Nothing is more memorable than a bad tattoo. Probably because nothing is more permanent than a bad tattoo. These days there is more and more ink adorning the muscled flesh of our professional athletes and in Mixed Martial Arts it’s nearly impossible to hide those hideously cliche barbed-wire arm bands because these fighters are stripped to their underwear and fighting one-on-one in a cage with all eyes on them. Are horrible tattoos more common in MMA than other sports? It’s hard to say but these 10 most memorably bad tattoos sure make it seem like it.
10. Alan Belcher–Johnny Cash
At first glance, it might be Fat Elvis or it could be an alien symbiote slowing taking over Alan Belcher’s arm. In reality though, the 26-year-old Muay Thai practitioner and UFC Middleweight tattooed his left shoulder with the country music legend Johnny Cash’s face. Unfortunately it seem no one has the balls to tell Belcher that it looks more like The Blob’s stomach with eyes and a mouth.
9. Joe Riggs–”Diesel”
The slang “diesel” is supposed to signify a ton of physical strength, and nothing says powerful quite like “sea foam green.” Riggs’ nickname is “Diesel,” so it should be no shock that the word is permanently inked on him. But on his stomach? In pale green? It appears that the Arizona product didn’t choose that unique color by accident because he also has “NHB” (No Holds Barred) tattooed on his right arm in the very same color.
8. Frank Mir–”Two Bodies Many Minds One Spirit”
There is a lovely story behind Frank Mir’s scripted stomach tattoo. It reads “Two Bodies Many Minds One Spirit,” which the former UFC Heavyweight Champion inked himself with when his wife was pregnant. That sounds very awwww-inducing, but the tattoo looks more like Mir’s stomach is sending the outside world messages like “feed me Dana White.”
7. Tim Sylvia–Tribal
There had to be an ever popular “tribal” tattoo mess on this list. At 6-foot-8 and topping scales at 300 pounds (sometimes over, like in his most recent loss to Abe Wagner), there might not be a bigger and whiter “athlete” than Tim Sylvia. We’re still trying to figure out which “tribe” the former UFC Heavyweight Champion hails from. They must originate from Maine, have a penchant for Mohawks and mutton chops, and a tendency to eat themselves out of a job.
6. Josh Burkman–Tramp stamp
A “tramp stamp”? Seriously?! The “Ultimate Fighter 2″ alum has a personal story for why he got this tattoo and why he placed it on his back. The tattoo is of a house in turmoil and it is on his back to signify that he has put that behind him. But on the small of his back? There’s so much space on one’s back. Why put it exactly centered on the patch of skin internationally known as the “tramp stamp”? This tattoo would be a lot higher on the list, but Burkman has had sex with UFC Ring Girl and professional MMA fan’s wet dream Arianny Celeste, so he wins even with a “tramp stamp.”
5. Junie Browning–Hand grenade on his hand
People should expect bad tattoos from a guy nicknamed “The Lunatic.” People should also expect bad tattoos from someone who regularly dyes his hair platinum blond. Maybe it was the booze Browning is infamously known to guzzle or maybe it was the bleach from his hair seeping into his brain, but “The Lunatic” tattooed his whole right hand to look like a hand grenade. Who said there were no poets from Kentucky? That is quite the subtle metaphor. If Browning hits you with that right hand it will blow you up. Too bad not one of his opponents from last year got the message–he’s lost his last three fights.
4. Edwin Dewees–Crotch flames
At only 28 years old, Edwin “Babyface” Dewees has had a surprisingly long journeyman career, including 50 professional MMA fights. What is more surprising is that at some point in Dewees’ life he had flames tattooed on his waistline right above his crotch. What this tattoo could possibly signify is anyone’s guess. An eternal flickering fire that shoots out from his privates? Maybe Dewees loves the Kings of Leon tune “Sex On Fire” a little too much? Only he knows.
3. Brock Lesnar–Sword penis
Arguably the most infamous MMA tattoo is Brock Lesnar’s “sword with brass knuckles grip” aka “sword penis” on his stomach and chest. It is simply hard to miss. The former UFC Heavyweight Champion and WWE Superstar is a mountainous man with a billboard-size set of pectorals. The tattoo is just so phallic. It is just way too phallic. More phallic than the Washington Monument or even former NBA great Dikembe Mutombo dressed as hotdog. The worst part is the tip of the “sword” is directed at Lesnar’s face.
2. Adrian Perez–Face fire
No one will ever doubt that Adrian Perez is the single biggest fan of the MMA organization “King of the Cage.” And that’s largely because Perez has “King of the Cage” tattooed across the top of his bald head. As for the rest of Perez’s head, it is metaphorically on fire as there are flame tattoos crisscrossing it. Perez actually fought for “King of the Cage,” but he went 1 and 6, which included losing his first four fights. Maybe the fire is his MMA career going down in flames?
1. Melvin Costa–Nazi chest tattoo and “I Have A Small Penis”
Generally speaking, most peoples’ first impression when seeing Melvin Costa shirtless is he’s a Neo-Nazi. Quite a first impression. But according to Costa, he’s not a Neo-Nazi at all. He is actually a “white nationalist.” Whew, he had us worried for a second. Perhaps worse that the swastika though (no, nothing’s worse than a swastika) is Costa’s tattoo of the words “I Have A Small Penis.” At least this “white nationalist” has a slim chance of reproducing.
For more MMA goodness, watch Bellator on MTV2, premiering Saturday, March 5, at 9p/8c