2022’s Dumbest Combat Sports Moments
The Jake Paul Hate Train
I have spent an unhealthy amount of time writing about how Jake Paul, literally, did nothing wrong. Yet the hate train surrounding this man crossed the border into straight up delusion, when people in their droves try to claim that every Jake Paul bout is fixed. That every opponent he faces takes a dive, and that he will lose when he finally faces a ‘real’ boxer, ignoring Anderson Silva’s win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Every time Jake Paul fights a new opponent, the goal posts are moved further. The hate train gets dumber, and the more it seems that Paul has some legitimate ability as a fighter. You can read more on this in “Well, It’s Time To Defend Jake Paul”.
Aldo at Elevation
Jose Aldo retired, leaving behind an unparalleled record at featherweight. Aldo fought all-comers and dominated the division in a reign that subsequent champions haven’t even come close to surpassing.
Jose Aldo also struggles with cardio. Yet the UFC decided for his final fight, his retirement fight, that the entire bout should be fought in Salt Lake City, Utah, at an elevation of almost 1300 feet. Needless to say, cardio ended up being a factor, causing the great champion to retire on a wholly avoidable loss.
Sean Strickland’s Gameplan vs Alex Pereira
Sean Strickland should have beaten Alex Pereira, he had to do simply one thing, shoot for a takedown and best his opponent on the ground. We would soon learn that Alex Pereira could be outwrestled by a fellow kickboxer. So dedicated MMA fighter Sean Strickland could surely do the job, right?
Instead Sean Strickland decided to strike with Alex Pereira, with his chin high in the air, and then was legitimately surprised that he was knocked out by the kickboxers left hook. Keep in mind, Alex Pereira is known for this power. During a press conference, Sean Strickland kept referring to Israel Adesanya, then champion, and seemed to be looking passed Pereira. The Champion, who had fought Pereira twice before, said plainly ‘he will sleep you’. And that he did.
Anthony Joshua’s Passive Aggressive Meltdown
After losing the rematch to Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua seemingly snapped. While emotions were understandably high, Anthony Joshua’s bizarre speech left everyone wondering exactly what was going through his head.
He congratulated Usyk on his win and got the audience to ‘hip hip hooray’ him in a passive aggressive affair – said that Usyk’s work in the Ukrainian war was admirable, but spent most of the time talking about himself and how big and powerful he is. It for all the world looked like Joshua had prepared a victory speech, which he then had to re-work after losing.
Usyk spent the whole time looking rather awkward and embarrassed, although whether it was for himself or Joshua is up for debate.
DK Yoo vs Manny Pacquaio
All outrage towards Jake Paul, should instead be directed towards DK Yoo’s truly ridiculous exhibition bouts. As a matter of fact, I put off writing this article purely in anticipation of this exhibition. I knew from the get go, that it would make it in.
DK Yoo continues his weird exhibition boxing bouts, where he gets beaten up in an attempt to prove that his brand of martial arts is legit. His last bout against former UFC fighter Brad Scott showed that DK Yoo’s real struggle was less defending himself, and more understanding the rules of boxing. This fight was similar to the Scott match, in that Yoo essentially backpedaled and clinched as much as he could, while the referee did everything in his power to help Yoo out.
Pacquaio was mostly sparring, until he wasn’t, would light Yoo up, the referee would step in for some arbitrary reason. Rince. Repeat. Terrible.
You can complain about Jake Paul’s fights, but at least he actually fights, rather than avoiding the opponent the whole time, even in the context of an exhibition.
These were just a few of the most headscratching moments for me this year. Although they are certainly not the only ones. We can only imagine what the next year will hold.