In many sports today, controversies can often arise from whether or not a computer is a better way to police a game than a bunch of dudes with whistles and flags.
However, in a combat sport like mixed martial arts, with millions on the line through investment, marketing and profit, a sport where athletes sign contracts acknowledging their long-term health could be sacrificed over a potential 25 minutes of glory, situations can range from the tepid to beyond boiling.
Whether due to seeing red like the bride in Kill Bill caught in a moment of madness, or an unfathomable verdict decided by judges ringside, the choices made in this sport are often tense and with that comes controversy.
5. Conor Vs. Khabib: Pandemonium
We have seen some truly epic wars in the cage over the years. Big egos and stubborn characters, rich in will-power who will not give an inch. However, when these characteristics spill outside of a sanctioned bout, it can result in behaviour that makes us all look bad.
It's hard enough convincing the friend who doesn’t see the sportsmanship in a spinning roundhouse to the face, or choking another competitor unconscious. But when the world famous Octagon looks like the Royal Rumble, even MMA’s truest fans take pause.
Venom between Conor Mcgregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov grew potent over years of disrespect from both camps, whether that’s Khabib calling Conor “Burger King” and “Chicken” or McGregor thrusting alcohol on the devout Muslim, whilst commenting on his religion and family.
Unfortunately, the moment Conor launched a dolly smashing the window of a coach full of UFC fighters (including the likes of Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg - who were forced out of their upcoming fights due to injuries sustained) was an ugly sign of worse to come. But the scenes of Khabib vaulting over the Octagon to battle Dillon Danis, whilst Conor swung at members of the Eagles team from the cage wall, will forever be a dark day.
Both world class fighters were banned from competition, fined heavily and admonished by the UFC brass, whilst for days after we saw videos emerge across social media of fights breaking out in the arena between heated fans.
In hindsight, this was a snippet of a reality which surrounds our sport. Though we are thankful no one was seriously injured and the madness lasted less than a minute, it serves as a lesson on how imperative sportsmanship is to this game and everyone involved.