Leave it to MMA fans to introduce Dewey Cooper to a new and entirely unpleasant experience in combat sports.
Cooper, a 30-year combat sports veteran in kickboxing and MMA, had barely stepped away from the octagon after Francis Ngannou’s failed bid for Stipe Miocic’s heavyweight title this past January when the messages started pouring in on his Instagram account.
Some were of the usual variety employed by trolls. The death threats, he’d never seen before.
It was incomprehensible to Cooper that fans could be so enraged by his work on one night – in this case Ngannou’s unsuccessful title shot at UFC 220 –that they would escalate to that level. More offensive was their gall to suggest they would try to do violence on a trained professional.
Defiant, Cooper invited potential assailants to follow through.
“I responded to every single one of them – ‘(Expletive) you, I’m at One Kick’s Gym on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays,’” Cooper told MMAjunkie Radio. “‘I’m at Mayweather’s gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays. I’m at the UFC gym at 2 o’clock on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Come kill me, mother(expletive).”
Cooper, you see, has been at the center of many big fights in his career as a coach. One of his boxing pupils, Jessie Vargas, once challenged Manny Pacquiao for the WBO title in 2016. Everything about the fight business, he’s pretty much experienced. He didn’t sign up for death threats.
But with MMA, he’s learning that’s part of the job. Fiercely protective of his students, Cooper concedes he flew off the handle when a group of men surrounded UFC lightweight Kevin Lee after a win over Michael Chiesa in June 2017. That was a threat he could see.
The ones that come from faceless accounts online, he’s still getting used to. As he found out later, many of the threats were financially motivated – fans who bet on Ngannou (11-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC) to win that night were looking for someone to blame for their financial losses.
But Cooper has a warning for those who think they can bully him online or in person: He will take you seriously. And if you’re thinking about escalating to violence, don’t.
“We’re not being bullied physically or on social media,” Cooper said. “You talk (expletive) about me, I’m talking (expletive) about you. Period. I don’t give a (expletive) if I’m at the White House with the president. I don’t care if I’m at the hospital with my girl having my child. You disrespect me, I’m disrespecting you.
“I’m a Malcolm X follower. I believe eye for an eye, cheek for a cheek, and that’s what it’s going to be until the day I die. But I’m the nicest, coolest guy in the world. But I’m no punk (expletive). I’m not going to be disrespected and my life challenged and not have some serious recourse about it.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Francis Ngannou's coach responds to death threats on social media with warning of his own