How did we get from talking about kickboxers in MMA to throwing around truly awful terms like “Eskimo brothers,” all inside of one week? That’s MMA for you, apparently. Retired UFC and WEC fighter Danny Downes joins MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes to discuss in this week’s Trading Shots.
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Downes: Ben, I think I have an idea for another one of your #lifestyle pieces. It involves the (sensationalized) cospousal arrangements of the indigenous people of Northern America. What does this have to do with MMA? Well that’s a long, convoluted story.
It all started when your boy Brendan Schaub went on his “Below the Belt” podcast and started talking about kickboxers transitioning to MMA. He talked about how how people expect them to be elite strikers, but the two skill sets are completely different and one does not translate into the other. Israel Adensaya took some umbrage with this statement and dismissed Schaub’s comments with a gif-filled yawn on Instagram.
UFC President Dana White decided to get in on the action and commented on Adesanya’s post to mock Schaub’s analysis and MMA career. You wrote about this in more detail here, but long story short is that this social media tiff escalated to a point where UFC commentator Jimmy Smith is out there explaining the term “Eskimo brother” to the “greatest female fighter of all time.”
Besides wondering why a man with a nine-figure net worth finds the need to act like Regina George, what should we make of all of this? There’s plenty of gossip to be had, but is there any substance? Also, do you ever think Roger Goodell wishes he could act up on Instagram and get away with it?
Fowlkes: Wait, so this was “getting away with it”? I guess so, in the sense that White didn’t lose his job or anything, but neither can he come away from this interaction feeling like it was totally worth it.
Here’s a story the Internet couldn’t resist. It has sex, power, vitriol, even a little bit of mystery. But you’re right to ask whether it has substance, and the answer is: actually yeah, maybe.
A lot of people read Schaub’s post and a) went and Googled “Eskimo brothers,” then b) made a grossed out face, before c) jumping to the conclusion that the woman he was referencing was former UFC champ and recent UFC Hall of Fame inductee and ex-champ Ronda Rousey.
It’s not exactly a new rumor, but this does give it a new life with new credibility, and all in full public view. Plus, we haven’t heard a rebuttal from White, who isn’t known for his stoic forbearance in these public tiffs. If it’s true that the UFC president was carrying on a sexual relationship with the UFC’s biggest female star, yeah, that would be noteworthy.
I’m of the opinion that consenting adults can do what they want and, for the most part, it’s nobody else’s business. But think about the narrative we always hear regarding Rousey and the UFC. She was the pioneer. She was the one who opened the door to the UFC for all women fighters. White credited her with personally changing his entire view of women’s MMA.
Now you know, whether justly or unjustly, there will be some people out there wondering if it took more than her abilities as a fighter to do that.
It has the potential to distort that whole story, and in ways that are frankly unfair to Rousey. Still, you can bet people are already asking themselves these questions. It starts out with two bros arguing online, and in the end it’s the woman who stayed out of it whose reputation takes a hit.
Downes: I don’t buy that at at all. You’re definitely putting the cart before the sexually charged horse. There’s no denying that White has been attracted to Rousey. We all remember his comment about her being a Diaz brother “trapped in a beautiful body.”
Did his attraction to her make it more likely that he would like to do business with her? That’s a reasonable assumption to make. There’s a big difference between that and making the leap to think she needed to do something more to get a deal done.
Should White sleep with his independent contractors? No. Should Schaub be airing people’s business on social media? No. I put a pox on both their piggish houses and want to be done with it. They’re harming innocent bystanders because of their fragile egos.
No matter what happens from here on out, you can’t un-ring this bell. I don’t think it will harm anyone’s reputation because the people who love Rousey will continue to do so. Plus, White being thin-skinned and Schaub saying dumb things are both nothing new, but it’s unfortunate this had to happen in the first place.
Messiness on social media also isn’t new. It’s not even unique to MMA. (Have you even looked at Elon Musk’s Twitter lately?) We have another example of the president of the largest MMA promotion in the world embarrassing himself. It’s not his first offense, and it certainly won’t be his last. I roll my eyes and wait for the next bit of nonsense that’s sure to be here sooner rather than later.
Again, did we really learn anything new? And even if we did, what are we supposed do with this new knowledge? If you want to tsk tsk, go ahead, but I don’t see any resolution coming.
Fowlkes: I totally agree about one thing: It’s the innocent bystanders suffering the real harm here.
Rousey doesn’t deserve to get pulled into this. She clearly deserved to be in the UFC (though so did plenty of others who came before her), and now she deserves to have her career evaluated on its merits. But because these two guys couldn’t keep their egos in check and their phones in their pockets, now there’s this other element that’s been added to the story – and you’re kidding yourself if you think people aren’t already thinking about it.
What’s interesting to me is your argument that it’s not a story just because it isn’t anything new. As if, because we already knew that White is prone to immature outbursts on social media, we should ignore each one even when it spirals out of control in a way he clearly didn’t anticipate.
Let’s not forget, this whole thing started with basically a misunderstanding. Schaub seemed to be talking about Gokhan Saki. Adesanya seemed to think he was talking about him. White jumped in to bash a retired fighter for no real reason at all, and he then got scorched on the comeback and had to go silent. It’s all just so dumb.
But, you’re right, that doesn’t make it new. We’ve come to expect dumb. We accept it. We point and laugh and move on. And maybe that’s why we get the sport we deserve in the end.
Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Danny Downes, a retired UFC and WEC fighter, is an MMAjunkie contributor who has also written for UFC.com and UFC 360. Follow them on twitter at @benfowlkesMMA and @dannyboydownes.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Trading Shots: And then came the week in which the phrase 'Eskimo brothers' entered the MMA lexicon…