Fighter social networking needs Unified Rules

Friday, May 04, 2012

We live in the dawn of a new era in which the lines between personal and private are ever increasingly becoming blurred. Social networks and above all Twitter are invaluable tools for building a personal brand and with it professional gain.

But they are also windows into all the quirkiness that is being a human being – the rages and the gaffes and the stupidity that at times are a part of each of us. Human beings wear clothes for more than warmth. We wear clothes because if everyone walked around naked, it wouldn’t be pretty.

So too with Twitter. Not everything a human being feels under stress should be shared with the world, archived for all time.

During 1968 Democratic National Convention, war protesters who understood the power of television, taunted the attacking members of the Chicago police force with the chant “the whole world is watching.”

Now the whole world is watching nearly everything, forever.

During a hearing in March before the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Mo Lawal took offense at questions put to him by NSAC commissioner Pat Lundvall. When the hearing ended he opened his phone, typed “racist b—” among other things, and hit Tweet.

Lawal deleted the tweet in short order, but like all things digital and public, it is around now for ever, tattoed somewhere on his career – the fighter that got fired for calling a commissioner a racist b—-. His future is unknown.

Miguel Torres was fired for tweeting a joke about a “Rape Van.” He was later rehired.

Tim Kennedy will likely not win any ZUFFA Twitter creativity bonus awards with tweets like:
“If you want me to mentally rape your mind you need to watch this video.”
“Is it wrong that I honk and wave at Mormons as they ride by on their bikes trying to get them to crash?”
And replying to a question about killing celebrity zombies with the reply-
“all the cast members of the Jersey shore, and the Kardashian family. Shotgun”

Yesterday there were fan suggestions that Yves Edwards might face sanction for an amusing quip about hookers and coke.

In response to this and to major UFC sponsor Anheuser-Busch questioning athlete behavior, UFC President Dana White is putting together a fighter summit to address the issue, perhaps as soon as a month from now.

There is a great danger that MMA becomes like other mainstream sports, where the public face of the athletes is a complete contrivance, with the authenticity of Ronald McDonald. Mixed Martial Arts is literally as real as it gets, and not coincidentally the athletes are too. So too is White, who is himself not above telling a belligerent fan to “go f— yourself.”

There is a profound beauty in the honest and raw nature of mixed martial arts and the people in it, but it needs a little bit of tempering. Each prominent athlete in the sport needs the social networking equivalent of 4 oz. gloves and no attacks the groin, but not more than that or we lose the heart of the sport which is reality and truth.