The biggest story in MMA last weekend was undoubtedly Michael ‘Venom’ Page’s highlight reel flying knee knockout of longtime veteran Evangelista ‘Cyborg’ Santos at Bellator 158 from London, England, a shocking maneuver that broke Santos’ skull and sent the fighting community into an upheaval to help pay for his medical costs after a social media post from his ex-wife Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino.
But even before all of that transpired, Page celebrated his exciting victory with a scene that went viral, as he put on a red hat and rolled a ‘Pokeball’ at his downed and injured opponent as he lay on the mat writhing in pain.
While the ‘Pokemon Go’ reference got ‘MVP’ a lot of fame online, Santos obviously wasn’t as entertained by it. In a recent interview with MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz, Cyborg touched on his health before moving on to blast Page’s choice of celebration:
“It’s only a fracture, it didn’t hit my brain. I’m fine,” Santos said. “Actually, I didn’t even stay in the hospital. I was there for five or six hours, and then I came back to the hotel. I couldn’t fly back to the United States on Sunday, but I’ll have surgery in the United States. I’ll be back soon. Thank God I had no brain damage. I didn’t feel dizzy or anything like that. I wasn’t knocked out. I felt the pain due to the fracture. It was superficial, so it’s fine.”
Santos acknowledged that Page is no doubt a great fighter in the cage, but hasn’t acted professionally before or after his wins:
“Page proved he’s a great athlete, a skillful striker. He doesn’t have a good ground game, and that’s what I was planning on working on in the fight,” Santos said, “but he’s showing to be a douchebag because he doesn’t respect his opponents before or after the fight. He’s using bad people as influences.”
Acknowledging that Page has the ability to become a big star in MMA, Cyborg believes he’s going about it all wrong. He believes ‘MVP’ is taking a page out of Conor McGregor‘s book, and throwing things at your opponent after a win is not how a champion behaves:
“He could become a celebrity with his talent and look up to other athletes, instead of acting like this. This generation looks up to (Conor) McGregor as an influence, and it’s not what being a competitor is about. Throwing things after the fight… Honestly, he’s a clown. The way he behaves is not how a champion should behave. He’s talented, yes. He’s skillful. And he fought a great fight.”
Moving on to discuss the inherent risks of the fight game and how that ties into fighter pay and treatment – one of the hottest topics in all of MMA right now – Santos built on Mark Hunt’s recent cry to organize fighters with a heartfelt take on the situation from his point of view:
“Fighters should be united,” “Cyborg” said. “We know it’s a risky sport and everybody goes in there to literally rip someone’s head off. You have to do everything you can to hurt your opponent. We should be an organized class to be safer. It’s an ungrateful sport sometimes. You see athletes fighting for decades, and still have needs when they retire. We have hundreds of examples.
“Everybody is making money with it, except the fighters. A minority really makes a lot of money and has enough for when they retire. It’s only the minority. People should look at it more and think about it, so you can provide to your family later. The sport has grown a lot in the past 10 years, but it can be better organized, split the money in a better way. Everybody can benefit.
“We have to get united,” he continued. “We have to think about the future. There are a lot of people making money, except the fighter. That’s why I encourage my students to read. They have to think for themselves. You will think things better. The majority of fighters are puppets of this system. Unfortunately, that’s what they are. Do ‘this, this and that.’ ‘Bark, sit and roll.’ That’s not how it should work.”