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Random Rant: When Amateurs Attack

I just read a sign of the times in regard to MMA drawing new fans to the sport. In an article on BleacherReport.com, J. Michael Morris actually takes a shot at Anderson Silva for something that is just completely silly:

What in the H-E-double hockeysticks was Anderson Silva doing at the EliteXC fight on Saturday night?

Can’t he recognize a major fight?

I know there is a little translation problem, but Dana White needs to explain to him which team he is on.

There are almost no experienced challengers for UFC, but there are some dangerous up-and-coming fighters in Affliction and EliteXC.

I’m all for new fans coming into the sport and welcome them with open arms. After all, the more fans of the sport, the more potential readers of this site.

I am also in favor of newer fans writing about MMA because the media coverage of this sport needs to expand and there aren’t enough journalists to meet the demand of the audience. However, those that are new to the sport and want to write about it should spend some time researching the sport and learning about the many cultures that exist within MMA.

Maybe J. Michael Morris would have a point if Silva got on camera and gave a spoken endorsement for EliteXC. But that was hardly the case, as all that Silva did was something that’s been done since this sport’s early origins: corner a fighter.

There are two key things that Morris neglected to realize when taking his position.

First, fighters are fighters, regardless of who they fight for. For years now fighters from one promotion have cornered training partners and friends who were fighting under a different promotional banner. MMA is a team sport. This isn’t boxing where you have a bunch of freelancers working out of a gym paying out of pocket for every little training expense such as sparring partners. In MMA, if you don’t come from a strong camp, the odds are against you making it in this sport. And if you belong to a team, the loyalty that exists runs deeper than with any fight promotion. Whether a new fan agrees with that or not, that’s the way it is. Spend some time within a top fight camp and you will see how tight the bond is. Not being there for a teammate simply because he competes for a rival promotion is not an acceptable answer.

Second, there is a bond that exists amongst Brazilian fighters that is second to none in this sport. It’s almost like they are all family. For example, one of the coolest things I saw this weekend was at dinner on Friday night after weigh-ins. Wilson Reis and one of his cornermen, Sidemar Honorio (an up and coming MMA prospect in his own right) were eating dinner. Across from them was a table of consisting of Anderson Silva, Rafael Feijao, Ed Soares, and several other members of their crew. They saw Reis and Honorio eating alone and motioned to them. Reis shook them off indicating that he didn’t want to intrude. But Feijao wasn’t having it. He pretty much demanded they come over and break bread with them. And do I even need to bring up how Paulo Filho refused to “prostitute” himself by helping an American fighter get ready for a fight against a Brazilian even though Filho wasn’t even friends with the opposing fighter?

To criticise someone in MMA for supporting their friend and training partner is just ignorant. And to question a Brazilian for helping a fellow countryman out just demonstrates that you haven’t done the proper research about the culture of MMA.

I’m all for people having strong opinions. G-d knows I have plenty of them. But please, just make sure you’ve done your homework before taking such a strong position.

And to criticise a fighter for helping another out is just weak. The respect and camaraderie that exists in this sport is one of its greatest selling points. If you like selfish athletes, you’re following the wrong sport.

26 COMMENTS
  • Tigerfansince84 says:

    I completely agree with you. That guy obviously doesn’t understand how things work. At the same time I can see where someone who is new to the game would wonder why Anderson Silva would be seen at a rival promotions event. In the end people have to realize this isn’t professional wrestling and these guys aren’t restricted from going to watch other fights and also cornering (except for Randy C) their teammates. With every sport you have people who just don’t have a clue what they’re talking about, yet they still some how find some kind of media to get themselves heard.

  • bubbafat says:

    It’s sad that this is even an issue. Pro boxer’s don’t corner eachother very often, but they definitely go and watch fights at other promotions. I’m sure Silva is a fan as much as he is a fighter or coach. Killer Bee’s all the way.

  • ACK! says:

    Good to have you back, Sam. And congrats on getting mentioned on prime time network TV. You may be the first MMA journalist to receive such an honor.

  • joetheacupuncturist says:

    Sam, should we all pepper his email with hate messages? lol. congats on the name drop

  • HexRei says:

    Spot on, Sam. This guy must be new to the sport.

  • Wow, that’s just not very bright. I guess I can’t ask Luke from BE or Dann from junkie to do the DUEL anymore.

    :-(

  • Michaelthebox says:

    Bleacher rap is a cesspool of idiots.

  • Joe says:

    Right on Sam! As I watched the fight and saw Anderson Silva’s appearance in the Elite XC show I thought: “Dana must hate this, but he can’t afford to have a tantrum with the risk of losing the best pound for pound fighter in the world”. Besides, it’s clear that J. Michael Morris didn’t do his research before wrting, becuase just a few weeks ago, Silva stated that he had no intentions of fighting at Light Heavyweight, and that he was only doing it as A FAVOR TO THE UFC, and that he would be there whenever the UFC needed him. That alone just destroys the whole statement of this ignorant dude.

    Cheers,
    Joe from Chile!

  • DamonO says:

    Ignorance is Bliss.

  • Trust Doesn't Rust says:

    I’m a lot more sick with this recent trend in MMA journalism of covering the business of the sport as though it is itself a sport. It’s bad enough that newspeople cover movies and politics this way, but MMA journalists have a duty to report on things that are in the best interest of the fans who read their work– the fights and the fighters who make them happen. It is good for the sport to see the best fighters take on the best fighters regardless of promotional affiliation, and it is bad for the sport any time a money-driven business decision stands in the way of that happening. To constantly report on little business happenings like it’s all some kind of fun little joust match between promotions just shows that you’re a piece of shit who doesn’t really care about making this sport the best it can be, especially at such a crucial time in its development.

