The Ten Least Profitable UFC Fighters of 2014

rhodes-journalsentinelpicLast time in our series reviewing 2014 in MMA betting, we took a look at the most profitable UFC fighters of the year. This time around, we take a peek at what was on the other side of the coin, listing the ten least profitable fighters from the past twelve months. By the very nature of these lists, there is some crossover between the two, but the majority of the fighters listed weren’t victims of 2014’s most profitable fighters. In order to calculate how profitable a fighter was (or wasn’t), a standard bet of one unit (on underdogs) or to win one unit (on favorites) was used. Profitability was based on the cumulative total of each fighter for all their UFC bouts over the course of the year. As always, the closing odds from Several Bookmakers were used. Hopefully you didn’t end up on any of these fighters too often, or 2014 would have been a tough year in MMA betting. T10. Mike Rhodes (0-3) -4.8U

-280 vs. George Sullivan +230 vs. Robert Whittaker +325 vs. Erick Silva

‘Biggie’ came to the UFC with some fanfare, as his only loss on the regional circuit came to Brandon Thatch, and he captured the RFA welterweight title following that setback. He has drastically underperformed since coming to the UFC however, dropping decisions to Sullivan and Whittaker before being stopped in short order by Silva in the last card of the year. It’s unlikely Rhodes will find himself on this list next year, as I’m not sure he sticks in the UFC much longer. T10. Josh Thomson (0-2) -4.8U

+280 vs. Benson Henderson -380 vs. Bobby Green

Sharing the 10th spot with Rhodes is a very unlikely fighter, as Josh Thomson could have just as easily gone 2-0 as 0-2. Most thought he earned the decision over Henderson, which could have put him in line for a title shot. Instead he fought to another close decision loss against Green, and that was that for a disappointing 2014 for ‘The Punk’. T8. Tom Niinimaki (0-3) -5.0U

-245 vs. Niklas Backstrom -155 vs. Chas Skelly +120 vs. Renato Carneiro

Finland’s foremost fighter is simply not very good at defending rear-naked chokes. In hindsight, it’s amazing he didn’t get submitted by Rani Yahya in his 2013 UFC debut, since Backstrom, Skelly and Carneiro all forced him to tap, likely ending his UFC run. T8. Walt Harris (0-2) -5.0U

-400 vs. Nikita Krylov +167 vs. Soa Palelei

‘The Big Ticket’ was cut from the UFC after his first loss of 2014, and embarrassing performance against Krylov. However, a win in Titan FC coupled with the lack of depth at heavyweight saw him return to the Octagon. He didn’t fare much better against Palelei, again falling by TKO. Perhaps coming back in on short notice means Harris gets another shot in the UFC in 2015, but there isn’t much optimism surrounding the heavy hitter anymore. Lorenz Larkin7. Lorenz Larkin (0-3) -5.3U

-260 vs. Brad Tavares -170 vs. Costas Philippou +145 vs. Derek Brunson

Somehow Lorenz Larkin has held onto his UFC job, despite losing his past three (including each of his 2014 bouts) and managing just one win in five UFC tries. Inactivity has often hurt Larkin, as he was outworked in both his decision losses to Tavares and Brunson. Yet when he did open up against Philippou, he ended up getting knocked out. The former light heavyweight will head to Boston to face John Howard on January 18th, making his welterweight debut, and shockingly he comes in as the favorite. I doubt anyone on this list makes a repeat appearance in 2015, but if Larkin gets a couple shots at 170, he may have an outside shot. 6. Jumabieke Tuerxun (0-3) -6.4U

-440 vs. Mark Eddiva +115 vs. Leandro Issa +540 vs. Marcus Brimage

The beginning of 2014 saw a great deal of hype around Jumabieke Tuerxun. He was supposed to be the Chinese fighter who could actually stick around and be competitive in the UFC. He brought an undefeated record to the Octagon. It turns out his UFC tenure would be the exact opposite, as he was winless in 2014, dropping bouts quicker as the year went. He started with a decision loss as a massive favorite against Eddiva, got submitted in the third round by Issa, and then knocked out in the first by Brimage. If you took the position of fading Chinese fighters, Tuerxun was a gift, but if you bought into the hype, it was a disaster. 5. Renan Barao (2-1) -7.1U

-335 vs. Urijah Faber (Win) -910 vs. TJ Dillashaw -1000 vs. Mitch Gagnon (Win)

The former bantamweight champion is the only fighter on this list with a winning record in 2014, and that speaks to how massive the prices on him have been. The average price in his three bouts was just a hair under -750, and even losing just once with those kinds of numbers will land you on a list like this. Barao will find himself an underdog for the first time in his Zuffa career when he rematches Dillashaw for the bantamweight title, but could be a big favorite in any other bouts in 2015. 4. Niklas Backstrom (1-1) -7.75U

+225 vs. Tom Niinimaki (Win) -1000 vs. Mike Wilkinson

Niklas Backstrom is the only fighter on this list to win as an underdog. He also followed the path of so many other MMA prospects, going from underrated to overrated in a matter of one fight. After submitting Niinimaki, he became a massive favorite against Wilkinson. Then MMA’s unpredictability reared its head as he was knocked out in just 79 seconds. MMA: UFC 173-Varner vs Krause3. Jamie Varner (0-3) -7.8U

-115 vs. Abel Trujillo -215 vs. James Krause -450 vs. Drew Dober

Well, we know for certain that Jamie Varner won’t be here next year, as he announced his retirement following his third loss of 2014. Two of those defeats came due to in-fight injuries, and the third was a brutal knockout – the first of his career. Although just 30, Varner has seen more than his fair share of wars in his MMA career, and even more injuries. It was time for him to find his way out of active competition, it’s just a shame that it couldn’t have been under better circumstances than 2014 heaped upon him. 2. Eddie Wineland (1-1) -8.35U

-500 vs. Yves Jabouin (Win) -935 vs. Johnny Eduardo

Former bantamweight title challenger Wineland was another 135er who was overvalued in his 2014 bouts. First, Jabouin gave him a tougher test than expected before Wineland emerged victorious. Then, Eduardo pulled off the second-biggest upset in all of MMA at his expense. Wineland has yet to have a fight booked since that loss, but chances are we won’t see him as heavily favored as he was last year. 1. Ronny Markes (0-1) -8.4U

-840 vs. Thiago Santos

It almost seems fitting that a list like this would be capped by a fighter who was already forced from the UFC. Ronny Markes started his time in the Octagon with three straight wins before running into Yoel Romero at the end of 2013. There was no shame in that loss, but his next performance was inexcusable. After leaving his training camp to spend time with his family and subsequently coming in overweight for his fight against Thiago Santos, he went out and got stopped very quickly, sealing his fate with the organization, and solidifying him as the UFC’s least profitable fighter of 2014.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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