MMA produced more than its share of interesting stories in 2014 and we covered it all here at Cagewriter. Here are the 20 most-clicked posts of 2014:
1. Ronda Rousey gets put on the spot after quick win (July 6)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most-trafficked Cagewriter post of 2014 revolved around the UFC's queen bee. Moments after defending her bantamweight title at UFC 175 with a 16-second KO of Alexis Davis, Rousey was asked by UFC commentator Joe Rogan if she would be willing to fight again in three weeks' time to fill a main-event void. Ever the company woman, Rousey said she'd do whatever the UFC needed. But the question clearly incensed UFC president Dana White, as he got into a heated conversation with Rogan afterward in the Octagon. Later, White explained that his issue was with the UFC's production team that fed Rogan the question and not Rogan himself. In the end, Rousey got a nice little break from action and will return from her hiatus on Feb. 28, 2015, to defend her title against Cat Zingano.
2. Leslie Smith gets her ear torn half off by punch (Nov. 15)
Chalk this one up to morbid curiosity. Smith was in a slugfest with Jessica Eye at UFC 180 when Eye caught Smith with a right that gruesomely split Smith's left ear open. The wound would eventually lead to a doctor stoppage, as blood continued to stream down Smith's face.
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When a fighter posts a picture like the one Le posted on Instagram (shown at right), he's leaving himself open for criticism – and potentially added drug tests. After seeing the photo of Le, opponent Michael Bisping requested that the UFC do both blood and urine testing for their fight. The resulting positive tests (excess level of Human Growth Hormone) led to: a nine-month suspension; an additional three-month suspension arbitrarily added on by 'UFC Senior Management' after the initial suspension; the UFC rescinding its suspension of Le after it was reported that Le's tests had been botched; Le demanding an apology from the UFC; and, perhaps as a byproduct of the incident, Le joining a class-action lawsuit against the UFC for alleged 'illegal market monopolization.' Le is still under contract with the UFC.
4. MMA fighter taps out instead of beating on opponent (May 21)
Meet Good Guy MMA Fighter Mike Pantangco. The amateur lost in extraordinary fashion in May. Pantangco appeared to be teeing off on Jeremy Rasner during their Prison City Fight League bout when he kneeled down and tapped out, signaling his submission and forcing the referee to step in and hand the win to his opponent. When asked why he did it, Pantangco said, "We don't get paid, and I know that the only thing [that'd happen] is him to go to the hospital or get hurt. I just [felt] terrible so I'm just going to give him the win."
5. Paul Heyman: Brock Lesnar fought at 50 percent in the UFC (Aug. 7)
Thanks to his wrasslin' background, Lesnar is one of the most popular fighters to have ever stepped into the Octagon. So when Lesnar's manager/friend Paul Heyman opined that Lesnar was '50, 75 percent' when he fought Alistair Overeem in 2011, it resonated. Heyman didn't completely rule out Lesnar returning to the Octagon, but he did say that the star is happy with his current WWE deal.
6. Paige VanZant set to become youngest woman in UFC history (Aug. 7)
The 'Next Ronda Rousey' label gets slapped on pretty well all young, attractive and talented female MMA fighters and VanZant, 20, is the latest to take up that mantle.
After being told she was too young to appear on "The Ultimate Fighter" due to the presence of alcohol in the house, she became the youngest woman to ever fight in the UFC on Nov. 22. Her Octagon debut against Kailin Curran was a seesaw affair that ended with VanZant earning a TKO win at 2:54 of the third round. It was recognized as the Fight of the Night and showed VanZant is much more than a pretty face.
7. Mark Hunt drops 20 pounds, delivers massive KO (Sept. 20)
Hunt has an admitted habit of ballooning up in weight in between fights and he apparently came dangerously close to missing the heavyweight limit of 265 before his fight against Roy Nelson on Sept. 20. Hunt reportedly weighed 284 the day before the weigh-in, but he worked off the weight and came in at 264 officially.
8. Bobby Lashley: Separating fact from fiction (Oct. 24)
Fans love their crossover stars. Our Q&A showed another side of the WWE star/MMA veteran.
9. MMA legend Anderson Silva delivers delusional quote (Jan. 13)
After two equally shocking losses at the hands of UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman – the latter of which produced a devastating broken leg injury that put Silva's career in jeopardy – the Brazilian was seemingly struggling to cope. In a curious interview with Globo, Silva said he didn't think Weidman should consider their Dec. 28, 2013 bout a win because "it was an accident and I'm pretty sure I would have won the fight." He went on to brag about the power of the kick that broke his own leg, which, to borrow a line from former Cagewriter Elias Cepeda, is tantamount to bragging about bruising a guy's fist after he knocked you out cold.
10. Ronda Rousey-Gina Carano – the fight that never happened (July 18)
Fans also love their superfights and a Rousey-Carano matchup is a bout most would embrace in short order. White was confident he could get Carano to sign a contract that'd make it happen, but several months later, the superfight's likelihood is bleak.
Rousey is scheduled to fight Cat Zingano on Feb. 28 and Carano opted to book another movie deal that should keep her busy for the foreseeable future. White hasn't closed the door completely, but this quote from September doesn't inspire confidence: “(Carano) is the hardest human being we've ever dealt with. The problem is she allows herself to be handled by these Hollywood (expletive) idiots. In dealing with her people, I don't know if it can be done.”
The Next 10
11. UFC champ Ronda Rousey broke Expendables 3 director's ribs (Aug. 25)
12. Video: Mike Tyson forces Dana White out of plane seat (June 17)
13. CM Punk signs multi-fight deal with UFC (Dec. 6)
14. UFC Fight Night 46 makes its mark as one of greatest events in UFC history (June 30)
15. Wild day: Thiago Silva cut, Anthony Johnson suspended, Wanderlei Silva retires (Sept. 19)
16. Man or monster? Jon Koppenhaver's slide to War Machine (Aug. 18)
17. Former boxing champ Holly Holm inks deal with UFC (July 11)
18. UFC 176 called off; Jose Aldo-Chad Mendes rescheduled (July 8)
19. Josh Samman obliterates Eddie Gordon with one of year's best KOs (Dec. 6)
20. UFC champ Jon Jones mocks fans, embarrasses self (May 1)
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