High Class Heels: MMA’s Top Eight Bad Boys

Diaz Jones

While athletes are often looked upon as role models and admirable figures, some just don’t fit the mold.

Sure, there’s plenty of classy, respectful athletes that go on to have extremely successful careers, but there always has to be a bad guy to balance things out.

This is widely relevant in the sport of mixed martial arts, as personality and style can often times weigh out skill in terms of popularity and fan reception.

Aside from the class act champions like all-time great Georges “Rush” St-Pierre, we have seen many fighters travel down different paths.

Whether it be mistakes made, or a conscious decision to embrace the role of a heel, we have seen our fair share of bad boys in the UFC.

Let’s take a look at the top eight:

Jason Miller

8. Jason “Mayhem” Miller

Former UFC middleweight Jason “Mayhem” Miller is undoubtedly one of the most unique fighters we’ve had the pleasure of seeing inside of the Octagon, but he unfortunately seems to be known more for his actions outside of the cage than for those inside.

Back in 2012, Miller was arrested after breaking into a church and being found sleeping naked inside of the building by the authorities. He was then arrested twice in August 2013 regarding domestic violence charges.

Miller’s troubles continued just a few months later in October 2013 when he was once again arrested for violating a “Stay Away” order. This would only be the beginning of the combatant’s legal issues, however.

A year later, “Mayhem” was yet again put in handcuffs after literally causing mayhem, leasing a five hour standoff with a SWAT Team outside of his home.

Fast forward yet another year, and you guessed it, Miller was arrested in October 2015 after allegedly assaulting police officers.

Most recently, it was actually announced that the former UFC fighter would be making his return to competitive MMA, as it was reported that he would be taking on fellow former Octagon performer Luke Barnatt at a Venator FC event in May.

Ironically, Miller was arrested on DUI charges just days after the fight was announced.

With wins over reigning welterweight champion Robbie Lawler and middleweight contender Tim Kennedy on his resume, Miller had potential to have a bright career in the sport, but unfortunately he just hasn’t been able to stay out of trouble, making him one of the sport’s most iconic bad boys.

wanderlei silva mma fail

7. Wanderlei Silva

Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva happens to be one of the most legendary sluggers of all-time, a fan favorite from the glory days of PRIDE FC who finally made his return to the UFC in 2007.

While his UFC tenure may not have panned out as he had planned, Silva remained a well-known figure, and a star of the sport, that is until he ran into trouble with both the promotion as well as the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).

Ahead of his scheduled clash with rival Chael Sonnen at July 2014’s UFC 175, it was reported that the Brazilian had been pulled from the fight after failing to submit an application to fight in Las Vegas, as well as essentially running from a commission ordered random drug test.

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In September 2014, “The Axe Murderer” was shockingly handed a lifetime ban and a $75,000 fine for the commission.

In the months after, Silva’s bad blood with the UFC would boil over after he released multiple video rants implying that the promotion had been fixing fights.

Now, his lifetime ban has been reversed and he has been released from his UFC contract.

It’s indeed possible that the 39 year old could possibly fight again, and while the diehard Silva fans will always be present, “The Axe Murderer” definitely tarnished his legacy in a way with his questionable and rebellious actions.

MMA: UFC 189-Mendes vs McGregor

6. Vitor Belfort

Like Silva, Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort is an icon of mixed martial arts, and a former UFC champion.

With unprecedented quickness and explosiveness, Belfort is a knockout artist in the truest of sense, and should have been a fan favorite over the years, but like his previous counterparts, he just couldn’t seem to do things the right way.

The Brazilian has failed multiple drug tests over the course of his career, and at one point was the poster boy for the now banned testosterone-replacement-therapy.

During his reign of terror in 2013 in which he scored three straight devastating head kick knockouts, “The Phenom” looked more ripped than ever, nothing like what he looks like now without TRT, leading many to label him as a cheater, despite the substance being perfectly legal at the time.

In fact, his middleweight title shot against former champion Chris Weidman, which was originally set for UFC 173, was pushed back multiple times after Belfort failed a test for elevated levels of testosterone and had to wean himself off of a TRT.

Despite his obvious talent, “The Phenom” remains as one of the most controversial fighters in the history of the sport, and his status with fans has suffered greatly because of it.

chael sonnen 2

5. Chael Sonnen

The self-proclaimed “Bad Guy” himself, multi-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen is one of the most historic trash talkers in sport history.

With notable wins over Yushin Okami, Michael Bisping, and Mauricio Rua, Sonnen also pushed former long-time middleweight king Anderson Silva to his limits in 2010, but many simply felt as if he talked himself into big fights and title shots.

While his trash talk was enough to make some hate him, his drug test controversies didn’t help to bring more fans to his side either.

After his bout with Silva for example, it was made clear that Sonnen had unusually high levels of testosterone, leading the commission to hand him a fine and a one year suspension.

Later on, like his buddy Wanderlei Silva, Sonnen also failed multiple drug tests ahead of their scheduled bout. He initially had failed a random drug test that removed him from the bout, and also caused him to announce his retirement from fighting.

After his announced retirement, it was reported that Sonnen had failed yet another random drug test, leading the UFC and FOX Sports to terminate his contract, as well as the commission to hand him a two year suspension.

