The Two Sheds Review: My Least Favourite MMA Fighters

THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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It’s been a while since I’ve written a non-review column, and seeing as how The Two Sheds Review recently celebrated it’s tenth anniversary, I thought I’d start an occasional series of top ten lists, looking back over the past ten years.

The first one takes a look at the world of mixed martial arts, but instead of listing my top ten favourite fighters, I’m going to list my top ten least favourite fighters.

The criteria for making this list was simple – it’s fighters who have literally bored the pants off me. I haven’t used any scientific methods or looked at their won-loss records to compile this list. It’s just fighters whose performances I just didn’t like!

So here goes…..

This guy is here for one reason – UFC 83, and his performance against Nate Quarry. In front of a crowd of his fellow Canadians, Starnes put in one of the most perplexing performances I’ve ever seen. Starnes spent most of the fight not fighting. His performance was such that normally loyal Canadians actually began booing one of their own. Quarry’s own interpretation of events as he did the “Running Man” said it all, and it was no surprise that Starnes was cut from the roster afterwards.

Francis is one of the best boxers Britain has produced over the past decade or so. He’s been in the ring with the likes of Vitali Klitschko, Axel Shultz, Danny Williams and Mike Tyson. In 2007 he fought his one and only MMA fight against Gary Turner at Cage Rage 23. He was expecting to make a smooth transition, but tapped out to Turner’s strikes in the second round.

If you were to meet Tim Sylvia in the street, you’d think he looked like the perfect heavyweight fighter. But even though he’s a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, he’s bored the hell out of me. I’ve only really been impressed with two of his performances, one against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and the other against Marius Pudzianowski.

I used to love this guy back in the old UWFi days. His match against the late Gary Albright was one of the best things I’ve seen in a wrestling ring. But as far as MMA goes, Takada just isn’t that good, and when you consider he’s actually had to “buy” a couple of wins (allegedly) against the likes of Mark Coleman, it just shows you how desperate he was to make himself look good in Pride.

Reid is perhaps Britain’s best known MMA fighter at the moment, but he’s not known for his fighting. A darling of the tabloid press because of his relationship with glamour model Katie Price, Reid actually hasn’t done that much of note in the MMA world in the past few years. He hasn’t fought since 2007, hasn’t won since 2005, and recently pulled out of a fight with Tom “Kong” Watson at BAMMA 3, claiming he injured himself while filming a reality show where he travelled the world learning various fighting techniques. He’s due to face Watson at BAMMA 4 in September. Somehow I don’t think that fight will actually happen.

Bigger isn’t always better. I first saw Silva as part of The Oddities stable in the WWF in the 90’s. He trained with the Gracie family, but that didn’t help him much in Pride and K-1. In fact the best thing he ever did in MMA was when Bas Rutten had to stand on a ladder to interview him!

Eric Esch is apparently one of the nicest people you could ever meet, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve been impressed with his MMA performances. A veteran of Pride and K-1, Butterbean competed on a couple of Cage Rage cards, and although he scored a KO win against James Thompson, he showed that his ground game was lacking, looking like the proverbial beached whale against Tengiz Tedoradze.

The internet sensation, the man known for fighting people in their back gardens. I hadn’t heard of the guy until he fought Tank Abbott at Elite XC’s Street Certified show, and although he looked like a strong puncher, he looked as if his opponents were being handed to him on a plate. But credit where credit is due, he did step up to the plate and took part in The Ultimate Fighter. If he hadn’t he’d have been higher up on this list. However, he was exposed again under the UFC spotlight, shown to be lacking in many aspects of the game, and was cut from the roster after his loss to Matt Mitrione.

Marius is a legend in the strongman field, a five-time World’s Strongest Man and two-time runner-up. Perhaps wanting to become a part of the trendy new sport of MMA, Marius made his debut last December, winning his first two fights before putting in an awful performance against Tim Sylvia at Moosin’s God of Martial Arts show in May. Marius looked like a fish out of water, exhausted after the first couple of minutes, and at one point dropping down to his back, before submitting to Sylvia’s strikes in the second round. A perfect example of someone who looks tough but isn’t.

You know, I’ve never really gotten what this guy is all about. I first saw him in a K-1 fight against Mirko Cro Cop in 2003, and whenever I’ve seen him, be it as a K-1 kickboxer, as an MMA fighter, or as a professional wrestler, he’s just looked really poor. In fact the best thing I’ve ever seen him in was a Japanese pizza commercial. Sapp is the perfect example of over the top hype, and given how popular he is in some circles, he’ll continue to find work as a fighter, even though he isn’t really that good.