To be more interesting, we decided to split all conspiracy theories in sports and present you the top 3 theories of the last century. Have in mind that many of them you will find in the famous book “The 25 Greatest Sports Conspiracy Theories of All-Time”, which you can easily find on Amazon. In this article, you will encounter historical and modern theories, so be prepared and expect the unexpected.
Conspiracy Theories in Sports – Football
Football is the most famous and widespread sports game across the whole world. In some countries, people believe and value football teams more than God. Yes, football is a religion of many men and even women nowadays. There are many professional sports conspiracy theories of football, but not all could be explained while others are already revealed, take a look at the top 3 conspiracy theories in football.
Argentina 1990 World Cup & the Holy Water
This is a story which was already proven and even admitted by the Argentinian football superstar Diego Maradona. As in every team game, each player has its position, and it covers someone from the opposite team. Well, the heavy task of covering Maradona was given to the Brazilian guard Claudio Leal also known as Branco. This is one of the big conspiracy theories in sports that was proved, see how.
After the game, Branco accused the Argentinian team of drugging him but ever since Brazil got already three world cups at this time, the accusations were not taken seriously. Branco claimed that during the game a man, part of the Argentina team passed him a bottle of water and that made him feel dizzy, but nobody believed him at that point. Fifteen years later FIFA re-opened the case, and Maradona admitted that that bottle of water was dosed with tranquillisers. Still, the Argentinian Football Association refused to admit about knowing anything about this.
1998 World Cup – Brazil VS France Final
World cup 1998 will be remembered with the rivalry between Brazil and France and the two major football stars of the year Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, also known as Ronaldo. The fact the Ronaldo took the golden ball for best player in 1997, while Zidane was awarded the same in 1998, placed more even more tension between the two teams. This is one of the best football matches of that year.
The pressure was also coming from the fact that Brazil took the world cup in 1994 and they were supposed to defend the title of world champions. Meanwhile, in the Brazilian team, the most famous and skilful player on the field was Ronaldo, and all hopes laid on him. Several hours before the match, Ronaldo fell on the ground with trouble breathing and a seizure, described as a scary scene by his teammates. Ronaldo was immediately taken to the hospital and returned to its team just 40 minutes before the final match.
The doctors stated that he was okay and nothing about the previous seizure was mentioned. When the final match started, it was evident that the top Brazilian player was clearly not okay. He was not concentrated, slow and sloppy. The game was ruled by the French teams, while the Brazilian loss was tremendous.
Later on, doctors believed that this was a result of the extended treatment of the many football injuries with Voltaren pills, which could deliver stomach pain and such symptoms but no seizures. But why did Ronaldo play and what made the medics state that he was okay? Well, it is suspected that the brand Nike is involved in this because they invested millions in commercials and other adverts related to Ronaldo that year. So it is suspected that they threatened him that they would end his contract if he did not play in the final match. It is a fact that now or then, television or internet commercials and the money flow from the advertisement and sales are what makes the world turn around.
Mussolini & The Italian World Cup in 1934
As you probably know, in 1934, the world cup happened to be organised in Italy during the leadership of Benito Mussolini, known for his fascist vision. Back then, propaganda and national treasures were the things that pushed nations forwards into their development, the usage of people to idolise them and make them national society examples. Mussolini knew that sports were what could make the nation feel more confident and prouder. This is why he decided to use it as a tool in his political games.
Mussolini knew that if Italy won the world cup, that would lift the national spirit, therefore it is said that he started requiting players from all around the world from 1930, right after the previous football world cup. Mostly known players from South American countries like Argentina and Uruguay because they both showed the best potential during the last two world cups.
The example of Luis Felipe Monti is very real, Mussolini sent him many death threats, and several years later Monti agreed to play for Italy, being the first football player in history to compete for two different countries. In the next world cup in 1934, Italy became the champion that Mussolini wanted.
Professional Sports Conspiracy Theories of UFC/MMA
MMA is a respectfully new sport with very controversial and bloody start as a ruthless and non-controlled fight in which only the toughest survive. Through the years the game evolved significantly, and nowadays it is a real sport with clear rules. Through the years, we were witnesses to many bold actions and schemes, some of which we will investigate now. Here are the differences between Boxing and MMA.
UFC/MMA Weight Difference & the Match of Nick Diaz & Geoger Pierre
This is a scandal that occurred at the UFC 158, where the commission, the government representatives and many others were blamed for manipulating the weight scale. That came under the spotlights after the main fight between Nick Diaz and George St. Pierre. Nick Diaz revealed a video how a UFC executive explains that decimals are made in favour of players and that it is possible for George to be overweighed for this match. The worst is that it was apparent that this was a practice and because of it, Nate Diaz even filed a formal complaint against the commission. When they asked George Pierre about his weight at the scale, he said he doesn’t remember, but it could be 0.4 above the limit. After all, none of this was proven with real facts, so up to this date, we still don’t know which players were able to take advantage of this scheme.
