CEO of Dominance MMA Management and the manager of UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, Ali Abdelaziz has warned fighters on the UFC roster against making things personal with fighters belonging from Dagestan, Chechnya, and Nigeria.
In the leadup to fights, many fighters make racist comments about their African counterparts, trying to affect their psyche and get under their skin so that it gives the former an edge once the cage door shuts behind them. Well, from what we've learned in the past few years, it is a well-established fact that trash-talking and mental warfare is a double-edged sword. While some fighters may buckle under the pressure of the trash-talk and a fight being more than just a pay-day, others take it as a motivation and completely maul their opponents inside the Octagon, forcing the latter to eat their words.
Let's take former UFC two-division champion, Conor McGregor, for example. "The Notorious'" much-famed trash talk against former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo ahead of the pair's title clash at UFC 194 is probably the best example of mental warfare in MMA. McGregor's sharp tongue tore through Aldo in the leadup to their fight and that clearly showed when the Irishman KO'ed Aldo in just 13 seconds of the first round.
Though McGregor ended up on top that time, he had to pay dearly for insulting Khabib Nurmagomedov ahead of UFC 229. Ahead of the biggest fight in UFC history, McGregor made things personal with Khabib by insulting and ridiculing Khabib's religion, and his family. This didn't turn out so well for the knockout artist as he was thoroughly dominated, beaten, and broken by the undefeated Dagestani champ during their main event encounter on 6th October 2018.
Kamaru Usman's fight against Colby Covington's fight at UFC 245 is another instance where trash talk ended up badly for a fighter. Ahead of the fight, Covington made racist comments about "The Nigerian Nightmare" and come fight night, Covington got his jaw broke at the hands of Usman.
Abdelaziz recently cited the same examples of his high proficlients to warn against waging mental warfare on fighters from Dagestan, Chechnya, and Nigeria.Published 12 Oct 2020, 17:46 IST