Ferguson Delivers Profane Response To Reporter
Tony Ferguson did not appreciate getting asked about his mental health issues on Friday night.
Ferguson was taking part in the UFC 249 press conference opposite Khabib Nurmagomedov in Las Vegas. It was a heated and personal press conference with both lightweights exchanging barbs and insults.
Cageside Press reporter Rodney James also received some heat when he was — albeit, complimentarily — proceeding to ask Ferguson about his mental health issues last year.
“You seem to be in really great spirits,” James said. “I commend you for going head first into some mental health issues and working through that. It takes a lot of courage, as a professional athlete, especially a lot of people look up to you.”
Ferguson cut him off by responding with a “f*ck you” before later saying, “f*ck the advice, next question.”
That moment has since been highly-debated among the combat sports world. Did Ferguson go too far in his response? Or was James in the wrong by bringing up a personal topic Ferguson may not have wanted to talk about, especially in front of his opponent?
James — an army veteran who has dealt with those same issues — later claimed that he and Ferguson have spoken about the topic in the past with the pair having always been cool.
“I said, ‘Look, man. I know you’ve gone through some struggles. I’ve got your back. I know what it’s like. Don’t ever feel like you’re alone in this fight.’ I kind of toed the line a little bit,” James told MMA Junkie about a conversation he had with Ferguson last year. “… Right after I said that, he looked at me and said, ‘Man, I really appreciate that, brother. That means a lot.’ We shook hands and bro-hugged. Everything was all gravy.”
“… The next thing I was going to say (to Tony at the press conference) was, ‘If there’s anybody who looks up to you who struggles with similar issues, what advice would you give them? Because you seem to have really worked through a lot of that stuff here and now – and that shows a lot of courage. It shows you’ve done a lot of work on yourself.’ He didn’t let me get there.”
James also took to Twitter about the issue where he maintains he had the best intentions.
Although he would like an apology, James also acknowledged he wished he saw previous interviews where Ferguson stated he did not want to talk about his mental health issues.
What do you make of the incident?