We the fight fan, or the sports fan for that matter, want as much access to our favorite athletes as we can get. From Twitter to Facebook and Instagram, we follow them, like their posts and pictures all in the hope of feeling a part of something that we really aren’t, and there is nothing wrong with that. I mean, who doesn’t like to have a distraction from our daily lives?
Many of today’s UFC stars grant a lot of access to their lives. Most have grown up in the social media age, and understand the impact it has on their branding, which if done properly can help shape their financial future during, and beyond their fighting careers.
When is it too much? Something that the fighters have no control over is their coaches being mic’d up while working the corner during a fight, that decision is made by the UFC.
I feel that the corner is sacred ground, and we should not be privy to hearing the gameplan or strategy of the fighter, or if an injury occurred during a round, we shouldn’t know that. With the other corner having their phones with them, one of the opposing coaches can be listening to the broadcast and hear something that could give them an advantage and relay that to their fighter. Hell, they could get a text from a friend or teammate watching at home, and I for one wouldn’t be surprised if some teams actually have someone in place to do just that.
My opinion is mine alone, so I decided to reach out to some fighters on the roster and get their thoughts on having their coaches mic’d up during a fight.
Newly contracted UFC featherweight Billy Quarantillo:
- “I don’t mind when the coaches are mic’d. I never worry about it during the fight and it’s cool to see after on TV what they said and give them a little spotlight. Hopefully, they don’t ever say anything offensive but that’s on them “
UFC heavyweight Juan Adams:
- “It doesn’t matter to me because I’m fighting at the time. I think it’s good for the sport because usually, the commentators can delve into what each coach is saying and the viewers learn a little something about the sport. It’s good to decrease casual fandom and actually create a knowledgeable fan base as the sport continues to grow.”
Luis Pena a.k.a Violent Bob Ross:
- “I find it hilarious my goal is to give the mic to the least filtered person in my corner“
UFC featherweight Jacob Kilburn:
- “Our corners and I have code words and we know each other’s language. What they say and mean I know, but the idiot commentary panel does not. I’m not a fan of it because people who make assumptions and don’t know our relationship or communication will hear something and run with it.”
UFC Inaugural Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza:
- “I honestly don’t think twice about it. When I’m in a fight, all I’m thinking of is the fight. I tune out everything, including the crowd, and little details like the mic. If it was strange for anyone, it would probably be the coaches because they are the ones mostly speaking and have to watch what they say.”
UFC middleweight/light heavyweight Sam Alvey:
- “I’ve always been cool with it but after watching the Colby/Usman fight I’ll never tell my corner’s something is wrong again. Colby tells his corners he thinks his jaw is broken and from that moment on Joe Rogan couldn’t finish a sentence without mentioning how his jaw was broken. I won’t risk Rogan influencing a judge’s opinion in the fight.”
# 3 Heavyweight in the world Curtis Blaydes:
- I think it’s cool to give the fans at home some insight straight from our coach’s mouths. Sometimes it can be misinterpreted but that’s the risk with anything said on live tv!”
Some interesting thoughts on the subject from those affected by it the most, the fighters. Some are cool with it, while others could definitely live without it. Being mic’d up isn’t going away, at least anytime soon, I do feel that more teams, however, will start developing code words like Jacob Kilburn’s coaches so as not to give any unnecessary advantage to their opposition, yet keep the fans feeling like they are part of the experience.
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.