UFC fighters really enjoy calling each other out

It isn’t a big surprise to read a headline when a fighter calls out another. The intrigue isn’t usually in the who or the why – the intrigue is in the politics.

The who and why are related. There are fighters, surprise, surprise, who don’t like each other. Therein lies the how and why. Other times, a fighter is ahead in the rankings and/or they have a big (or bigger) name. As Ric Flair (whoo!) used to say, ‘To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man.’ Therein lies the who and why, together again.

A quick rundown of recent call outs:

Lyoto Machida called out Vitor Belfort (and so did Gerard Mousasi). Machida’s makes sense, as the FD mentioned in a recent post while Mousasi’s does, too, but less so, so what’s the point?

Hector Lombard called out Carlos Condit (but would settle for Martin Kampmann). This fight makes sense for Lombard but not Condit. An impressive win in Lombard’s first welterweight fight (after being thought of as a contender at middleweight) means a win over atop flight fighter puts him at least one fight away from a title shot. For Condit, a fighter void of any Machiavellian powers, fighting tough guys matters most. That said, Condit does more for his title contention with losses as anyone. In losing to Johnny Hendricks – a fight which got Big Rig his shot at GSP – Condit pressed forward constantly and proved (again) a threat to anyone given five minutes or fewer. He doesn’t need a fight against someone like Lombard to keep his name in elite talk, an impressive win over a lesser opponent would achieve that.

Rafael Dos Anjos called out TJ Grant (not Benson Henderson). This moves makes sense for Dos Anjos only in that he can justify to some that Grant’s status as number one contender on a win streak is somehow more valuable than a former (read: with four title defenses) champion with one loss. Dos Anjos is playing it as safe as calling out a top fighter can get.

Erick Silva called out Demian Maia. Silva is trying to bait a fighter with a style he has has to conquer, clearly risking a lot to prove he’s not the guy that has ‘no ground game’ and ‘terrible takedown defence’. The fight makes sense for Maia, too, because it would be a fight both men can take in Brazil. Coming off a loss – to Jake Shields, a fellow BJJ specialist – crushing an uppity and talented striker would count as a quick rebound and ease into another top five opponent.

Meanwhile, everybody called out Conor McGregor. Which isn’t a surprise.

The skill at call outs is something more fighters should learn. There are few things as powerful as public perception. Find the right way to say something and people will stop to listen.



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