Folowing a win over Antonio 'Mandingo' McKee at UFC 125, Jacob Volkmann was asked the standard question: Who do you want to fight next? His reply was anything but standard, naming the "idiot" Barack Obama as the next guy he wanted to meet inside the cage.
That earned him a visit from the Secret Service two days later, two weeks of (forced but paid) leave from his job, a reprimand from the high school where he works as an assistant wrestlng coach, and a vast amount of bad press, in a sport that as yet remains just outside of the mainstream.
Volkmann apologized and moved on. Then last night post fight in the Octagon, Volkmann asked Joe Rogan if he could say two things.
Rogan obliged and his first statement was fine and predictable, a challenge to the UFC Lightweight champion. "Frankie, work on your takedown defense. I'm coming and I'm taking you down."
Volkmann's next statement may have been predictable given his history, but it was not fine.
"Obama needs a glassectomy," said Volkmann. "Ask me what a glassectomy is, Joe," said Volkmann. Rogan asked, and Volkmann continued.
"It's where they remove the belly button and put a piece of glass in there so you can see what you're doing while your head's up your ass."
The crowed was not impressed. Rogan gave Volkmann a look like Volkmann was again making strange and unfortunate remarks about the President.
When Volkmann exited the Octagon and was interviewed by Ariel Helwani, he was wearing a Volkmann for President tee. "This is my shirt," Volkmann explained. "After I called out Obama, I thought it would be kinda funny, to make my own shirt."
Then Volkmann took exception to Rogan.
"I thought Joe Rogan would laugh a little more. He kind of ruined it for me ... He ruined it. I wanted to punch him in the nuts ... I think he's a Democrat even though I know he's not."
Volkmann went on to give a solid interview, covering nearly going out from Escudero's choke, Dana's lockerroom speech on who gets title shots, and more. His insightful remarks are entirely overshadowed however, by his weird ones.
Volkmann explained, sort of. "I'm sorry if I was too disrespectful (to Excudero who he had referred to pre fight as a "disrespectful punk"). This is a very disrespectful sport. You almost have to say what is on your mind, and be honest. That's what I'm trying to do ... I get a chance to say what's on my mind, and I'm doing it."
Volkmann spoke compellingly about what how far out of reach a title shot is.
"In the back room, when Dana White talks to us ... He goes 'Donald Cerrone, the only reason he gets his chance is because he finishes fights. You other guys, you need to learn how to finish fights, or you won't get a chance'. I felt like that was aimed right at me. It is. I'm not fnishing fights."
If Volkmann, who has now won five in a row, all by decision, wants to move his career in the UFC forward, he indeed needs to work on finishing fights. He also needs to work on not being weird in interviews.
MMA at the highest levels in a sport, but it is also entertainment. This is not the Olympics guided by an army of not for profit bureacrats. The UFC is a business, guided by two men with billionaire's instincts for how mixed martial arts needs to be presented to the public.
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