Connor McGregor Staging the Bus Attack On Khabib Nurmagomedov
This sports conspiracy theory is of course not proven, but many media and online fans including Khabib himself believe that the whole scene could have been staged. Of course, most of the MMA sports conspiracy theories regarding this attack conclude that this was a trick to hype the public and increase the interest towards the fight with Nurmagomedov even more.
At one of the interviews, Khabib said that he was 70% sure that the whole scene was staged because of several side facts that he saw. First, he was told to come to the press conference with little or no entourage. Second, he claimed the bus driver was out of his sense at this moment. The third factor for Khabib to think it was all staged was because of the presence of many cameras at the very moment of the scene. We cannot say if this is false or true, but it sounds, and it looks plausible.
Yakuza forbit UFC in Japan
It is no secret that Dana White had issues with the Japanese mafia because of the ownership over the Pride Fighting Championship or the Japan version of UFC. In 2007 it was stated that the league wanted to be an entirely separated tournament not associated with the UFC
In the presence of such a big crime syndicate, you cannot establish a large business and get massive income without them knowing. Dana White himself and other sportsmen also confirmed that it is difficult to do business with Yakuza. Therefore UFC was totally pushed out of the fighting market in Japan and Asia.
Sports Conspiracy Theories of NBA
From all professional sports conspiracy theories, the most controversial ones are maybe these of the NBA. The truth is that there are many of them and there are rumours about draft manipulations and other schemes which date since the mid-60s of the previous century. Today we will overview some more modern sports conspiracy theories of NBA.
Mike Jordan Food Poisoning on the NBA Finals in 1997
This is another of the classical and long-discussed conspiracy theories in sports where many things just don’t add up. In 1997 NBA Finals, Michael Jordan decided to skip the match while the official version was that he had a flu. But there are two more versions of the same story and they both make sense, but nobody can say for sure except Mike. This one you can find in the book “The 25 Greatest Sports Conspiracy Theories of All-Time”.
It is known that Michael Jordan is a party fan, and during the years he was partying a lot without any limits. He was suspected of going on the court with a hangover, and this is one of the possible explanations of this conspiracy theory in sports. Mike didn’t want to disappoint the public because it was the 5th match of the season and the score of the team was 2:2 at that point.
His trainer and team decided to go with another version, and that was food poisoning. But their version sounds a bit ridiculous because they claim that they ordered pizza at 2 AM and it was delivered by five guys, which looks suspicious. Mike was the only one who ate from the pizza. They claim that Jordan was poisoned on purpose by the five shady delivery guys.
2014 NBA Final – Lebrond Musscle Cramps
This happened relatively soon in 2014, and some people definitely believe that this theory is real. They think that the Spurs suddenly switched the air conditioner off because they knew Lebrond has a weak spot for muscle cramps. Between 2009 and 2014 he appeared with heavy leg cramps three times in 3 different matches. This sports conspiracy theory cannot be proved, but many fans and players do believe that it is a possibility because air conditions don’t suddenly break before season finals.
Cleveland Cavaliers & the 2016 NBA Draft Pick
The 69ners were several times suspected in rigging the draft since their chance of winning was very controversial through the years of 2011-2015. Then in 2016, the big lie was revealed to the public thanks to the mistake of Dikembe Mutombo. Dikembe blew the scheme and tried to come up with a ridiculous story, but it was evident that he was told about the draft pick hours before. Dikembe decided to post on social media his congrats to the Cleveland Cavaliers for their draft pick, but he didn’t realise it was 4 hours before the official NBA draft pick live on TV. This was one of the many cases but maybe the most obvious one that the NBA draft is rigged.
Sports Conspiracy Theories of NFL
The American football league does not fall far from the tree because it is the second most controversial sport when it comes to secrets, tests, and shady business. Now you will get familiar with the top 3 NFL conspiracy theories. Don’t leave with some wrong impression there are great NFL players that are playing without any extras, and you should know about them.
NFL & The Concussions
Well, this appears to be far from all conspiracy theories in sports because it was proved over the years that frequent concussions cause many side effects, even loss of sense and mental issues. The doctor called Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu, and his work proved in 2002 that frequent concussions lead to sustainable brain damage which could cost the life of the sportsmen and their families if they go mentally unstable. Will Smith played a role in the movie Concussion (2015) based on the true story of Bennet Omalu and his fight with the NFL and the huge money machine which prefers to hide the illness of its players.
Many pieces of research about the chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) were conducted since 1994 when this came across for the first time as a medical subject. After the movie in 2015, a wave of dissatisfaction came from the public towards NFL and the idea of hiding such explicit information for the health of the players.
