Once upon a time, if you wanted to become a fighter, all you needed was the willingness and skill set to train hard in a gym and climb your way up through the ranks under a good trainer. If you were able to trash talk and promote a fight then that was simply an added bonus.
One of the greatest trash talkers in the business of boxing was Muhammad Ali. Nothing was off limits for Ali who would use his charisma, good looks, and lightning fast taunts to break down his opponents, even if it involved crossing the line. You may recall Muhammad Ali calling the late Joe Frazier a ‘Gorilla’ while punching an action sized Gorilla. There were also the “Uncle Tom” jibes and references to fighters having low IQ.
Then there was Mike Tyson, who infamously told reporters in a delusional rant “I want to rip out his heart and feed it to him. I want to kill people. I want to rip their stomachs out and eat their children”. Add a conviction for rape and an ear biting incident and you had a very deranged individual competing at the highest level. Despite Dana White’s close friendship and admiration for Mike Tyson, it was many of the unpleasantries in boxing that led Dana to take the good from boxing and leave the bad behind when creating the product and brand known as the UFC.
Dana has always been a huge boxing fan but realised that sophisticated systems and regulations would need to be implemented if they had any hope of making the UFC a dominant global sporting event some day. The UFC is estimated to be valued at over 2 billion dollars and Dana White has stated that during the UFC’s rise one of his proudest moments has been the FOX Deal, aligning the sport on a major network alongside other major sporting events.
With a 2 billion dollar company at stake, along with major network alliances, investors and sponsors, it’s not surprising that the UFC management have very strict policies and guidelines in relation to fighter conduct. Last week, one of the UFC’s most recognisable personalities Nate Diaz breached UFC policy by publicly criticising Bryan Caraway on twitter, using what the UFC described as derogatory language. In response, the UFC quickly handed down a $20,000 fine and a 90 day suspension.
To some fight fans, the penalty appeared to be extremely excessive and heavy handed, while for others the penalty was justified. If the UFC policy is all about respecting community standards, it makes you ask the question as to why Jon Jones was able to escape suspension or fine from the UFC for drink driving and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle. Surely that is a graver crime than a twitter message.
You also have the Ultimate Fighter series, a house full of testosterone charged individuals were binge drinking, personal insults and vandalism are all on display, filmed and produced courtesy of the UFC. You soon start to realise that the suggestion of the UFC protecting community standards is far from consistent.
I personally don’t condone rude messages on twitter, however, considering the constant use of profanities used by Dana White in the media and the format of The Ultimate Fighter series, it’s difficult to comprehend how Nate’s comments suddenly became so offensive when they were directed at a heterosexual individual. You should also consider the consistency of UFC policy in relation to Joe Rogan’s podcast and his promotion of marijuana use and getting high. Surely this is not consistent with UFC policy. However, for Joe Rogan, nothing is off limits on his podcast, including broadcast perverted discussions on sex along with guests including Josh Barnett.
So here is your opportunity to light up the forum below and let us know how you feel about Nate’s fine and suspension by the UFC. Is this double standards at play?