The recent media day brawl between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and challenger Daniel Cormier is almost unanimously considered a low-point for mixed martial arts, at least, in regard to its acceptance to the masses.
Fighting outside of the cage isn’t exactly the best way to endear a violent sport to those who question its legitimacy.
But in a dichotomy representative of where today’s world of sport resides, the brawl also proved to be an effective form of promotion, drumming up more interest in the fight than the fact that two of the best 205-pound fighters in the world will be going at it at UFC 178 on Sept. 27 in Las Vegas.
As much as the incident itself divides fans and critiques, it also seems to divide Daniel Cormier, who acknowledges that it is not his proudest moment, and that he and Jones need to “do better.” But he also admits that faced with the same situation again, he would react the same way.
“In the situation with the staredowns, they can be very intense, and that’s okay. I just don’t think that we should make physical contact with each other whenever we’re doing these staredowns,” said Cormier on a recent edition of Inside MMA.
“In most instances, when guys get into these types of situations they react. We’re fighters, and if he did that to me again, I would react in the same fashion. I’d push him off me. I’m not gonna allow him to dominate me in any way, shape, or form leading into this fight and the night of the fight.”
Aside from the brawl on the stage in the middle of the MGM Grand hotel lobby in Las Vegas, Jones and Cormier were again caught in a bad way on film when video footage leaked of them trash talking off-air during an appearance on ESPN.
Cormier said he would like to spit on Jones, while the champion issued a death threat to his upcoming challenger.
Another not-so-proud moment that both would likely wish to bury under the rug.
Cormier, at least, would like to move beyond the unflattering incidents of the week, and put the spotlight on the competition between he and Jones.
“You’ve got two of the very best fighters against each other for the biggest prize in the sport, so I think we need to focus more on that than on the stuff that’s happened outside of the cage,” he said.
“The stuff that’s happened outside the cage is not good. It’s not a proud moment for me. It’s not a proud moment for Jon. We have to carry ourselves better and show people why they are really tuning in to the fight.”
Truth be told, for better or for worse, there will likely be fans tuning in because of the fight outside of the cage, almost as much as because of the fight inside of it.