For any sane, rational person, getting into a street fight with a professional MMA fighter would be considered a fate worse than death.
From vicious strikes to brutal slams and bone-breaking submissions, mixed martial artists spend their days learning new ways to inflict pain and punishment on anybody that’s foolish enough to stand in their way.
There’s always someone out there that’s looking for trouble though, and so while the majority of MMA stars are only interested in putting their techniques into practice in the cage, there are often stories about occasions when they had to put their skills to use in the street.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most infamous street fight stories told by some of the UFC’s biggest stars, from outnumbered battles against barroom bouncers to life-threatening altercations with weapon-wielding thugs, and not forget the time several legends of the sport became embroiled in a brutal back-alley brawl.
Back in the mid-1990’s Bas Rutten was already a famous MMA fighter, and so when he showed up at the famous Spy Bar in Sweden the bouncers warned him to keep out of trouble.
Soon afterward, two of them pulled Rutten to one side and asked him to leave. Rutten agreed, but the bouncers seemed to be fixing for a fight and a shoving match ensued.
One of the bouncers then dived over his colleague and poked Rutten in the eye, then did the same to his other eye. Rutten dropped him with a single punch and before long he was now fighting five angry bouncers, all intent on beating him up.
’El Guapo’ sent more bodies went flying but realized this wasn’t going to end well and decided to head for the exit.
He reached a fire escape, but couldn’t open the door and turned around to face the bouncers again, who were now armed with broomsticks.
Moments later the police showed up behind Rutten and the bouncers backed off.
Rutten was jailed that night after it emerged that one of the people he’d KO’d during the melee had been a cop, but in the end he was released a few days later after the charges were dropped.
’The California Kid’ Urijah Faber was caught up in a terrifying fight for his life while on vacation in Bali back in 2006.
It began when a local picked on him while he was dancing with some girls at a club and led to them going outside to settle their differences.
Faber won the fight when a throw broke his adversary’s collarbone, but a few minutes later he was hit in the back of the head by another local wearing brass knuckles.
Multiple opponents with weapons then attacked Faber, including a guy wielding a bottle who he was able to throw over a motorcycle as he fled back into the club.
Unfortunately, that didn’t deter them and after being repeatedly kicked and struck with a shoe hammer, he ran back out the club, elbowing an attacker in the face as he did so.
An attempt to take refuge in a Billabong store also failed, but the blood-soaked Faber managed to escape again and jumped into a nearby taxi, where he’d briefly have to fend off the gang again before being driven off to a hospital.
Few people have more street fight stories than notorious UK bad boy Lee Murray, who claims to have had hundreds of scraps over the years and has the scars to prove it.
The most alarming example of this began with a fight outside the Funky Buddha nightclub in London that resulted in him being stabbed twice and having to have his nipple reattached in hospital.
Unbelievably, the former UFC fighter returned to the same club just a week later and once again found himself caught up in the middle of a fight outside.
On this occasion, he’d jumped in to help a friend, who was being attacked by six or seven people, and as punches started flying he noticed his head was bleeding and assumed he’d been hit, then looked down and saw blood spurting from a stab wound to his chest.
Murray ran off and got in a nearby car, begging the two girls inside to take him to a hospital.
Somehow he survived, despite the doctor revealing later that Murray had died three times on the operating table during open-heart surgery for a severed artery and punctured lung.
Former UFC fighter Roger Huerta became a hero in 2010 when he was caught on film beating up a much larger man who had just sucker-punched a woman outside a bar in Austin.
The 5ft 9”, 155lb Huerta witnessed what had happened and immediately went to confront 5ft 11″, 230lb+ Rashad Bobino, who it would later emerge was a former Texas Longhorns linebacker and had briefly been with the Atlanta Falcons in 2009.
”You just punched a f*cking girl?” Huerta exclaimed in disbelief.
”F*ck you, f*ck these bitches, I’ll knock out any f*ckin’ bitch that I wanna f*ckin’ knock out, I’ll knock your f*cking bitch ass out,” Bobino reportedly replied.
The two squared up to each other, but then Bobino ran off, with Huerta in hot-pursuit.
