Where did we go wrong as a society? As a collective group of mixed martial arts fans, where did we go wrong? At what point did we decide that no matter what the cost, we would turn on the very athletes we pay to see and support?
Now I’m not speaking for everybody here or every fan of the sport, that certainly is not the intent, but when you scour the forums on most every MMA site, or scroll through your feed on social media, it is hard to see through the hate that flows from the mouths, or in most instances the fingers, of the fans of our sport.
Sure you can argue that fans of other professional sports will spew equally vile rhetoric online, but there is something about MMA that seems to really bring out the evil in quite a few of the basement dwelling trolls.
Less than 48 hours ago we learned that Invicta Fighting Championships featherweight champion Megan Anderson could not make the call up to the UFC on July 29 where she was set to fight for the vacant featherweight title against Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino.
Anderson cited ‘personal reasons’ as the cause of her removal.
It should have ended there, but it didn’t.
Many so called “fans” began to berate the 145-pound champion. Some said she was scared of Cyborg. There were rumors that Anderson had failed a drug test because she posted a photo online after being tested by USADA, just one day prior to the cancellation announcement.
Another theory led people to believe that Anderson had become pregnant. No actual medical proof to back up the claim…… but it is thrown up online for the entire world to see, which of course leads to a false claim becoming “truth” to those not in the know.
And then there is “MMA Journalist” who ambushes the fighter at 7 a.m. to ask for statement even after being told no statement could be provided at this time.
Why do we feel the need to pry for information?
Not just Megan, but any fighter, athlete, celebrity, anyone of a social status? Why is it our need to know, and why do we need to know right now?
It seems that just because we have information readily available at our fingertips with smart phones, laptops, tablet devices, etc., that we feel entitled to information. There seems to be a thirst to “know the truth” but spread or disseminate before the truth is actually verifiable truth.
Why do you think fighters like Uriah Hall have gone on record and blast the media? Headlines. Everybody wants to be first to get their name out there and make a buck.
But at what cost? Look what it did to Cortney Casey. A fighter was cleared of any wrong doing, yet she was called a “cheat” online.
Look at what it did to Ronda Rousey after her loss to Holly Holm. Rousey stated that she had thoughts of suicide because of some of the hate she was receiving online. When the former bantamweight champion returned for her fight against Amanda Nunes she opted not to do any media interviews because she felt that the media had turned on her.
UFC welterweight George Sullivan told us he felt his privacy was invaded after a failed USADA test showed that he was using a fertility medication so that he and his wife could have a child? Had Sullivan not come out and said what the positive results were showing, fans might have concluded that he was taking steroids.
How has this act of entitlement become acceptable?
How is the information in someone’s private life the business of everyone else? Nobody seems to like it when their information is spread about, so why should we do it when it comes to someone other than ourselves?
Rumors and speculation can lead to a variety of likely scenarios to include depression all the way up to suicide. The fact that a complete stranger can damage someone’s ego, reputation, and their feelings to the point of suicide is sad. How does that make anyone feel good?
So why did Megan Anderson cite personal reasons as the reason for her UFC 214 absence?
Simple. It’s personal….. and it’s our job to respect her privacy as we would with our non-fighting peers.
When Megan wants to talk, she will talk. Until then, respect her decision.