They say “hate” is a strong word. Well, I can certainly think of a lot heavier words.
Some of which many of us UFC fans have used over the years when talking about this bunch of absolute bad ‘uns.
This is my selection of the most hated UFC fighters ever and why each of these fighters has their very own special place in MMA fans’ bad-mouthing rituals.
Some love ’em, but most just love to hate on ’em.
Let’s get to the list!
Table of Contents
10. Jon Fitch
I feel sorry for Jon Fitch, and not just because his name rhymes with “Dong Itch.”
Fitch did everything right in the long spells of his UFC career, most notably by winning eight fights in a row after signing with the promotion in 2005.
He then faced one of the greatest of all time in Georges St-Pierre, losing a decision for the Welterweight title before winning another five straight.
But how Jon Fitch conducted his fights in the UFC garnered him the nickname “The Grandfather of Lay-and-Pray.”
Yep, Fitch was one of the original dry-humpers—he’d happily get his opponent to the ground and hang onto them and force many fights to a decision win simply from control time.
The lack of excitement in Fitch’s fights didn’t do him many favors with fans or UFC President Dana White.
White said of Fitch:
“You hear the same thing from everybody about Jon Fitch; ‘if I want to fall asleep and I can’t sleep at night, I’ll put on a Jon Fitch fight.’”Dana White
White – and clearly many UFC fans – prefer a fighter who is entertaining but loses than someone who wins decision-after-boring-decision.
Some consider him even one of the worst fighters to grace the UFC because of his boring fighting style.
This is quite evident because Fitch was let go by the UFC with an exemplary record in the company of 14 wins, 3 losses, and 1 draw, with 13 of his 18 fights going the distance.
In comparison, a crowd favorite like Leonard Garcia long outstayed his welcome with the promotion before he was given his marching orders.
He had 6 wins, 10 losses, and a draw under the Zuffa banner. The difference to Fitch being that he received 7 Performance Of The Night honors—he entertained!
Jon Fitch is the perfect example of how simply winning won’t make you popular or any fun to watch.
9. Michael Bisping
Broadly speaking, English MMA fans love Michael Bisping. American fans? Not so much.
Bisping coached Team United Kingdom against fan-favorite Dan Henderson’s Team United States on Season 9 of The Ultimate Fighter.
And that’s probably a big reason of Americans not loving him early on.
The other factor, of course, is, well, Michael Bisping just being who he is.
The biggest legend of British MMA, the only Englishman to hold a championship in the UFC, Michael Bisping has always divided fans and probably one of the most disliked UFC fighters in recent history.
Since he first came to the broader MMA community’s attention after appearing on the third season of The Ultimate Fighter, “The Count” has been ruffling feathers with his outspoken, Northern ways ever since.
He talks trash, he’s arrogant, gets in his opponents’ faces and heads before, during, and after fights and has been known to spit at his opponent’s cornermen.
Bisping becomes incredibly English when he’s on the mic.
I don’t mean he dons a bowler hat and a monocle and starts drinking tea from a China cup. I mean that he sounds like every bloke down your local English pub at the weekend, with absolutely zero filter.
The man uses some absolute British staples of insults, and it’s certainly this Northern-English arrogance that the UK MMA fans love about Mike (I just call him Mike) that the rest of the world hate.
8. Ken Shamrock
One of the Mixed Martial Arts pioneers in America, Kenneth “the Menneth” Shamrock, is an incredibly intense individual.
I haven’t researched what I am about to relay, but I would say that he is definitely no one’s favorite fighter. That’s my strong unfactual stat that’s probably true.
Perhaps it comes from his career with the WWE in the late ’90s.
Plus, the theatrics of professional wrestling was definitely where he got his massively over-the-top promo skills for the following two decades.
Still, he’s really committed to the Hollywood Hulk Hogan persona of not being a very nice chap.
Shamrock’s nemesis, Tito Ortiz, once claimed that he was appalled to witness Shamrock completely ignore a young fan that tried to get his autograph.
And when you hear an anecdote that makes Tito Ortiz sound like the good guy, you know it’s bad.
7. Tito Ortiz
Talking of “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy,” Ortiz is a bit of a heel, isn’t he? Let’s be honest.
