- FANS CREATE FIGHTERS THEY LOVE TO HATE

July 25, 2005
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by Damon Martin
Everyone seems to have their favorite fighters for whatever reason, but you can definitely tell when fans have issues with somebody fighting in MMA today. It could be the way they handle themselves inside the ring (or octagon) or the way that they are perceived in interviews pre or post fight. One thing is for sure, the following guys definitely get under the skin of some very passionate fans out there.

5. Matt Lindland: For a guy that doesn’t do much else besides win, he does have his fair share of detractors out there. Lindland’s style has come under fire numerous times by fans and potential opponents as “boring” or that he simply holds his opponents down and doesn’t go for the win. Despite the fact that he does hold TKO victories over mainstays like Pat Miletich and Falaniko Vitale, it’s his decision wins over guys like Phil Baroni and Ivan Salaverry that usually come under fire. He’s also recently been involved in a war of words with his upcoming opponent, Joe Riggs, and no matter what anybody says about Lindland, when you irk his ire, he can unleash with the best of them. Lindland just seems to rub a lot of people the wrong way, so he lands at number five.

Detmer2 from the Forum stated: “Lindland, because of his recent trash talking. I don’t mind it in general, but when you demean someone because of a perceived lack of intelligence, you’ve stepped way over the line. Also, referring to the rest of his division as “non-competition” was a classless move”

4. Ricardo Arona: He has a very similar background with fans that don’t care too much for Lindland, as he is notorious for holding opponents on the ground and never really pushing the pace. Arona himself has admitted that he was somewhat tentative in some of his early fights, but any guy that can go a full fight with Fedor Emelianenko and only lose by decision, has my respect! Arona’s distaste with American fans seemed to reach a pinnacle in his fight with Kazushi Sakuraba in the last round of the Pride Grand Prix. With Sakuraba bleeding above his eye, it appeared as if Arona was gouging and pulling at the open wound with his finger to worsen the gash. Fans were fast to point this out and even though he was never a big fan favorite, he seems to have landed a permanent place on this list!

Somniumrabidum said this about Arona: “I would buy an entire collection of dvd’s of this guy getting KTFO!. Represents the kind of fighter that gives the sport a bad name in the public eye.”

3. Gilbert Yvel: Dirty tactics seem to be a recurring theme with fans that will definitely turn them on a fighter. What Yvel did to a referee sometime ago seems to make him a target for just about every fan on the forum. Yvel always had a ton of potential but never really lived up to it and his decision to attack a referee is just about the only thought that anyone has of this guy these days.

2. Phil Baroni: His brash attitude and trash talk gained him just as many fans as it did people that can’t stand him. In a sport where getting noticed beyond your fight ability is sometimes half of the battle, Baroni came out swinging from his very first UFC appearance. Never one to back down from a challenge or a microphone, Baroni tore through opponents and was never short on words and expressions. When he fell on tough times losing to top ranked opponents like Matt Lindland and Evan Tanner, he was discarded by fans left and right as washed up and seen not as a “has been” but more a “never was.” Baroni has re-fueled his career with his upstart wins in Pride as of late and his name is back in the spotlight for fans to jump on every chance they get.

Omemnoir has this to say reguarding Baroni: “After his “ching-ching fried rice” comment in Pride, he solidified himself up there. Makes New Yorkers look stupid.”

1.Tito Ortiz: And this one wasn’t even close! Never has a fighter garnered more attention from fans that the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” does on a daily basis. Ortiz hasn’t fought since his decision win over Vitor Belfort, but his name appears in almost a new thread started daily in our forum. His trash talk is legendary, starting from the very moment that he beat a Lion’s Den team member and told Ken Shamrock that he was “number 1″ (if you get the joke!). The build up and hype around his eventual fight with Shamrock was just as fun to watch. Tito’s mouth was never short for words about any opponent that he’s had and even in defeat, after losing to Chuck Liddell at UFC 47, he was quick to start in on another fighter right away. (Lee Murray that time). Tito Ortiz is the definition of what fans love to hate, and whether you like him or not, the thing that has to frustrate fans that don’t like him even more is the guy is a proven winner. Considering that Tito Ortiz has left the UFC and hasn’t even come close to signing a fight since that time, his name still litters posts and subjects all the time. But the attention, good or bad, can only be seen as good for Ortiz because fans still obviously care about him, and as the saying goes… “The only bad press is no press.” If they’re still talking about him, he’s still a part of the game…and that just chaps a lot of folks the wrong way!

Lord Abortion had a few words about Tito: “People call Matt Lindland boring, while Tito is Matt Lindland with half the wrestling skill and a big mouth. He says some funny stuff though, so I love to hate him!”

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