have rarely lived up to this hype. Infamously, in the build up to the eighth season of the show, White claimed that contestant Phillipe Nover reminded him of a young GSP, and that Nover was the next Anderson Silva. Somewhat predictably, it was impossible for Nover (or anyone really) to live up to that kind of hype, as he lost in the TUF finals before being released from the promotion after going 0-3. While Nover is by no means a terrible fighter, he has come nowhere near living up to the hype placed on his shoulders by Dana.

P.S. I totally was prepared to write a “Here’s the Five MMA-Related Things I Wish I Had Done Prior to the Zombies Being at My Door” blog had the world really fallen apart.

Tags: Fedor Emelianenko Mma Randy Couture UFC

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