When UFC President Dana White asks, 'When do we not deliver?' he's got a point. The UFC's name is synonymous for the highest quality in mixed martial arts action. But even the best promoter can't deliver a hit all the time.
UFC 138, on paper, is dreadful and one of the least appealing UFC cards in quite some time. In fact, as we approach the event this Saturday, the card has spawned a discussion among fight fans about which UFC events were the biggest duds in history. Numbered UFC's only need apply - The Ultimate Fighter Finales, by design, include untested and inexperienced prospects. It's unfair to judge them by the standards of a numbered UFC. Here are five in the running, events with poor match-ups up and down the card.
UFC 11 (September 20, 1996): Four fighters made their first and only UFC appearance as part of an eight man tournament at the Augusta Civic Center. The brackets were clearly designed to move four UFC veterans on to the semifinals and worked like a charm. Only the Lion's Den's Jerry Bohlander failed to advance, retiring to the back after a hard fought opening win.
Mark Coleman won the tournament, competing for just 3:04 total while outclassing the field. He was so dominant that no one would even come out to face him in the final bout. The show ended with an embarrassing wrestling demonstration between Coleman and training partner Kevin Randleman. The rest of the fighters watched from the back as Coleman cemented his status as the most feared man in the sport.
UFC 24 (March 10, 2000): Eleven fighters made their UFC debuts at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Of them, only Shonie Carter, Ian Freeman, and Dave Menne went on to anything approaching success in the Octagon. This was a card without a main event - heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman was scheduled to defend against Pedro Rizzo, but "the monster" slipped backstage on some loose pipes, knocking himself unconscious in the middle of the pay per view.
UFC 27 (September 22, 2000): In the days before Zuffa took over the UFC, the shows faced significant money issues. Many of the best fighters in the world were in Japan's PRIDE and the once great UFC events were struggling to find compelling matchups. Desperate for an impact, the promotion brought back 42 year old Dan Severn to face Pedro Rizzo in the main event.
Severn was clearly outclassed, to the point matchmaker John Peretti made it a point to come on camera and tell the world he didn't support the matchmaking. Rizzo squashed Severn in one of the most one sided main events in UFC history.
UFC 78 (November 17, 2007): The original main event of Tito Ortiz against Rashad Evans might have redeemed this event. Instead, Ortiz left to film a season of Celebrity Apprentice and the UFC had to scramble for a fill in. TUF star Michael Bisping was tagged for the spot, then was tagged over and over again by a Rashad right hand. Evans won a split decision on top of a tepid undercard in one of the worst events of the modern era.
UFC 109 (February 6, 2010): Pundits called it "Age in the Cage." The main event athletes were a combined 91 years old when Mark Coleman and Randy Couture stepped into the Octagon. And boy did they look it. Coleman, on the receiving end of some horrible advice, decided to try and stand with the more skilled Couture. He paid the price in a fight that left viewers shaking their heads.