The 5 Saddest MMA Stories of 2014
There are many shades of blue in the sadness rainbow. Sometimes, it's characterized by a minor disappointment. Other times, it's full-blown grief.
So far in 2014, MMA has seen sad stories of every stripe, from disappointments in the cage to genuine human tragedies outside it. MMA is just kind of like that. There's a high and constant potential for sadness in all its major and minor manifestations.
Here are the five saddest stories of the year thus far. They're ranked in order from least to most impactful.
5. Ross Pearson Gets the Shaft
It was a defining win for Ross Pearson. Diego Sanchez may not have been the stiffest competition of the 29-year-old's career, but he was definitely the most famous.
The Brit rose to the occasion, outboxing the berserker for three rounds and staying disciplined before cruising to what seemed a fairly cut-and-dried decision win.
However, in his opponent's home base of Albuquerque, New Mexico, judges Jeff Collins and Chris Tellez gave the bout the other way.
Team Pearson immediately took issue, with the entire MMA segment of the internet (rather less gracefully) following suit. Pearson called for a rematch and filed an appeal with New Mexico's athletic commission, but it wasn't immediately reviewed, blah blah blah.
UFC president Dana White said they would treat the bout as if Pearson won, according to Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com. That's how bad the decision was. Even so, it goes down as a loss for Pearson, and Sanchez gets another chunk of raw validation for his concuss-everyone-and-let-Jesus-sort-'em-out approach to fighting.
Sad on all counts.
4. The Maine-Iac Rejected, Again
Tim Sylvia kind of brings it on himself. He's like a high school kid who never gets the message that the cool lunch table doesn't want him—at least not without accessories like kick-me signs and so forth, which the kid endures because, well, maybe it really means they like him.
He's always been this kind of guy, all the way back to the stories about taking taunts during sessions at Miletich Fighting Systems. He never won fans over despite being UFC heavyweight champ.
After he was banished to the MMA hinterlands, his pleas to be reinstated to the Octagon fell on deaf (or, well, defiant) ears.
However, when the UFC was coming this summer to Sylvia's home state (and Dana White's vacation home state) of Maine, he was briefly linked to the card. It was a feel-good story in the making, and it seemed to redeem Sylvia's relentless push on Twitter to get White's attention.
Then the news came that he wasn't fighting in Maine, and that Dana White had blocked him.
Did he help his chances by losing to Ray Mercer or going winless in his four contests immediately prior? Nope, he did not. However, it's still sad to see a guy so hungry for approval once again on the outside, standing on top of an overturned milk crate and trying to make eye contact with someone who will come around and open the door for him.
3. Wanderlei Silva's Descent into Madness
Remember when Wanderlei Silva was the most dangerous fighter in the sport?
Those memories are getting murkier by the minute, with Silva repeatedly backing out of fights (most recently with supposed blood rival Chael Sonnen, who's another story entirely) and offering increasingly strange excuses for the behavior.
Yet, through it all, Silva is not retiring. Anyone can see he's well past his expiration date as a fighter.
Anyone, that is, except Silva.
Assuming he does continue in his career, it seems unlikely he'll give up his brawling style, either.
You have to wonder if something bad is going to happen, if it hasn't happened already.
2. A Hit out on Bobby Green
Bobby Green's roller-coaster life of crime and pain came to a head May 31, when his brother was killed in a drive-by shooting.
Word subsequently came out that there might be a price on Green's head as well.
The silver lining in all this is that a still-grieving Green took a big upset win over Josh Thomson in July.
He could be headed for big things in the UFC. He'll just be doing them without his brother at his side.
1. South African Fighter Loses His Life
Booto Guylain, 29, died in March because of head injuries suffered during a TKO loss on a card in the EFC Africa promotion based in South Africa.
Guylain absorbed tremendous punishment in the fight, and he was taken to a hospital, ultimately and sadly to no avail.
EFC Africa, unfortunately, has a history of negligence. A month after Guylain's death, fighters wore black armbands at a card in his memory. Then, an EFC Africa ref stood idly by as a fighter hit the back his opponent's head 12 times.
Guylain's death was tragic, but so too is the promotion's inability or unwillingness (or both) to improve safety for fighters. What will it take? No, really. I'm asking.