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A great athlete and entertaining personality, Sonnen unfortunately ruined what could have been a great end to a career as well as a job with FOX due to bending the rules.

It turns out he was a bad guy after all.

4. Ronda Rousey

“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey is unlike the aforementioned fighters on this list, in the sense that she has never failed a drug test nor has she had any run-ins with the law.

In fact, the former bantamweight queen is one of the most influential fighters in MMA history, and arguably the biggest star the sports ever seen.

However, Rousey also stands out as one of the cockiest and most arrogant fighters we’ve seen in recent memory.

The former divisional ruler has seemed to engage in rivalries with nearly every single one of her opponents, never resisting on dishing out her fair share of trash talk, something that hasn’t always resonated well with fans.

This was never seen more than after he shocking knockout loss to Holly Holm last November.

Heading into the bout, Rousey was a massive favorite and had said on multiple occasions that she was unbeatable compared to other females.

In the aftermath of the disappointing loss, Rousey received a ton of negative backlash, unlike the admiration she usually takes in, proving that fans may not have appreciated her attitude prior.

While her previous unbeaten streak and brash personality have helped to sell countless amounts of pay-per-views, Rousey remains as one of the UFC’s biggest “Bad Guys”.

conor mcgregor quotes

3. Conor McGregor

Like Rousey, UFC featherweight champion the “Notorious” Conor McGregor is one of the fastest rising stars in promotional history, and he has done so on the heels of a massive hype train backed by relentless trash talk and brutal knockout power.

Dubbed as arguably the greatest trash talker of all-time, McGregor has never been one to watch his mouth, not only verbally bashing all of his opponents, but the majority of the UFC roster as well.

Aside from other fighters, the “Notorious” one hasn’t held back regarding the promotion either, advertising his upcoming super fight with lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos as being promoted by “McGregor Sports & Entertainment”.

The Irishman then proceeded to show up fashionably late to the UFC 196 press conference, and when he did get there, he unleashed an onslaught to the UFC’s promotional posters.

Aside from the thousands and thousands of Irish fans who idolize their hero, there’s also a large audience of fans who simply can’t stand McGregor and his antics.

In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that a Baptist Church rejoiced in the idea of McGregor’s death.

Crazy, crazy stuff.

While he has undoubtedly used these tactics to rise to prominence, McGregor is without a doubt one of the UFC’s top villains.

UFC 143: Diaz v Condit

2. Nick Diaz

It’s near impossible to talk about the UFC’s “Bad Guys” without bringing up “The Stockton Bad Boy” himself Nick Diaz.

Diaz, unlike some others on this list, has actually paired revolutionary trash talk and taunting with issues outside of the cage.

The former Strikeforce champion has engaged in back and forth wars of words with many of his previous opponents, most notably former long-time UFC champion Georges St-Pierre. He was also ironically involved in a brawl after a Strikeforce fight back in 2010 with Jason “Mayhem” Miller.

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Outside of competing, it’s safe to say that Diaz isn’t the most adored by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

After having previously been suspended after failing multiple drug tests, Diaz failed his third test for Marijuana metabolites after his January 2015 bout with Anderson Silva.

Making it clear that he played by his own rules, the Commission took it to Diaz, handing down a ludicrous five-year suspension. Although the punishment has since been reduced to 18-months, it was obvious that the NSAC was out to get him.

Unlike some of the other “Bad Guys” on this list and our top choice coming up next, Diaz has actually been praised and adored by fans for his style, making him a fan favorite over the years.

Even before Jon Jones started probation, he was hula-hoop racing ...

1. Jon Jones

It may be confusing as to why a man widely considered to be the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time is topping this list of UFC “Bad Guys”, but Jon “Bones” Jones is the epitome of a heel fighter.

Like boxing legend Floyd “Money” Mayweather, it almost seems at times that fans simply tune in hoping that Jones will lose, something that has never been seen inside of the Octagon aside from a disqualification loss.

With that said, “Bones” has had his fair share of controversies outside of the cage.

He was basically trashed and blamed by the UFC for the cancellation of UFC 151, the first time an event had ever been canceled, being thrown into a negative light by his own bosses. President Dana White even went on record to call Jones selfish for declining to fight Chael Sonnen on extremely short notice.

Prior to the cancellation controversy, the former light heavyweight champion was arrested on DUI charges, the first of multiple legal issues.

Fast forward to late 2014, and Jones would take part in one of the biggest rivalries the sport had ever seen opposite reigning divisional kingpin Daniel Cormier. The two actually clashed in a full-fledged brawl at a promotional event leading to Jones receiving a fine from the NSAC and losing his coveted sponsorship deal with Nike.

After all of the build-up, Jones would go on to score a one-sided decision win over Cormier, but the controversy wasn’t done yet.

It was reported that “Bones” had failed an out of competition drug test for Cocaine metabolites, a failure he received yet another fine for.

Later in the year, Jones’ life would take a huge turn as he was arrested on felony charges after being involved in a hit-and-run accident. Not only was he arrested, but he was suspended and stripped of his title.

Now reinstated, Jones is scheduled to take on Cormier for the title he was stripped of at April’s UFC 197.

While without question one of the most talented athletes the UFC has ever seen, Jones hasn’t always received the most love from the fans, but he’s seemed to embrace the role as heal at some points.

For that reason, Jon Jones is the UFC’s top bad boy.