The year 2010 was a big year in MMA that saw many changes to the landscape. One company closed (WEC) and another one landed a TV deal (Bellator). Many things changed, but one thing remained the same: The UFC is still on top of the MMA world and nipping at its heel is Strikeforce, a company that had the biggest storyline of 2010 with Fedor Emelianenko losing for the first time in 10 years.
Many storylines emerged but one of the biggest upsets of 2010 was B.J. Penn losing his lightweight title to Frankie Edgar and then losing in the rematch. Penn was thought of as one of the pound for pound best MMA superstars and unbeatable as a lightweight.
Anderson Silva was on his way to losing to Chael Sonnen before pulling off a triangle choke submission. Silva is considered the best fighter in MMA and has thoroughly dominated his opponents. Needless to say, it is not the last we have heard from Chael Sonnen as a contender. But what emerged from that was a suspension for steroid use only to have it reduced when it was discovered he had a medical condition that required him to use steroids.
Eddie Alvarez continued to dominate in Bellator and calling out Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez in the process. James Toney emerged as a flash in the pan in the UFC. Just as quickly as the fight was announced, he would lose as quickly to Randy Couture.
These were just some of the storylines I thought were the most important of the year. Of course, I am open to a debate as always. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
10. Chael Sonnen giving Anderson Silva all he could handle
With Anderson Silva clowning around with his last two title defenses, it seemed as though he had run out of competitors in his division, but then came the trash talking Chael Sonnen who showed zero respect and pretty much singlehandedly sold the PPV with his trash talking.
Now it came time to fight, and fight he did, dominating the standup exchanges and took Anderson Silva down to the ground whenever he wanted to and beat him up until the last minute of the fight where Anderson Silva used his McDonalds’ jujitsu to submit Chael Sonnen in a memorable fight.
9. Chael Sonnen tests positive for steroids
Shortly after the fight, the California State Athletic Commission suspended Chael Sonnen after testing positive for steroids. He was facing a lengthy suspension, but shortly afterwards, his suspension was reduced to six months when it was discovered that he had a low testosterone so he needed to take it and had been for two years. With his suspension being reduced, we here at RSR look forward to seeing our favorite trash talker in the octagon soon.
8. The WEC merges with the UFC
The WEC is merging its two divisions: the bantamweight and featherweight divisions. Also, the winner of the Anthony Pettis-Ben Henderson fight (Pettis wins) would face the UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar/Gray Maynard match. What resulted in the final WEC show was the ninja kick from Anthony Pettis.
7. James Toney enters MMA
When it was announced that James Toney was going to fight Randy Couture many had thought it would be a freak show. With stories leaking out about Toney submitting King Mo and that Toney had very good takedown defense, some had thought he might have a chance. As well as being a future hall of fame boxer, Toney is a well known sports celebrity so selling a lot of PPV buys was to be expected. Toney was selling the fight with his black belt in trash talking. The result was predictable for those that follow MMA as he was quickly taken down and submitted in less than a minute. But what will forever endear me to James Toney is him telling off the annoying and disrespectful Jim Gray.
6. Dan Henderson enters Strikeforce and faces Jake Shields
What was memorable was the fact that Dan Henderson signed with Strikeforce over the UFC and Jake Shields, the middleweight champion, was in his last fight on his contract with Strikeforce. Also, Henderson was coming off a brutal first round knockout victory over Michael Bisping and was in line for a rematch with Anderson Silva. So the match ended with Shields winning, but what followed was a brawl when moments after Jake Shields was being interviewed, Jason “Mayhem” Miller interrupted to ask for a rematch. Shields would shove Miller and Nick Diaz, Gilbert Melendez and Nate Diaz would attack Miller as chaos ensued. Gus Johnson yelled: “We are on national TV people!”
5. Kimbo Slice released from the UFC
Kimbo Slice, the former Miami Hurricane, turned homeless guy, turned backyard Youtube internet sensation, entered the Ultimate Fighter house and the show had huge ratings. He would lose to Roy Nelson. He would defeat Houston Alexander in the UFC. But his last fight against Matt Mitrione ended with him being stopped. Shortly afterward he was released from the UFC. Like him or hate him, people view him as an underdog and whatever he decides to do he will have a cult like following. With him being represented by Gary Shaw, boxing is his next move.
4. Eddie Alvarez defends title against Roger Huerta
In what seemingly was Bellator’s transition from unknown fighters facing each other to two fighters who are well known in MMA with Alvarez and Huerta. As the fight took place in Philadelphia, the Alvarez hometown, the hometown fighter would dominate the fight and the question would be asked: Is Eddie Alvarez the best lightweight in the world? The answer is unknown but watching him fight is worth the price of admission as Bellator has unlocked a gem of a fighter.
3. BJ Penn loses his title
It seemed like Penn would dominate for many years to come. The UFC had three dominating champions in Anderson Silva, George St. Pierre and Penn. The UFC was getting stale by having these three dominate and without fighters on the horizon for Penn, Frankie Edgar was thought of as a mismatch. Mismatch it was, as Edgar dominated Penn, and in the rematch, in which most people felt Penn just had an off night, Edgar proved the critics wrong. He dominated him more so. In what looked like a division without new contenders, it is now loaded with promising fighters.
2. Bellator lands TV deal with MTV2
With Bellator getting a new deal with a new network means that viewers will be able to see live events on the MTV2 station. One of the problems facing Bellator before was fans were never sure when they would be on TV. But with this new deal, hopefully means it can continue to grow and we the viewers can sit back and enjoy there tournaments.
1. Fedor Emelianenko
Simply referred to as “Fedor,” he had only won loss to go along with his 31 victories. Most felt he was undefeated his only blemish was a DQ loss. He, of course, would avenge that loss with a TKO over Tsuyoshi Kosaka. He was thought of as unbeatable until he would lose to Fabricio Werdum by submission. To have a record of 31-2 in boxing is a good record. To have a record of 31-2 in MMA is unbelievable. It would be the biggest story of 2010.