NFL & Drug Tests
Well, given the NFL hides scary concussion facts, it is not a surprise that they are also suspected of manipulating the drug tests. This does not surprise anyone, especially if we take under consideration the formidable size of the players in any team. After all, American football is one brutal and rough sport in which you can get injured very easily.
The presence of more anabolics and other enhancing drugs which increase your physical capabilities are restricted first because they are dangerous for the health of the players and secondly because this is a simple cheat. Nowadays everything is way more strictly controlled, but after all, the NFL continues to be famous for its dirty stories.
The Famous Mobster Jimmy Hoffa & His Body
Now the legend about the body of Jimmy Hoffa, the famous mobster. Up to this date, nobody knows where his body is after he disappeared in 1975. Many people believe that his remains were buried under the Giants Stadium in New York. He was officially stated dead in 1982 and counted as one of the many mafia hits. But after all, Jimmy Hoffa was a legend across the states for several decades because he was one of the few old school mobsters that lived to see their 60’s.
Conspiracies Around Sports Celebrities & Legends
At last, we decided to turn more attention to some more personal sports conspiracy theories related to celebrities in different sports. Some of them might sound delusional or a pure coincidence but, who knows? We will leave you to decide what is real and what is supernatural.
Michael Jordan Gambling Issues
Yes, it is weird that Michael Jordan retired three times from the sport and the first one was extremely suspicious. There are several stories and explanations for it, but during the years the gambling issues seems to be the most logical explanation of what happened back then.
Some people say that apart from his gambling issues, he took the death of his father very heavily in 1993 and that led him to a dark place for some time. But there is much evidence that he was hooked up with gambling even before that. For example, there was a booking holding a cheque from Mike at the value of $57,000, and Mike admitted it in front of the court. In 1993 Mike was spotted in a casino which led to the NBA investigation. But right after his retirement, they dropped the case.
Arron Ramsey Killshots
Well, this is one of the weirdest and most supernatural sports conspiracy theory of all presented today. Nobody can explain these sad coincidences, but every time Arron Ramsey scored a goal, someone famous dies.
The first time when this occurred was I 2009 when he scored and the famous politician Ted Kennedy passed away. In 2011 he did score again and the music legend Whitney Huston died the same day. The next victim of his curse was the Fast & Furious legend Paul Walker on the 30th of November 2013. Next in line was the well known Robin Williams who passed away right after Arron Ramsey scored against Manchester City in August 2014. This is not over, there are more names like David Bowie and Allan Rickman. Probably its all a pure coincidence but after all, it sounds spooky.
Muhammad Alli Vs Sonny Liston – The Phantom Punch
We believe that there is not a single sports fan that doesn’t know who Muhammad Ali is. Therefore, we decided to end this professional sports conspiracy theories article with this legend and his second match with Sonny Liston and the famous “phantom punch”.
There is even a Muhammad Ali punch explanation video that you can check. This famous theory is also part of the book “The 25 Greatest Sports Conspiracy Theories of All-Time”.
In his video, you will be able to see how exactly the punch works and it could clear out the smoke around this sports conspiracy theory that has bothered many since 1965. Many say that Liston was drowning in debts with the mob and he needed to lose the match.
Asking questions is what has pushed humankind forward in its development since the beginning of time. Seeking knowledge is what make us better, but nowadays everything is simple. Therefore, just to be easier for you, we gathered all questions related to sports conspiracy theories, or let’s say the most frequently asked ones.
? Which sport has the most conspiracy theories?
Well, this is a question from the highest complexity because there are many sports all around the world. But from a historical perspective, that should be the NBA. There are many NBA conspiracies about the draft picks and many other details around the players, the game, the referees and the commission itself.
? Are there any MMA sports conspiracy theories?
For every new sport, there are many speculations before certain rules are set up. The truth is that such sports evolve with the years with proper management. There are many MMA sports conspiracy theories that will blow your mind. But have in mind that most of these practices are restricted nowadays by the rules of the sport.
? Which is the strangest sports conspiracy theory?
The one that we think of is the Arron Ramsey curse, or at least that’s how people call it. Arron Ramsey is a famous football player and considered a bad omen because every time he strikes a goal, a world celebrity somewhere around the world dies.
? Are there any boxing sports conspiracy theories?
The truth is that there are not that many boxing conspiracy theories maybe because the sport is quite hard to cheat and also because its history dates back years. But of course you can still find some related to boxing legends like Muhammad Ali.
? Are there any historical conspiracy theories in sports?
Of course, there are, war heroes and sportsmen are used to idolising personalities and use the propaganda to inspire the common people and give them entities to follow and admire. This was the case of the Mussolini’s sports conspiracy in 1930’s. When he desperately wanted his football team to win the next world cup championship.