Top 10 Controversial UFC Moments of the Decade

Published 12/31/2020, 9:02 AM EST
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 20: Conor McGregor (R) and UFC president Dana White (L) speak at the UFC 229 press conference at Radio City Music Hall on September 20, 2018 in New York City. McGregor will face UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event on October 6, 2018 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ed Mulholland/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The rise of combat sports went through the roof in the last decade, with MMA receiving recognition like never before. However, some controversial moments have overhauled the biggest MMA promotion, UFC, entirely at times. Here we take a look at the top 10 most controversial UFC moments of the last decade.


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1. Colby Covington rant on Brazil

After his win over Demian Maia in a dominant showing in 2017, Covington was booed by the Brazilian crowd during his Octagon interview with Daniel Cormier. Covington went off on a rant against the crowd in what was one of the most epic moments in the history of the last decade.


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2.Brock Lesnar allowed fighting at UFC 200

Brock Lesnar returned at UFC 200 to fight Mark Hunt. However, how the UFC or USADA allowed him to get into the Octagon remains beyond understanding, as he seemed under the influence. It was a robbery for Hunt, who had to be pitted against an overpowered monster like Lesnar.

3. Jon Jones vs  Daniel Cormier brawl

The rivalry between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier reached its peak when the two came into blows at the UFC 178 media day face-off. The heated stare-down ended in two top light-heavyweights throwing punches and wrestling in a room full of reporters and officials. It was certainly one of the most bizarre moments of the last decade in the UFC.

4. Paul Daley’s infamous sucker punch

Paul Daley was one of the best prospects in the welterweight division in the early part of the decade. But in his fight against Josh Koscheck, ‘Semtex’ went after his opponent after the fight ended to deliver an infamous sucker punch. This was one of the lowest moments of the talented Daley’s career. He was subsequently released by the UFC following the fight.

5. Nick Diaz suspended

After his fight against Anderson Silva at UFC 183, Nick Diaz failed a drug test and received an astonishing suspension of five years. Considering how some fighters get away with steroid abuse, Diaz’s suspension was one of the most bizarre decisions made by any athletic commission. The Stockton native later saw his punishment reduced to 18 months.

6. Conor McGregor’s bus attack

The Notorious‘ Conor McGregor threw a trolley at a bus in Brooklyn before UFC 223 in 2018 which was carrying Khabib Nurmagomedov and other fighters of that card. McGregor broke a glass window, injuring Michael Chiesa and others. The Irishman was arrested subsequently. It was not an act highly appreciated by many.

7. Yoel Romero stoolgate

At UFC 178, in 2014, during his fight against fellow middleweight Tim Kennedy, Yoel Romero got hurt badly. Kennedy clipped Romero and could have finished the fight, had the bell to end the round not rang. After the round, Romero took an extended break even after the allotted minute. He sat almost over 30 seconds more on his stool as he was recovering from the Kennedy onslaught of the previous round.

Romero subsequently went on to knock Kennedy out in the third round. But his strategy was certainly controversial, to say the least.

8. Dana White’s Cris Cyborg rant

Dana White infamously mocked former women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg in an epic rant. White called Cyborg “Wanderlei Silva in a dress,” seemingly making fun of Cyborg’s appearance at the MMA Awards.

9. UFC 232 moved to a new location because of Jon Jones

Ahead of his comeback from suspension at UFC 232 against Alexander Gustafsson, Jon Jones tested positive for narcotics yet again. The UFC tried to control the situation in their own manner. The NSAC refused to give Jones a license, but California State Athletic Commission granted him the pass. So, UFC moved the event from Nevada to California altogether, that too, on short notice.

INGLEWOOD, CA – DECEMBER 29: Jon Jones celebrates his KO victory over Alexander Gustafsson of Sweden in their light heavyweight bout during the UFC 232 event inside The Forum on December 29, 2018, in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

10. UFC 229 post-fight brawl


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After submitting Conor McGregor in the fourth round of their fight, Khabib Nurmagomedov jumped off the cage to attack Dillon Danis at McGregor’s corner. Nurmagomedov’s teammates jumped into the cage to attack McGregor. There was chaos all around. Security had to intervene to eventually stop the brawl as all hell broke loose. Both fighters were subsequently suspended. It was one of the darkest moments in the recent history of the UFC.


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Which else moment makes your list of the most controversial moments? Let us know in the comments.


Apratim Banerjee

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Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.