Unfortunately, there’s no video of exactly what happened next, but the immediate aftermath is caught on film, with Bobino lying unconscious on the ground, while Huerta lands one last kick to the head.
”I got the better of him and left,” is all the modest Huerta would say after receiving widespread acclaim when the video went viral.
Alistair / Valentijn Overeem
Two of the last people on earth you’d ever want to have to face in a street fight are Alistair Overeem and his brother Valentijn, as an unfortunate group of Dutch bouncers discovered in 2009.
The two heavyweight fighters were at a club in Holland when Alistair went to the restroom and realized he didn’t have enough coins to pay the toilet attendant.
Several bouncers intervened and the brothers were asked to leave. Alistair obliged and went outside, but Valentijn was struck in the face with a flashlight while still in the club and then two others joined in.
Alistair saw his brother being beaten and ran to his aid, with the ensuing fight resulting in no less than five bouncers being taken to hospital!
A few days later Alistair checked into a hospital after experiencing pain in his hand. Doctor’s diagnosed him with an infection due to a cut he’d suffered in the fight and informed him that if he’d left it any longer they would have had to amputate it!
Mark Hunt’s legendary fighting career may never have happened if it hadn’t been for a brawl outside a nightclub in his native New Zealand.
Hunt was outside the ‘Don’t Tell Mama’s’ club in Auckland when he spotted his friend on the ground being attacked, so he ran over to help, but slipped and suddenly he too was getting beaten up.
The police soon showed up, but that didn’t deter Hunt, who wanted payback against his foes, so while the officers were distracted he walked up to one of the gang and knocked him out with a single right-hand, then did the same to two more in quick succession.
That sparked off a huge brawl that left the police heavily outnumbered, and during the commotion, a bouncer ushered Hunt inside the club and told him to hide in the staff toilets to avoid being arrested.
It turned out that the bouncer was a martial artist, Sam Marsters, who had been so impressed with Hunt’s KO power that he offered to train him at his gym, setting him on the path to becoming an MMA and kickboxing star.
Tito Ortiz / Lee Murray / Chuck Liddell
At around 4 a.m. all the fighters started spilling out of a club into a back alley and one of Tito Ortiz’s friends jokingly jumped on Pat Miletich’s back and pretended to choke him.
Other bystanders thought he was being serious, leading to fellow fighter Tony Fryklund dragging the guy off and putting him in a real chokehold, then one of Lee Murray’s friends knocking him out.
That sparked off a crazy brawl in the alley, with Miletich recalling seeing Chuck Liddell with his back to a wall, knocking out anybody that came after him.
Meanwhile, Ortiz and Murray started fighting each other. Ortiz reportedly missed a punch and Murray countered with a five-piece combo that knocked out the star, who was the UFC’s light-heavyweight champion at the time, then kicked him in the head twice for good measure.
Over the years Ortiz has repeatedly denied that he was KO’d, claiming that he got clipped and “popped right back up,” but other witnesses, including Murray, Miletich and Matt Hughes brother Mark have all begged to differ.
Long before former UFC and Bellator fighter Jon Koppenhaver, aka War Machine become infamous around the globe for the kidnapping, sexual assault, and battery of his ex-girlfriend Christy Mack, he had demonstrated his out-of-control behavior in numerous street fight altercations.
Indeed, War Machine had previously spent two year-long stints in jail for bar fights, but his wildest altercation occurred when he was invited to a birthday party for porn star Brooke Haven in Los Angeles back in 2009, after having shot a scene with her the previous day.
War Machine showed up with his girlfriend at the time, Alanah Rae, but reportedly became enraged after seeing her talking to another man and slapped her in the face.
Other people tried to intervene, but War Machine reportedly, “went into kill mode” and knocked out porn star Alec Knight, repeatedly struck his own manager Ben English, while someone else had three teeth knocked out and another received a broken nose.
War Machine was later arrested after fleeing the scene, yet somehow he avoided jail time on that occasion, though his horrifying attack on Christy Mack five years later now leaves him facing the possibility of life behind bars.
Native New Yorker Chris Weidman has more than a few street fight stories from his younger days, including the time when the former UFC middleweight champion was leaving a club and noticed that his friend, a 125-pound wrestler, was being picked on by three bigger guys.
