That Settles It: Cheick Kongo Is the Dirtiest Fighter in the UFC

(One of the few moments on Saturday when Travis Browne wasn’t in danger of getting his nuts demolished. Photo courtesy of

Though many UFC fighters have gotten bad reputations for everything from eye-poking to greasing, nobody’s as consistently rotten as heavyweight Cheick Kongo, who put on another notorious performance against Travis Browne at UFC 120. Kongo started things off in the second round by launching his trademark strike — a knee to the balls, straight up the middle — and wound up costing himself the victory in the third frame when he continued to grab Browne’s shorts despite warnings from the ref; the resulting point-deduction led to a unanimous 28-28 judges’ decision. At this point, it’s pretty much indisputable that Kongo is the dirtiest fighter currently on the UFC roster. Who could forget his other career highlights…

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vs. Paul Buentello at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones: After being warned by Herb Dean for shots to the back of the head and 12-to-6 elbows in the second round, Kongo is finally deducted a point for kneeing Buentello in the head while Buentello was down. Later in the round, Kongo connects with another knee to his downed opponent’s dome, though Dean brushes it off, saying Buentello was trying to draw the foul. 

vs. Mostapha Al Turk at UFC 92:
 Al Turk catches Kongo in the junk with a knee. Kongo takes a minute to collect himself, then clinches with Al Turk and returns the favor, very much intentionally.

vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic at UFC 75: The fight that launched “Cup Check Kongo”‘s dirty-fighter legend. Kongo lands four separate knees to Cro Cop’s balls, and manages to avoid any point-deductions. In a post-fight interview with Fighters Only, Kongo said “The last knee in the balls wasn’t an accident because he was complaining about different knees in his balls but they were inside his legs. And that upset me.”

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Kongo hasn’t earned the distinction of having two points deducted in the same fight, and he doesn’t include himself in the 50% of MMA fighters who use steroids, but when it comes to lifetime body of work, Kongo is chasing Gilbert Yvel for the title of Dirtiest Fighter Ever.