While mixed martial arts is undoubtedly a sport, it’s unique because of the UFC’s pay-per-view format and the need to promote fighters as interesting characters outside of the fact they beat people up for a living.
Needless to say, when half of your job is selling tickets sometimes the things that come out of one’s mouth can have many intended purposes or meanings and could/should be interpreted with that in mind.
Knowing that, the intention of this article is to pull recent quotes from those engrained in the MMA community and break them down a little more in depth.
Obviously, these are my own opinions as I can’t speak on behalf the individuals who made these statements… but I can certainly try to read between the lines.
In this our second installment we look at the Freakshow’s UFC release, Melvin Guillard’s views on former training partners the Blackzilains, and Daniel Cormier’s response to Frank Mir’s thirst to “take a limb home” with him.
Here’s what people are really saying…
1. Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes runner-up Colin Fletcher announces his release from the UFC via his Twitter account on Monday.
What he said: “Is it just me or does cut after 1 official UFC fight seam a little harsh I know I didn’t perform my best ! Neva mind…(Photo of a mattress with “Nothing Really Mattress” written on it)”.
What he’s really saying: “I fly from England to come overseas and fight someone in his hometown who just competed on TUF in a weight class above me and I get cut for losing a decision? All this after I was far and away the most entertaining character on the TUF: Smashes, two markets you’re trying to build recognizable stars in? That ain’t right.”
What that means: Life for The Ultimate Fighter contestants certainly isn’t what it used to be.
Back in the early seasons of the reality show fighters could bank on getting a couple cracks inside the Octagon once their time in the house was completed because so much time had been invested into getting them on television. The UFC needed new recognizable fighters to promote and fans saw these guys on television every week. With 17 seasons under its belt, usually producing two annually, TUF just doesn’t create stars like it once did for a multitude of reasons. Contestants need to realize that participating on the show isn’t as sure-fire a way to begin a UFC career as it has been in the past, so pick your opponents wisely… you may only get one.
2. UFC lightweight Melvin Guillard explains why he thinks his former training partners at the Blackzilians camp in Boca Raton, Fla., have struggled as of late on MMAFighting.com’s The MMA Hour on Monday.
What he said: “If you really look at the roster of fighters on that team, like if you were to present me with a name list, I would pick that team over anybody. They would smash any team in the country right now, but I just don’t think they have that chemistry. Fighting and training isn’t just about having sparring partners and beating each other’s heads in, that’s only going to get you so far. You have to have a chemistry, a vibe with people… I can’t speak for everyone but there’s just some bad mojo down there.”
What he’s really saying: “I hated it there. It’s a team of individuals.”
What that means: In this case you’d probably be best to take this for where it’s coming from. Let’s not forget this is the same Guillard who upon leaving the Blackzilians announced he’d be returning to Greg Jackson’s camp only to be told he’s not welcome.
There’s likely some truth in what Guillard is saying; I mean he was recently a part of the Blackzilians camp while disliking it so the possibility of similar situations existing is real, but given his erratic behaviour it’s hard to decipher how much of it.
3. Heavyweight Daniel Cormier responds to Frank Mir’s threat to “take a limb home” with him in their UFC on FOX 7 bout later this month during a conference call for the event on Tuesday.
What he said: “I’m not going to fight with any emotion, there’s nothing Frank can say about me that’s going to make me fight a fight that’s more dangerous. I really don’t know, I’ve stated time and time again that there’s only a select few individuals who have taken the beatings Frank has taken and all this stuff and still continue to be the way he is.”
What he’s really saying: “Oh, you’re going to take one of my limbs? The same guy who has been on the highlight reel of every UFC champion in recent memory? You’ve trashed talked before Frank and it never seems to work out. It won’t now, either.”
What that means: Probably nothing good for Frank Mir.
Mir has been in the game for a long time. If you don’t believe me, just ask him. He’s had a successful career inside the cage as a two-time UFC heavyweight champion, and he has proven himself to be a well-spoken interesting character outside of it.
Cormier, who is just being introduced to UFC fans, has shown huge upside inside the cage with his victories over Antonio (Bigfoot) Silva and Josh Barnett. What we haven’t seen a great deal of is how he deals with all the media attention away from it.
In the small doses we have seen he comes off as a quiet, humble, articulate dude. Nothing wrong with that, despite what Chael Sonnen may or may not have convinced you of. The fact that Cormier threw a little barb back at Mir indicates he’s either going to insert more personality into his character upon his UFC arrival, or that he’s simply just that confident he’s going to take out Mir.
My money is on the latter.
Ryan Young is a regular contributor to Sportsnet.ca’s MMA section. Follow him on Twitter @YoungRyan4.