Weidman went over to help and got into a shoving match with one of the troublemakers. He gave the lout several warnings not to touch him again, then floored him with a single punch.
At that stage, one of the others tried to choke him from behind, but Weidman grabbed his arm and threw him over his back.
According to Weidman, the thug kept his head up as he fell, which resulted in his face scraping across the concrete, leaving a trail of skin in his wake as he began screaming in pain.
While Weidman was busy keeping those two grounded, his wrestling friend double-legged the third lout and beat him up on the ground.
The two then left, but Weidman was picked up by police further down the road, who informed him that one of the kids he’d beaten up was the son of a cop!
Weidman feared the worst, but in the end, he managed to avoid getting into serious trouble.
Dan Henderson / Randy Couture
In 1995, two years before they began their legendary MMA careers, Randy Couture and Dan Henderson were involved in a bar fight with five bouncers in Buckhead, Atlanta.
It began when Couture pushed Hendo into a nearby vehicle as they exited the bar, and though they were only fooling around the doormen intervened and one escalated the situation by picking up a baseball bat.
Hendo didn’t take too kindly to that and told the bouncer where he could stick the bat and after a tense stand-off Couture chased the same guy back into the club.
The notoriously heavy-handed Henderson remained outside and swiftly floored a couple of the bouncers with punches, while two of their other friends tackled the other two doormen.
Meanwhile, inside future UFC champion Couture was almost literally wiping the floor with the baseball bat bouncer, repeatedly throwing him into tables and across the bar.
An added twist in the tale is that just one night later, Couture had to return to the same bar for an interview with USA Wrestling officials about becoming head coach for the U.S. Greco team.
During the discussion, a policeman asked Couture to leave after the bar manager recognized him as being the guy who had trashed the place the night before, but luckily for him no charges were filed.
Okay, so this wasn’t so much of a street fight as an all-out assault.
Former UFC champion McGregor stormed the Barclays Center in Brooklyn with a hoard of goons on April 5, 2018, presumably to settle the score with lightweight rival Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was fighting in the UFC 223 main event that weekend and had accosted McGregor’s longtime teammate and friend Artem Lobov at the fighter hotel earlier in the week.
Let in by a few credentialed media members, McGregor and his gang rushed to the bowels of the venue to attack a bus containing “The Eagle” and several other fighters on UFC 223 who had just finished completing the media day for the event.
What transpired is now history, with McGregor throwing a metal dolly and other objects through the windows of the bus, injuring lightweight Michael Chiesa and flyweight Ray Borg to the point they were unable to compete at UFC 223 and forcing Lobov off the card for his involvement in the incident.
But it was McGregor who deservedly bore the brunt of his actions, as the Brooklyn police arrested him on both felony and misdemeanor assaults charges that he’ll appear in court next for on June 14, 2018.
This was legitimately one of the most chaotic scenes in UFC history, and that’s saying a lot. Yet while the UFC and Dana White spoke out against it, they most certainly benefited from the attention, and chronicled the entire altercation on their UFC 223 Embedded series:
Nate Diaz has been making headlines as of late for everything except actually fighting in the octagon, and that includes fighting outside of the octagon.
On May 12, 2018, Diaz allegedly got into a brawl with longtime UFC lightweight veteran Clay Guida at a Combate Americas MMA event in Sacramento, California. The story went that Diaz shoved Guida from behind, splitting his lip and inciting a hectic scene as he’s been known to do in the crowd of MMA events other than the UFC before slapping Guida’s teammate Tyler Diamond.
The incident lead to police investigating Diaz for the alleged assault, not a good look considering his brother Nick was recently arrested on domestic violence charges himself.
The outside-the-cage incidents have simply put begun to suggest that both Diaz brothers, although being two of the most talented and charismatic people in the fight game, are treading dangerously close to becoming huge wastes of that talent due to their violent tendencies.
With Nate out of action since August 2016 and Nick out since January 2015, the MMA world is still wondering when they’ll return if they ever do. The book isn’t shut on the Diaz brothers, but if they keep turning down actual fights where they could get paid a ton and keep getting involved in pointless fights in public, it may be soon.