So, we continue down the road to number one. Make no mistake; this is no honor. This isn’t like being the #1 pick in the NFL Draft, currently going on in sweet-home Chicago (NO ONE from Chicago calls it Chi-Town. No one from San Francisco calls it “Frisco” and no one from New York calls it “The Big Apple” right?)

This is by no means an honor. It’s right up there with “dirty cop” or “incompetent/malpractice doctor”. It’s being branded “corrupt” in the sport you claim to participate in. It is by definition the height of dishonor.

Let’s begin. Unlike the majority of our earlier candidates, this “nefarious 4” have multiple violations on their fight records and these were easy selections.

8. Shinya Aoki

A PRIDE FC, Strikeforce and Bellator FC veteran, Aoki won both the SHOOTO Welterweight Championship and DREAM Lightweight Championship titles over his prestigious career. However in addition to his accomplishments, Aoki has developed a reputation as a bit of a jackass when it comes to fair play. In January of 2005 at a SHOOTO event he needlessly snapped the arm of Keith Wisniewski He had the arm secured and could’ve likely tapped Wisniewski without breaking the arm but he quickly seized the opportunity to break the limb.

In 2007, he aggressively worked to break the arm of Kuniyoshi Hironaka in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu match. Again, it appeared as though Aoki would have secured the victory without breaking the limb. A third infraction occurred at a match at the 2009 NYE event called Dynamite!! in a match with Mizuto Hirota. Not only did Aoki break the arm of Hirota, he flipped him off and even flipped off the crowd in Japan. Many consider it one of the worst displays of sportsmanship ever and it cost Aoki his instructor position at Paraestra Kasai Gym. Aoki apologized but most felt it was simply an empty attempt to save face.

7. Nate Marquardt

At UFC 85 in 2008, Marquardt landed some illegal knees to a grounded Thales Leites. Marquardt lost points for the infractions but he still wound up taking a split decision victory. In 2010 Marquardt was the headliner with fellow multi-time offender Rusimar Palhares. This time it was Marquardt who had the upper hand, KOing Palhares with a sucker punch. Some will even say Marquardt threw a cheap shot at Ricardo Almeida in their Pancrase match in 2003. I watched the fight and though I believe Almeida’s choke was in a few seconds longer than necessary, that’s the ref’s job. The only true violation there was Almeida’s coach Renzo Gracie kicking Marquardt in the face at the end.

6. Cheick Kongo

Over his 7 years in the UFC, Kongo amassed an 11-6-1 record. He also earned the nickname “’Cup’ Cheick Kongo” by delivering a lot of shots to the pills. One of his worst offenses were against Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic at UFC 75 in 2007. He hit Mirko with 4 knees to the groin. The following year – in a bout with Mustapha Al-Turk at UFC 92 – Kongo got a taste of his own medicine, taking a hard shot between the legs early in the bout. Not to be outdone, Kongo returned the favor minutes later and finished al-Turk with a series of punches and elbows.

In 2010 at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones, Kongo took on Paul Buentello. From punches to the back of the head, to knees to the head on the ground, to the outlawed 12 to 6 elbow, Kongo provided “The Headhunter” with the full treatment. And who can forget UFC 120? In Kongo’s bout with Travis Browne he not only kneed “Hapa” in the junk, he achieved the rare feat of getting two points taken away on the same round (1 for holding the shorts).

5. Jon Jones

You knew he was on this list somewhere right? Well, the newly-belted interim champ has some serious probing fingers. It wasn’t an issue earlier this month in the bout with St. Preux but it has been many times in the past – usually in title fights – and can even be tracked all the way back to his UFC debut in 2008. In his UFC 87 bout with Andre Gusmao, Jones blasted the Brazilian in the groin. But hey, it happens. The incident didn’t have to mean anything by itself. Then at The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights Finale in 2009, he landed 12 to 6 elbows to Matt Hamill’s head resulting in Jones’ only disqualification of his career. The oblique kicks (not illegal but certainly walking the line of good taste in a sport) and eye pokes really started to become part of his arsenal once he faced PRIDE FC legend Maricio “Shogun” Rua.

The pair met at UFC 128 in 2011. “Shogun” was both poked in the eyes and jabbed directly on the knee. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 135 that same year was next, followed by Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 in 2012, Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 in 2013, Glover Teixeria at UFC 172 in 2014 and of course Daniel Cormier at UFC 182 just last year. We’ll see if the trend continues at UFC 200 when the titles are unified. When you have that many easy-to-spot violations, I’m sure I missed a few more on this list.

We’ll pick up with number 4 in the final chapter of MMA’s Dirtiest Dozen circa 2016

About The Author

James Hirth
Staff Writer

James Hirth has been covering combat sports in a variety of media formats (magazine, internet and radio) since the late 1990’s. He was first exposed to Mixed Martial Arts (then called No Holds Barred) when a training partner brought in a grainy VHS tape of an event called the Japan Open Vale Tudo ’94. James recalls “I’m the first person I‘m aware of who was familiar with Rickson Gracie’s fights before Royce. I saw a tape of UFC 1 a few weeks later and I was hooked”. Having done everything from in-house play-by-play and judging at live fights, ringside camera work and even cornering a fighter - in addition to previews and interviews - James has witnessed the growth of the sport. James has studied a variety of martial arts for more than 30 years. Growing up in Chicago and the youngest of 8 children, James’ oldest brother would take him Downtown to the theaters of The Loop on Saturday mornings in the late 1970’s to see martial arts films. Like many youth of that day, seeing Bruce Lee on the big screen changed his life. His brother would also introduce him to the arts of Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido where he spent 10 years training and teaching at the same academy. After receiving his Bachelors of Science in Business Operations he spent 5 years in the field of Marketing Research in The Loop. The 9-11 tragedy resulted in significant layoffs in the industry and he would return to teaching martial arts, this time for a non-for-profit organization. He spent more than a decade teaching and developing a variety of martial arts programming in multiple branches of the organization. He not only taught all ages and in more than a dozen Chicago Public Schools, but had the opportunity to train Cook County Juvenile Probation Officers and the children of local FBI agents. Now James is thrilled to bring his years of experience to The MMA Corner and Press Box Insider.