  • jj says:

    Must be a slow news day if this makes it.

  • neijia says:

    Perception becomes reality. There is insider culture then there is the media and mediated fan (the fans really know nothing without the media) culture. Which one (if there is one) is more important for business?

    As far as Anderson doing the UFC a favor, there is now a report on Yahoo! Sports that his contract gives him a % of ppv revenue, which could be higher if he fights LHW’s – his next LHW match could be with Chuck Liddell.

  • TMCAC says:

    Well put Sam. You describe the most appealing aspect of the sport; despite their job being to beat the tar out of each other fighters have more respect, loyalty, and sportsmanship than just about any other sport out there for their fellow competitors. It is the dichotomy of being Bad, Bad LeRoy Brown while still being some of the kindest and most loyal athletes on the planet makes MMA so interesting.

  • Darin says:

    Even besides what has already been mentioned, the UFC is trying to build Anderson’s PPV numbers up and with what the announcers said about him to an audience watching on free TV, seems like good advertising (and free for the UFC and Anderson Silva) to me. Some of those watching who are new to MMA may be more inclined to watch Anderson on PPV in the future after seeing him on this show and being told that he is the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter around.

  • Davey D says:

    The problem here is too many people are not seeing the big picture. MMA is a worldwide. HUGE. Almost everyone in the UFC and all other major org’s belong to a team. I’d say about 90% do. If you don’t then you probably travel a lot.

    Most of the top fighter’s you see have over 100 student’s and own their own training facilities. Other’s focus on themselves and select other’s.

    Brazilian’s are extremly loyal to one another. There are legendary fued’s between BTT, Chute Boxe, the Gracie’s. You chose a side and stick with it. Eventually, people grow and move on. But the love, honor and respect stay.

    Anderson’s team is one of if not the best team on Earth right now. Machida, Feijao, the Nogueira’s, Paulo, Vitor, the Spider and all of their trainer’s. Plus, you have the one’s who come and go.

    When Dana White says “everybody get’s fighting”. He mean’s they understand how real it is, mostly. One loses and the other win’s. The best part is just watching how it end’s. Like chess, it can be over before you know it.

  • I write on the Bleacher Report sometimes. There’s really no strict review process, and I don’t think they want one so that internet chatter is promoted. I believe they have a staff that does grammatical edits. However, it’s true that essentially anyone can “publish” pieces there without putting in tons of effort.

    From what I can tell, the website promotes different pieces according to writing quality and how much attention each piece receives (hits and/or comments).

  • chuntsmanbjj says:

    vitor is out here with xtreme coture now

  • Bleacher Report is not a cesspool if idiots, we are a site that lets fans and aspiring writers publish their thoughts and opinions. If some of their points are wrong and completely off base, so be it. You live and learn.

  • Matt says:

    What’s with the censoring of the word God? Is that a bad word now or something?

  • Davey D says:

    @17 c.m.bjj, that sounds like good place for him to be since Wand is there too. I wish him well. 185 seems like a good place for Vitor. Maybe he’ll get a shot at a WAMMA strap next?

    Cheers!!!

  • mike wolfe says:

    Having Silva or other UFC fighters show up at other org’s fights isn’t necessarily a bad idea regardless of whether they’re there for other fighters from their teams. Their presence is a not-so-subtle reminder that they and UFC are, for the most part, head and shoulders above the other orgs. Steal your competitors’ thunder at their own events.

  • Erik W. says:

    Sam, while I agree with you that the blog article in question was senseless garbage, all you’ve managed to do is give that clown more hits than all of his other posts combined probably got.

    He loves you right now.

  • Some of the responses Morris is leaving in the comments section of his piece are absolutely hysterical. The only thing about Bleacher Report is that it’s basically the Wikipedia of blogs. They allow anyone and everyone to submit articles for the site. For all we know, Morris could be some random kid who just started following MMA six months. Based on his responses, it’s clear that he doesn’t know the first thing about the sport.

  • John says:

    I think Dana should punish Anderson Silva

    Not for cornering @ EliteXC
    but b/c I just plain don’t like him

    I mean he didn’t touch gloves with Henderson for god sakes!! That’s Outrageous!!!

    and then he Silva goes on to say that Rich Franklin was the only true champion that he has fought? WTF! Right in front of the double PRIDE champion Henderson

    I HATE ANDERSON! I hope Ed Soares steals all his money

  • paddiosf says:

    Good for Anderson Silva the UFC doesn’t own him, if he wants to corner or support his friend SO What..If I’m not mistaken Matt Hughes was in the corner of Robbie Lawler for his first fight, the guy is here in the US supporting his friend and enjoying the celebrity of being a famous MMA Star..Everyone has this “knee Jerk Reaction to everything that fighters do…Dana is going to be upset, OMG please he the one who is scheduling other fights the night of Afflicition and EliteXC to undermine there success..If it’s a problem put it in his contract..

  • Matt C. says:

    bleacher report is the f’ng worst. Yardbarker is almost as bad. It’s basically a collection of musings by guys that don’t put in the time to maintain a webite of their own, this there’s no reason for any fact checking in anything that’s written. I do think it’s cool that these sites exist and give people the chance to try to write but what I do t understand is how yahoo gives them so much linking love.

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