Maybe it’s because he was the perfect antithesis to Chuck Liddell. The cringe-big head to Liddell’s stoic maverick. The baddie to Liddell’s goodie. The tepid wee-wee to Liddell’s ice-coolness.
His trash-talk was cringe-worthy, and his arrogance through the roof. Probably one of the most arrogant UFC fighters I’ve ever seen.
It’s no surprise that Ortiz – like his foe Shamrock – has been involved in pro-wrestling. He’s made for it, drama dialled up to eleven.
It’s tough for Ortiz not to be the bad guy in every scene he’s in, in every rivalry. He naturally falls into the role of the “heel” as they say in the world of pro-wrestling.
Maybe he was slightly less of a heel than Shamrock during their three-fight saga.
Still, in his trilogies with Liddell or Forrest Griffin – two of the most beloved fighters in UFC history – there was definitely no grey area when it came to who fits the role of the bad guy and who the crowd was booing.
6. Brock Lesnar
He’s a big name, a big draw, has a big attitude, and with a big suspicious-looking tattoo on his big body.
Brock Lesnar caused uproar amongst the MMA community before he’d ever stepped inside the UFC’s famous octagon, and it was because people wanted him to fail.
A former amateur wrestler-turned-sports entertainer-turned-NFL helmet boy, Lesnar walked into his first UFC fight in 2008 with a target on his girthy back and all eyes on him.
Ultimately, yes, he lost, but as Dana White said at the time, has anyone ever looked so dominant in a loss?
Lesnar wasn’t humbled by his submission defeat to Frank Mir and then defeated Heath Herring, even riding him like a mule at the end of the fight in a show of arrogance that did him no favors amongst the hardcore MMA community.
What to do next to make oneself even more unpopular? How about defeat one of the most beloved names in the history of the sport, who also happens to be 45 years old at the time.
Yep, Lesnar knocked out good ol’ Randy Couture, winning the UFC Heavyweight Championship in the process.
The rematch with Mir came next, which included Lesnar not just winning but rubbing Mir’s nose in the TKO loss in a rather unsportsmanlike manner afterward.
Then going on to criticize the UFC’s top sponsor, Bud Light, and onto promoting one of their rivals. Not a bad day’s work for this meathead.
Lesnar doesn’t feature higher on this list because for a few redeeming reasons:
- His come-from-behind win against Shane Carwin followed by his loss to Cain Velasquez
- His life-threatening battle with diverticulitis
- Subsequent knockout loss to Alistair Overeem
These probably helped to endear him to a large percentage of MMA fans who previously had distaste for him.
But then he decided to sign off his UFC career for good measure by coming out of retirement after nearly 5 years, beating up a fan favorite in Mark Hunt.
Later then testing positive for banned substances. Classic Brock “Suspicious Tattoo” Lesnar behavior.
5. Rousimar Palhares
If you look at the facts, Rousimar Palhares should also be higher on this list.
I think that the only reason he isn’t is that perhaps newer fans maybe don’t know what he’s like and what he’s repeatedly done in his career.
To cut a long story short, Palhares has refused to let go of a submission on multiple occasions, causing his opponents to suffer career-threatening injuries.
Something that is frowned upon in Jiu-Jitsu circles.
10 out of Palhares 19 career wins have come via his trademark Heel Hook submission, which made him a dangerous foe.
At UFC 111, Palhares was suspended by the UFC for 90 days for not letting go of the Heel Hook on Tomasz Drwal after the referee had stopped the fight.
Then, 3 years later, at a UFC Fight Night, the promotion gave him his marching orders for good after doing the exact same thing to Mike Pierce, who suffered a sprained MCL and torn ankle ligament which kept him out of the octagon for two years.
Add in the fact that the fight against Pierce was Palhares’ first in 9 months after serving a suspension for elevated testosterone levels.
You can understand why this guy was pretty universally hated.
4. Colby Covington
Let’s go down the hatred checklist for popular figures…
Red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat – CHECK.
Massive crush on Donald Trump – CHECK.
Constantly badmouthing not just his opponents, but often the country they are from – CHECK.
Yep, Colby Covington is a real treat. He has openly said that he wants people to hate him. And he has to be one of the most annoying UFC fighters for it.
