“The modern artist must live by craft and violence. His gods are violent gods.” -- Ezra Pound | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
In this world, there is always someone tougher than you -- someone bigger, badder, faster, smarter, harder. Here is a list of 24 such people.
This is the 2014 Sherdog.com All-Violence Team, the Hit Parade of heavy hitters and those who turn competitors into quitters, the holy text of chopping necks. It is the domain of two dozen great mixed martial artists who brought the sport's beauty and strife into focus with blood, sweat, technique and ingenuity -- and with violence.
The past year was one of transition and transformation for MMA. The Ultimate Fighting Championship's demanding international agenda only intensified; Bellator MMA ousted Bjorn Rebney in favor of Scott Coker and changed its promotional schedule; One Fighting Championship upped the amount of events it was holding in order to hit more Asian markets, including breaking through to mainland China. As a result, “oversaturation” might have been the most popular piece of the sport's lexicon in 2014.
In this moment, the sheer volume of MMA product has alienated many fight fans who once considered themselves “hardcore.” From top to bottom, fight cards are weaker and diluted, filled with less-than-stellar talent, unappealing matches and perfunctory engagements to fulfill contractual obligations. Sometimes there is one, two, three, four or more events in a single weekend. Fans' time, money, attention and interest are finite resources, and they are more thoroughly plundered all the time. These conditions make the All-Violence Team more essential than ever.
These are the fighters worth those precious resources. These are the fighters that should command your intrigue, respect and greenbacks, the athletes whose names appear on a PPV and propel you towards plunking down the $70 for HD, those who could make you buy a ticket, get in an argument on Twitter or stare at the same animated .gif for an hour straight. It is the almanac of MMA's action heroes, those who went above and beyond what is typical, necessary or fathomable in order to create sublime showcases of combat sport.
Just three fighters from 2013's All-Violence Team made the cut in 2014, a year welcoming 14 offensively gifted combatants to their first squad. Most interestingly, it is the first year that UFC light heavyweight champion and pound-for-pound king Jon Jones failed to make the cut, after earning first-team All-Violence honors in the first four years of this feature. UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, owner of three All-Violence berths, now has to share that second-best spot with technical brawler extraordinaire Matt Brown, who makes his third straight appearance on the team.
Did you know this is Donald Cerrone's first All-Violence team. I know, right? I could not believe it either, and I am responsible for this bloody thing.
Enough preamble. Say hello -- and perhaps “thank you” -- to 2014's most outstanding artists and assailants:
Continue Reading » First Team