Usually in this series, we take a look at past fights or events in MMA that left you scratching your head. In this edition, we are instead going to be taking a look back at one of the O.G. fighters: Emmanuel Yarborough.

Most people outside of Morgan State University had never heard of Yarborough before he made his debut at UFC 3. For those of you that don’t know, the UFC was kind of looked upon as a freak show. At 6′ 8″ and well over 600 lbs, Yarborough fit that bill perfectly.

In his no-holds-barred debut, he faced off against Keith Hackney. Yes, the same Keith Hackney that would go in to pummel Joe Son’s balls at UFC 4. In retrospect, I think we all wish Hackney would have punched Son in the balls harder. Much, much, much harder. Like, making Son’s balls explode hard. But I digress.

The bout between Yarborough and Hackney started with both fighters almost falling out of the cage, as the lock to the entrance became undone when over 800 lbs of human beings crashed into it. After the cage was locked back up, Hackney dropped Yarborough with an overhand palm strike. Hackney would go on to clobber his grounded foe with a metric shitload of right hands before Yarborough finally tapped out.

In his post-fight interview, Yarborough admitted he had never been hit flush in the face before. Call me crazy, but if you were entering a “no-holds-barred” fight, you may want to know your ability to take a punch before entering the contest. Regardless, Yarborough did get a grand for getting his ass kicked for our amusement.

Following that bout, Yarborough went on to win the 1995 Amateur Sumo Championship and make an appearance in the Bollywood film Mr. and Mrs. Khiadi before making his return to MMA.

In his first fight back, he defeated Tatsuaki Nakano via “smother” in Shooto. As far as I know, this is the only time a fighter made another fighter submit by crushing their opponent’s face with their massive…upper body.

His last fight was against Daiju Takase at Pride 3. The fight was so bad that it ended up being great. If you search hard enough, you can find the fight on YouTube. Actually, I lied. It’s super easy to find and has millions of views.

After his MMA career, Yarborough went on to appear in commercials and the HBO series OZ. The last time I remember seeing him on TV was for an advertisement for these plastic things you could put under your couch cushions to keep them from sagging. He played one of the two really, really big guys who sat on a couch with the reinforcements to prove that they work.

For those of us who truly appreciate the freak show fights, we will never forget seeing the Guinness World Record holder for the world’s largest athlete in action. If you aren’t a fan of really, really bad fights, you still need to go check out Yarborough’s matches because it is something you will never, ever see again.


About The Author

Jason Lundgren

I have been an MMA reporter/opinion writer for over 10 years. I play WAY too many video games. I'm not on Twitter much, but follow me @JLundgrenSports