Jose Aldo has admitted that his shove on Chad Mendes at a media event, was an attempt to drum up more interest in the fight - showing the knock-on effect of the Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier brawl earlier this month.
At the Maracana Stadium on Tuesday, Aldo shoved Mendes after a little verbal back and forth and officials were quick to step in and prevent any further altercation.
However, it was Aldo's comments today about how he'd planned the shove with Andre Pederneiras, his coach, in order to build hype for the fight that were worrying.
It shows why Jones-Cormier was bad for the sport
While the brawl between UFC Light Heavyweight champ, Jones and contender, Cormier, did generate a lot of buzz and hype around their proposed fight at UFC 178, it was also a huge blow to MMA and in his comments today, Aldo has shown one of the main reasons why.
Explaining his actions on Tuesday to MMAFighting.com, Aldo said: "We were talking to Andre (Pederneiras) in a meeting about how we could improve our fight promotions. It’s part of the show. But I told Andre after (the staredown) that it’s not my style."
"It was not staged, we were talking (trash) to each other and it happened. … We (Aldo and Pederneiras) tried to spice things up, but that’s it."
"I've never pushed anyone during a stare down before," he said. "I should behave better. I'm not saying I regret it. We did it, it was good. There was a good thing about it that people are now talking about it, but it’s not who I am. It won’t happen again."
Physicality is what the fans pay to see but if Aldo feels like he needs to shove Mendes and possibly instigate a brawl in order to start a fight, it's only the start of a negative trend.
One step forward, Two steps back?
The UFC and the MMA community has spent decades overcoming the barriers and labels that were placed on it. Barbaric. 21st gladiators. A bloodsport. All tags that sport is trying to overcome.
If fighters resort to brawling in every pre-fight conference, it will only see the fighters and the sport labelled as something for overly aggressive people, who can't control themselves.
The sport would be stripped of the intricacies of the martial arts being practised and instead, would go back to being seen as a bloodsport.
Jones-Cormier was great for those two fighters, because they actively dislike each other so much and it fit their personas to have that fight. It felt natural but it also felt like a one-off.
If everyone does it, because they want the media hype, they're just thinking about themselves, not the sport as a whole.
The UFC will need to showcase some form of punishment for these actions sooner or later. While Dana White was happy with the media reaction to Jones and Cormier's scrap, it shouldn't of seen the two escape punishment because it basically said to the rest of the roster 'it's cool to do what they did'.
It can't be one thing for one and another for everyone else. Whether you're the #1 pound-for-pound fighter or making your UFC debut, you should be held to the same level and until it is that way - it's just another thing holding the UFC back.
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