It was his “business model,” so by hating him and all the arrogant dross he speaks, you’re actually doing exactly what he wants.
So I guess if you hate him you should probably make out that you actually like him, and that would really annoy him.
Yes, let’s all do that instead.
As if channeling Donald Trump in his words and views wasn’t reason enough to dislike the man, I can leave you with a quote that perfectly sums up just what a guy Colby Covington is.
Speaking on his upcoming opponent and former teammate Jorge Masvidal, Covington said, quite simply:
“Jorge Masvidal is a piece of s**t father. He’s a piece of s**t fighter.”Colby Covington
What a nice guy.
3. Chael Sonnen
When it comes to Chael Sonnen, you either love him or hate him.
You could have gone from hating him to loving him – as I have – or the other way.
I didn’t like how Sonnen declared himself undefeated after losing to Anderson Silva.
Firstly, because Silva beat him (duh!) and secondly because he had 10 losses on his MMA record at that time, with 9 of those coming by stoppage (double-duh!).
I now understand that Sonnen has always gone the Conor McGregor route of saying absurd things and being an obnoxious idiot to promote fights.
And you know what, it has worked for him. He talked himself into two title fights with Silva and even one with Jon Jones for crying out loud!
His words about Brazil were just downright racist during his trash-talk about Silva.
Brazil will never forget that, so even though he may have won some fans around more recently, there is still a sizeable and very vocal percentage of hardcore fans that still absolutely hate his guts.
2. Jon Jones
I feel that, on paper, Jones is probably the most justified entry to the list.
He failed a drugs test for cocaine and two more for performance-enhancing drugs. He was investigated for being drunk and discharging a weapon in his car.
There have been DUI charges and alleged battery charges. There was a domestic violence arrest.
Allegedly, he even hit a pregnant woman with his car and fled the scene. He was driving the car – he didn’t throw it at her, although that would have been impressive.
I get it. People make mistakes. That’s what they say, right?
But “people make mistakes and grow from them” is a better, more rounded phrase with a clear endpoint. One that big Jon doesn’t quite seem to fit at any point in his life or career.
Jones has apparently quit alcohol, which may solve a lot of the issues, but it does seem that the damage has been done in a lot of fans’ eyes and his legacy.
The man has never been beaten. He is undefeated bar the DQ loss to Matt Hamill, which – let’s be honest – no one counts.
Jon’s recent return to the octagon at Heavyweight has seen a significant resurgence in his popularity.
But has Jones’ antics outside of the octagon lost him the respect and admiration he once had? Probably.
1. Josh Koscheck
There can only be one for one of the most hated MMA fighters ever.
Josh Koscheck’s personality was introduced to the world before his fighting skills, as his antics on the inaugural series of The Ultimate Fighter were more infamous than his abilities in the octagon.
Even when he was an established Welterweight contender, it wasn’t just his pre-fight trash-talking that got Koscheck the MMA headlines.
For instance, he famously faked being hit with an illegal knee in two separate fights.
Let’s also not forget the most perfect example of Koscheck being utterly contemptible in his UFC 113 Welterweight clash with British striker Paul Daley.
This bout has gone down in MMA infamy for the fact that Daley tried to sucker-punch Koscheck after the bell.
I don’t think there’s a better person to explain what happened than Koscheck himself:
“I kicked his a** for three rounds, and he couldn’t even touch me in the fight, so he has to try to sucker punch me after the fight.”Josh Koscheck
Koscheck said, following his decision victory over Daley, which saw him utilize his superior grappling and spend the majority of the fight on top of the Brit:
“I remember at one point we were talking (during the fight), and he was telling me, ‘Let me up and fight me like a man.’ I said, ‘Let you up, you p***y? Get up!’ I kept telling him to get up, that little b***h.”Josh Koscheck
What followed was the cheap shot that finished Daley’s career with the world’s premier promotion.
His actions have quite rightly been universally criticized by the entire Mixed Martial Arts community.
But be completely honest with me, do you blame Daley for lashing out in the heat of the moment, with Koscheck’s smug grin and cocky words in your face?
Exactly. Me neither. Hate that guy. He fits the bill as one of the most cockiest UFC fighters that we luckily don’t have to listen to anymore.