Friday, October 7, 2022

Top 10 Most Chaotic UFC PPV Cards Of All Time

As the dust settles from UFC 279, let’s look back at the top 10 most chaotic UFC PPV cards. To make this list, the card (or the aftermath) must have caused a significant disruption to the promotion or a division.

10) UFC 189

Capping off the UFC’s fourth annual International Fight Week and set to feature José Aldo’s eleventh title defense. Aldo had all but cleaned out the division, but was set to face the rising star, Conor McGregor. This was meant to be the capstone of McGregor’s featherweight run having sold out Dublin and Boston.

However, McGregor’s undisputed hopes would be quashed only two weeks out, as Aldo was struck down by a rib injury. On two weeks’ notice, McGregor accepted a short notice bout with #1 ranked contender, Chad Mendez. Mendez was a stylistic nightmare for Conor, but it saved the card.

9) UFC 272

UFC 272 was originally set to be headlined by the Alex Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway trilogy, and the rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan. However, both championship bouts were pulled two months out, when Holloway aggravated a previous shoulder injury, and the promotion did not believe that Sterling vs. Yan II could carry a PPV due to how the first bout had ended.

The UFC replaced the headlining bout with the grudge match between Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington. The pair were both coming off back-to-back losses against Kamaru Usman.

The co-main was also replaced by Rafael Dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev. However, a week out, Fiziev was stuck down by COVID-19. Dana White told media that he went to sleep on the Monday of fight week believing that Islam Makhachev agreed to be the replacement. However, this was refuted by Ali Abdelaziz, Makhachev’s manager the next day. Eventually, Renato Moicano stepped up as the replacement.

8) UFC 244

A week before Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal were to compete for the BMF title, which was made specifically for the pair, Diaz tested positive for a banned substance. The positive test was determined to be from a tainted supplement and the bout went ahead.

After weigh-ins, Kelvin Gastelum vs. Darren Till was almost scrapped. The NYSAC determined that Gastelum’s coach lifted him on the scale to help him make weight, but the bout went ahead. Most of the chaos came during the card, though, when Masvidal won the bout via doctor stoppage after the third round.

7) UFC 196

Originally set for Brazil and a heavyweight championship bout, the UFC almost cancelled this card entirely. Fabricio Werdum was to defend his title against Cain Velasquez, with Anderson Silva and Michael Bisping serving as the co-main. However, both bouts fell apart and was demoted to a Fight Night card.

UFC 196 was set for March 5th. Conor McGregor was to challenge Rafael Dos Anjos in an attempt to become the first ever double champ. However, two weeks out, RDA pulled out due to a foot injury. Jose Aldo refused the short notice bout, as did former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. Nate Diaz stepped in last minute, causing a bump in McGregor’s hype train as he choked out the 145lb king.

This caused chaos for both divisions with McGregor taking time out to avenge his first loss in the UFC.

6) UFC 279

In case you need a refresher, last week’s UFC 279 card was made in 14 hours, as Khamzat Chimaev was unable to make the 170lb limit. Nate Diaz’s last UFC bout was in jeopardy. Fortunately, Tony Ferguson, Li Jingliang, and Kevin Holland all stepped up massively to save the card. The UFC reshuffled the top three bouts on the card, resulting in more competitive matches odds-wise than those originally scheduled.

The buzz arguably caused a massive bump in interest for the card and gave Chimaev’s heel turn more publicity than beating Diaz ever could have.

5) UFC 177

This card lost Jones vs. Gustafsson II as it’s headliner, with the bout pushed to 178. Gustafsson was injured, and Daniel Cormier could not make weight in time. The co-main between TJ Dillashaw and Barão was elevated to the main event.

However, this fell apart when Barão was hospitalized during his weight cut. The card subsequently lost Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso when 178 lost Jones vs. Cormier. Scott Jorgensson vs. Henry Cejudo was scrapped when Cejudo could not make weight. Joe Rogan described this card as “haunted,” and it went ahead with only eight bouts.

4) UFC 249

The fifth time Khabib and Tony Ferguson were set to compete was rent from our grasp by COVID-19. After being pushed from its original date of April 19th, Khabib withdrew from the bout due to travel restrictions. Justin Gaethje would step up to fight Ferguson on four weeks’ notice and would end Ferguson’s twelve fight winning streak with a dominant beat-down.

Islam Makhachev was also pulled from the card, while Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik was added, as were Anthony Pettis vs. Cowboy Cerrone. Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz was also added as the new co-main event.

Honorable Mentions

UFC 151, UFC 176, and UFC 233 all deserve an honorable mention as we move into our top three. These three PPV’s make up three out of four of the UFC’s “lost events”, with UFC Fight Night: Lamas vs. Penn rounding out the set. All were cancelled due to the promotion failing to produce a main event after the original fell apart.

3) UFC 200

What didn’t go wrong on this card? From Ariel Helwani ruining the Brock Lesnar announcement hours before UFC 199, McGregor vs. Diaz II falling through, or Jones testing positive only three days before it happened, all of this culminated in Meisha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes being elevated to the main event.

All of this chaos significantly hurt the company’s 200th PPV event, and that’s before Brock Lesnar’s victory over Mark Hunt was overturned due to Lesnar testing positive for a banned substance. It also resulted in Ariel Helwani being banned from further press events with the UFC.

2) UFC 223

How many times was Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov cancelled? Five. UFC 223 marks the fourth time the superfight was cancelled, and the second time it was due to a Ferguson injury. A cable took Ferguson down, tearing ligaments in his knee.

As if Tony going down wasn’t enough, McGregor was throwing trolleys up. The infamous bus incident caused Ray Borg, Brandon Moreno, Artem Lobov, Alex Caceres, Michael Chiesa and Anthony Pettis to all be pulled from the card.

Meanwhile, the UFC scrambled to find a replacement for Ferguson. Holloway was first and denied by NYSAC. Pettis was next, but over 155lb limit. Felder was unranked, and so it fell to Al Iaquinta to battle Nurmagomedov.

However, only Khabib was eligible because Iaquinta was also 0.2lbs over the limit. Khabib would be crowned, while McGregor was put in handcuffs.

1) UFC 229

Even after the dust had settled, no one could have forseen that UFC 223 would eventually cause a literal riot just six months later. Returning to Vegas, the lead-up to Numagomedov vs. McGregor would be dampened only by Sean O’Malley receiving a suspension for use of a banned substance.

The rest of the week was electric. The Irish invaded Las Vegas, and Proper 12 was flowing… perhaps a little too much. After choking out McGregor, Numagomedov would soar over the cage to attack McGregor’s team, in turn, causing a riot in the arena.

Do you agree with this list? Are there any other PPV cards that should have been on the list that didn’t make it? Let us know below!

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