The art of the staredown


Generally speaking a fight is decided in the cage, not on the stage at a press conference or at a weigh-in, but a stare down can tell us a lot about a fight:

Nobody can quite remember when staredowns became a major part of the UFC's hype machine. Back in 2001, shortly after Zuffa bought the company, opposing fighters weren’t even required to stand in front of each other after weighing in. Some would shake hands, others would walk off to a neutral corner of the stage before parting for fight night. Most times, the main event fighters would come out first and the proceedings would make their way backwards. It was an event with no focus, no build and no crescendo.

If there was a single turning point, it probably came at UFC 40, when Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock took things to their logical conclusion. Partly because there was a real rivalry, partly because they both understood showmanship, the two created a tension that felt dangerous, like it was about to boil over at any second. They couldn't even wait to get face to face before having words, doing so at the pre-fight press conference. The next night after weighing in, the two faced off with referee John McCarthy between them. Ortiz, bouncing on the balls of his feet, jawed at Shamrock, who waited a few seconds before lurching forward. McCarthy intercepted him before he could get to Ortiz, but the moment was electric, helping the promotion double their usual pay-per-view buyrate and do a record box-office gate.

After all this time, the moment when fighters square off for the first time still holds the same appeal. After days of cutting calories and water, they are tired and on edge, and a single gesture can ignite the powder keg. The official function of the event may be to weigh in, but the real attraction is the staredown.

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Recent Comments »

Rouseys mole site profile image  

3/5/14 7:48 PM by Rouseys mole

I pop a boner when I stare at men

BJ Penn is Irish site profile image  

3/5/14 7:16 PM by BJ Penn is Irish

Damn, that's the one, VU!

Yussarian site profile image  

3/5/14 3:12 PM by Yussarian

Good read. Diaz, Wandy, and Sanchez are the best in the game!

jude099 site profile image  

3/5/14 12:19 PM by jude099

| source:"If a fighter gets under his opponents skin, it is the equivalent of getting the plague."."The best when it comes to the staredown is Fedor Emelianenko. Watch him: he does not make eye contact and his entire expression is extremely relaxed - you would think he is about to perform a ballet or something."But here is the crucial thing. When the referee tells them to head back to their corners, Fedor suddenly darts a short look directly at his opponent - or through his opponent, I should say."This kind of look is associated with antisocial behavioural disorders and psychopaths. They don't look at you, they look through you. It's emotionless, it goes deeper than skin level."You will get a lot of fighters who will catch that look and suddenly realise they don't want to be there."Wanderlei Silva has a stare-down that makes you think 'this is gonna hurt', but Fedor's makes you think 's---, I might die'."Dr Joe Bell, Pyschologist Mind Games: Psychological Warfare in MMA,Fighters Only magazine, issue 56

buckshot44 site profile image  

3/5/14 10:52 AM by buckshot44

Page 1! Great thread, you get my one and only VTFU for the day.

Ilikebjj site profile image  

3/5/14 7:36 AM by Ilikebjj


Bobby Lupo site profile image  

3/5/14 7:15 AM by Bobby Lupo

Wand had all those Japanese cans thinking, what the fuck am I doing here?

Arlovskis Chin site profile image  

3/5/14 6:24 AM by Arlovskis Chin

TTT sub

The Winter Soldier site profile image  

3/5/14 4:47 AM by The Winter Soldier

love these.

buddie site profile image  

3/5/14 2:34 AM by buddie

Shirley Povich, long-time sportswriter for the Washington Post credits boxer Jack Sharkey with originating the tactic of a staredown at the weigh-in for his 1927 fight with Jack Dempsey. Dempsey seemed shaken by the stare, asking his seconds "What's he doing?" - The Boxing RegisterHere is the fight. Not much to show for the staredown as it appears Dempsey is looking away to his cornermen. Dempsey won by KO in the 7th. my money no one had better staredowns than Foreman except maybe his early fistic rolemodel Sonny Liston.