When it comes to mixed martial arts, the drama and the trash talking are just as important to the fight as the fight itself. Fans want to see two fighters with a grudge of some kind go at it in the ring. It gives us intrigue and it makes us want to see the fight just that much more.
We’ve seen how effective trash talking can be in a fight. From the days of Tito Ortiz, to the more extreme methods of Nick Diaz and Chael Sonnen, there are plenty of ways to get into the heads of your opponents and make a hefty pay day in the long run.
The UFC knows that pre-fight talk and that lack of respect that a fighter presents to another fighter can create a grudge match and also a successful event all the way around. There are fighters out there who can truly get under the skin of their opponents and in some cases even bring out the best (or worst depending on perspective) in their opponents.
The pre-fight jabbing that Chael unleashed on Anderson Silva not only at UFC 117 but also in their epic rematch at UFC 148 brought out a side of Silva we hadn’t seen before. Sonnen insulted Silva’s family, friends, and his country of Brazil. In the long haul, all the trash talking gave both fighters and fans the interest and motivation needed to paint the picture of an epic battle. We were able to see the frustration building up and witnessed a more vulnerable Anderson then we have ever seen before.
Nick Diaz also brought out a different side out of George “Rush” St. Pierre as well. During the UFC 158 phone conference and pre-fight conference, we were able to see just how difficult it was for Georges to just being in the same building as Nick. Nick has always been a fighter that didn’t care what you thought about him. You either love him or you hate him, there is no in between. The posturing before the fight made us feel the UFC was portraying him as the “bad guy”, the anti hero, although it would seem all he really wanted was the recognition that he felt that he deserved.
He’s always been a fighter who constantly created challenges for the organizations that he worked with. From getting in a physical brawl with Joe Riggs at the hospital, to starting a brawl with Jason “Mayhem” Miller on national TV. He’s repeatedly disrespected St. Pierre and there were even rumors that Nick was trying to provoke a fight fight with Georges at a hotel after UFC 137 took place.
MMA’s popularity and trash talking go hand in hand. (If not between faithful fans defending their choice athlete then between athletes trying to steal the limelight.) It has undoubtably helped the UFC continually gain the attention of the main stream media and present them with drama that leads to more exciting matches and successful events. The highest ranking UFC events were charged with emotion and personal grudges: UFC 100 Lesnar Vs. Mir, UFC 114 Rampage Vs. Evans, UFC 148 Silva Vs. Sonnen ll, and UFC 158 St. Pierre Vs. Diaz.
As long as there is competition in mixed martial arts, there will always be some form of trash talking. What was your favorite grudge match? What future rivalry would you want to see?