Article by Dave Walsh
I’ll be frank, when it comes to MMA fighters it is a mixed bag. There are a few fighters that I’ll always enjoy watching, but most of them are not the kind of person that I’d want to call a friend. I’ve been friends with professional fighters in the past and it tends to just be a strange, symbiotic relationship that leads to you, the person without the resources or money, getting leeched off of. Just not a good idea. The past two days have been a great example of that, as Josh Thomson took to Twitter and Facebook to share his thoughts about gay marriage, which included fear of incest and pedophilia as his reason why gay marriage should not be allowed.
True to form, before he could be issued a suspension by the UFC he went ahead and took his posts down and had his PR person issue a press release. Now, if we are all honest with ourselves we know that Josh Thomson had little to do with the press release outside of going to his PR person and saying, “what do I do?” I wouldn’t be surprised if the quote within the press release was just a paraphrase of something that he said, as well. I’m not saying that Josh Thomson isn’t an intelligent person, but I am saying that he has proven himself to be rather inept at expressing himself over the past few days.
As a fighter I respect Josh Thomson and actually have always enjoyed watching his fights. He has a style that makes for interesting fights and he always puts it all on the line. Outside of the ring, though, he has proven himself to be obnoxious and simply irritating. I try not to follow MMA fighters on Twitter because it just makes me dislike them, and he was one of those fighters that I followed for a brief while before unfollowing before long.
He has the same problem that we’ve seen in so many MMA fighters in that he goes to the gym, trains hard, handles his sponsorship and pre-fight obligations and does a good job at that. What he isn’t prepared for is dealing with the world outside of his chosen profession. Professional fighting is a brutal game and sensitivity is not on the top of the list for desirable attributes for a fighter when preparing for a fight and when they are fighting.
Sadly the “comfortable” atmosphere provided by inexperienced managers, clothing companies, PR reps, media and other fighters of everyone just being buddies has led to fighters and other MMA personalities having a larger platform to speak on with social media, but without anything of value to say. They’ll have thousands upon thousands of Twitter and Facebook followers, which will lead them to treating their accounts and reach as if it were a personal one just seen by friends and family. This often leads to disaster as they are not personal accounts, they are professional media personalities who are identifying with their promotion, manager and sponsors on these platforms without thinking or understanding that everything that they say will be put under a microscope.
I don’t want to see behind the curtain with most of these fighters, I don’t care who they voted for, what political party they support, what issues they are for or against or their thoughts on god. They are performers, entertainers and athletes who simply do not understand the kind of reach that they have or the impact of their words. Maybe it’s time some of these fighters think before they hit “send.”