Everyone knows that sticks and stones break bones, but - thankfully - we live in an era when words, too, are understood to be harmful, for the people they are directed at, and for society at large. In short, there is stuff you can't say.
In one way and another, tt has been true for a while in fight sports.
Emile Griffith and Benny 'Kid' Paret fought three times in the early 60s. The first time, Griffith took Paret's welterweight world champion title. In the second fight, Paret took it back.
At the weigh ins for the second fight, the Cuban-born Paret slapped Griffith with a limp wrirst, and called him "Maricon" the Spanish street slang equivalent of "faggot." Griffith vowed that if Paret ever taunted him again in that manner, they would fight right there.
At the weigh ins for the third and final fight, Paret did it again. And that night, Griffith beat him to death in the ring.
Pre fight trash talk is awesome, it gets asses in seats and makes everyone money. But there are lines that should not be crossed, and Roy Nelson crossed one in an interview with Ariel Helwani.
On Monday in an earlier interview with Bleacher Report, Nelson revealed that before he was matched up with Stipe Miocic at UFC 161, a few other fighters had turned down the fight.
"There's definitely guys that called me out and turned down fights," said Nelson. "I guess all the big wigs, who you can think of. I think D.C. (Daniel Cormier) was one of them."
Cormier responded that he did not turn down the fight, but rather could not be medically cleared to fight in time. Cormier added that he wanted Nelson to be his last fight at heavyweight, before he drops to lightheavy with an eye on fighting Jon Jones for the title.
"I want Roy Nelson," said Cormier on UFC Tonight. "I want to kick his ass. I want to kick his ass for Dana White."
Helwani brought up Cormier's remarks with Nelson, and Nelson drove off a verbal cliff.
"Having a lot of black friends, they would say that would be more of an Uncle Tom move," said Nelson.
When pushed on the statement, Nelson laughed.
"That's what my friends were saying," said Nelson. "And I was just like 'wow!' Hey it is what it is. You gotta do what you can do for the boss."
At the media scrum earlier today UFC president Dana White said even if Nelson gets by Miocic on Saturday, he still won't get a title shot.
"If he beats Stipe, he's not next in line," said White, as transcribed by MMAJunkie. "This is his last fight, and this is why he's on this card. We had to get him this fight before his contract expires in July. So we'll see what happens."
"Roy Nelson knocked out Cheick Kong with a punch to the neck. The guy hits hard, he's got an unbelievable chin, his wrestling is great and he's a great jiu-jitsu guy. Grooming? Not so well. Watching his weight? Not great. But everywhere else ... people love him because he's a fighter and he'll go out there and fight anybody. He took this fight, didn't know who he was going to fight. He's a guy who will go out and fight and try to knock your head off, and that's what fans love.
"And they probably love him because I don't."
"If he wins, he's going to say all kinds of stupid s---. That's what we're used to. I'm used to him saying stupid s---. Is it ever easy to negotiate with Roy Nelson? If he loses Saturday, he'll be tough to deal with. If he loses five in a row, he'll be tough to deal with."
Whatever happens, Nelson will not get an immediate UFC title shot. There will not be a great deal of surprise if he doesn't even have a job with the UFC.
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