The concept of making some noise in MMA seems to have finally taking off as we are witnessing an increase in fighter’s, who have taken it upon themselves, to raise some awareness of their own brand and identity. Mind you, some acts have been positive, while others … not so much.
I have told the ‘make some noise’ story many times. It is not a concept new to to MMA, prize fighting or professional wrestling, but one that only a small few have been able to grasp. During a week spent with the legendary Jim Ross for an event I worked for in Oklahoma City, Chael Sonnen and I were in awe of the incomparable wrestling legend.
Good Ol’ JR explained to various fighters that we were interviewing the importance of ‘making some noise’. Their fighting skills and in-cage performances were just one of the many pieces of the overall puzzle required to get recognized by the masses. The importance of what they did outside of the fighting realm was key. An intangible that could pay massive dividends during their career.
Chael Sonnen was a perfect example. He used his words far more than his MMA skills to generate a brand that was synonymous with “The Bad Guy”, the heel, etc. No matter what he did and no matter what he said, you wanted to see Sonnen fight.
Before Chael there was the likes of Tito Ortiz and Frank Trigg. Nowadays, many are in awe of Conor McGregor, whose every word and action is magnified across all of our consumable viewing platforms.
Lately, it’s the likes of Colby Covington, who seems to have the biggest bulls eye on his back. A target that every welterweight seems to want to zone in and smash. For context, more fighters want a piece of Colby than of the division’s champion Tyron Woodley.
Colby’s persona, actions and words have even drawn the disdain of fighters in other divisions. Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum recently threw a boomerang at him in Sydney.
Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones got into a Twitter battle with the American Top Team welterweight. Heck, even members of ATT have voiced their displeasure with Covington.
A few weeks earlier, everyone in the 170 lbs weight class had their scopes focussed on Darren Till, after he disposed of Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in the first round. Mike ‘Platinum’ Perry was cage side. Insanity during the post-fight interview. It was fantastic stuff to see … until Covington did his post-fight interview in Brazil, that has since sent shock waves in the industry, the effects thereof that are still being felt today.
A milder case was Kamaru Usman, whose post-fight interview after his most recent stoppage victory informed the world that he ‘was a problem’ in the division, and no one wanted to fight him. He told Fightful MMA that even Covington turned down a bout with him.
There are other examples we can all dissect and debate, but it continues to be proof positive that what Good Ol’ JR valiantly professed that week in Oklahoma continues to stand the test of time. What fighters do in the cage/ring is one thing (and winning is important) but it’s as if winning comes second to wit, chaos and drama.
While a segment of the MMA fanbase despises this type of behaviour and nonsense, I for one enjoy every minute of it. Stick a camera and/or microphone in the faces of the likes of the aforementioned parties as well as your Michael Bisping’s, Nick and Nate Diaz, etc … and you will have my undivided attention.
The have all somewhat perfected the art of putting the bull’s eye squarely in between their shoulder blades. And I’m pretty sure their bank accounts are thanking them every day.