Trash talk in MMA reached new levels last week in Sin City.
From homophobic slurs being thrown around by Sean Strickland to Colby Covington insulting Leon Edwards’ late father, there was no holds barred in the lead-up to UFC 296 among other events. Dricus Du Plessis and Sean O’Malley would even goes as far as bringing up Strickland’s history of being abused by his father in their seasonal press conference on Thursday.
UFC CEO Dana White has condemned trash talk regarding family, citing ‘it’s just such a nasty thing to do.’
Usman: ‘This Is Not Scripted… It’s As Real As It Gets’
While fighters like Covington may cross the line time and time again, former UFC Champion Kamaru Usman doesn’t think the responsibility falls on White to stop them from speaking their minds.
“I don’t think that’s Dana’s job,” Usman said on the PBD Podcast. “Dana is a promoter, and so his job is to promote the fights. He has a whole company that he’s looking out for. This is fight sports, it’s very difficult to tell two grown men, ‘Hey, don’t say that about this’. This is not scripted, as the motto is, it’s as real as it gets.”
Crossing The Line In Trash-Talk
While Usman has had past banter with other fighters, including Covington, he’s never been one to overstep in his words.
“Me being a man that I am and growing up the way that I grew up, I understand that there’s a limit to certain things,” Usman continued. “There’s certain boundaries and certain lines that we just don’t cross. I think that goes into just upbringing and the respect factor of just growing up in life. We understand that there’s certain things that you just don’t do.
“As I believe in war, wars wage with men. Men wage wars. It’s very difficult to, to start attacking women and children. That just is never been a thing that men do. When they say sign up for war, it’s men that sign up. We sign up and we go defend. And so the same thing with what we’re doing, because in a way we’re waging war with one another. When we do these things, you kinda know that’s what men do. We leave those out because it’s between us.
“We have to step in there and we have to take care of whatever we say we’re gonna do.”
With 2023 almost in the rear-view mirror, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ reflects on this ‘weird time in society’ where people will do just about anything to make some noise in the world.
“Nowadays, we’re in this weird time in society to where everybody wants to be seen, everybody wants to be heard. It’s information overload,” Usman said. “We have these mics, we have these phones, we have these things that just, we all wanna just be out there. People just— they’re willing to say or do anything, whether it’s men, whether it’s women willing to do and say anything, just to be seen.
“These guys are just kind of being lost in that, to where they just, I’m not gonna be seen if I don’t say this or cross that line or do this. For me, I’ve never been that kind of guy. I guess that’s kind of been a knock on me. Some people didn’t like the fact that when I’m dominating everyone, I’m not belittling them. I’m not saying this or saying that.”
The McGregor Effect
When it comes to fighters waging wars with words, Kamaru Usman pinpoints ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor for sparking a new era in fight promotion— one that sees insults fly out the wazoo.
“There wasn’t a line that McGregor wasn’t willing to cross,” Usman added. “We saw where that got him. McGregor’s probably one of the most famous mixed martial arts fighter ever. No doubt. With that, you have all these young kids now looking at that and going, ‘Oh yeah, I can just say and do whatever I wanna do that’s gonna make me famous.'”