Mixed martial arts can elevate the human character and soul, if approached properly. However, mutual respect and dignity do not put asses in seats, and therefore dollars in the purse. Trash talk does.
Nova Uniao founder Andre Pederneiras, who is enormously respected for his honorable approach to character building, recently spoke with Brazil's Combate about the dilema.
"People have to understand that there are two side now in the MMA of today, mostly in the UFC: the sporty side and the business side," said Pederneiras, as translated by Fernando Arbex for BE. "I've always learned and passed to all my athletes that you have to respect your opponent, even if you have beat the hell out of him. You always have to be polite and treat him in the best way. But this model is not attractive for the business side. You see people having title shots by talking a lot. I can say that it's wrong? I can't. By the business side, it's absolutely right. By the sporty side, it's wrong. As as coach and professor, I don't want to see my fighter doing trash talking and have altercations with other guys. I want him to be a UFC champion, but also be a good person, to be polite and learn things for the rest of his life. However, we'll have a meeting here to talk about the business side. We are in a dilemma. You have to enter in a fight thinking about the show or other guys will pass you."
"About 10 or 12 years ago, I had a talk with my athletes. We were a Jiu-Jitsu gym and were going to become a MMA team. I told them this: 'If you just took your opponents down and don't do stand up fighting, no organization will want to have you. Nobody wants to watch a guy that just does grappling, sometimes having a submission and sometimes not. In this market, the American market, people want to watch striking. You can takedown your opponent but also trade punches with him.' We have invested in training to avoid being taking down and to strike for a long time. This meeting that I will have with them is to say that the market doesn't want you to just trade punches with your opponent, but also that you talk a lot of s--- about your rival to to get everybody's attention. We didn't want this, but it sells good and financially will be nice for the fighters."
The day after this interview was published, UFC featherweight champion and Nova Uniao product Jose Aldo shoved Chad Mendes at a media event.
The fault lies not with the fighters who trash talk, or with coaches who remind their fighters that over hyping a fight is good for business. The fault, if there is one, is with us. We human fight fans are driven to watch a fight more if there is bad blood and juvenile behavior leading up to to it.
So what are you thinking about Aldo vs. Mendes?
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