This Friday, former World Series of Fighting champion Justin Gaethje will make his long-awaited UFC debut when he takes on Michael Johnson in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale. As the fight has gotten nearer, the rivalry between the two has heated up, crescendoing with Johnson’s recent statements to Gaethje calling him “the most inbred piece of sh*t I’ve ever seen in my life.” Johnson went on to awkwardly double down on the comments asking, “Did your mom have sex with her brother to have you or was it her cousin? Who in the family had sex with each other to have you?” Johnson went on to post the video to his Instagram account, saying that this was “mental warfare” and that “these words mean nothing.”
But not for Gaethje. Speaking on a Facebook Q & A that has since been taken down, Gaethje says that he took the comments personally and that soon the bill will come due.
“Johnson is a mental midget. You see his interviews and he says this is all talk, he’s just trying to build the fight. No. This is not a game to me. Everything you’ve said, I’ve taken personal. It doesn’t affect me emotionally. I wanted to kill him when the fight got announced and I want to kill him now. No more, no less. It’s life or death for me every single time I step in the cage.”
Whether this is all gamesmanship on the part of Johnson remains to be seen but it does seem to be indicative of a larger trend in the MMA world, what could reasonably be called “the McGregor Effect.” McGregor’s meteoric rise to stardom and unparalleled financial success on the back of his brash-talking self-promotion has brought with it an increase in similar behavior from other fighters looking to strike it big. Speaking with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto recently, lamented the type of “bulls**t” trash talk that’s now become commonplace for fighters like Johnson.
“The most detrimental thing to me is the fact you have to be a piece of s**t for people to like you. It’s crazy to me. People love the fact Chael Sonnen is saying he’s undefeated. It’s crazy to me that people like something like that but don’t give respect to the fighters that just put it on the line. Tim Boestch just got a sweet KO. He’s not gonna talk s**t so it won’t help him. That’s unfortunate. I don’t like how people are so uneducated they need bulls**t to watch a fight. You see Tony Ferguson saying he won’t fight Kevin Lee because he doesn’t meet his standards? F**k him. That’s a b**ch move. You’re at the top and either you want to fight or you don’t. I want to fight and hopefully that registers with the UFC.”
For Gaethje, the mental warfare isn’t something that takes place at the press conferences but inside the cage. And Gaethje doesn’t need a disingenuous tough guy persona on the microphone because he lets his fighting do the talking for him.
“I’m trying to be as real as I can and I’m being myself. I’m not gonna create an act. I’m not larger than life, my personality is not larger than life, I promise you. But when I fight I am larger than life, I promise you that.”
Firas breaks down MayGregor.
Couple of Kelvin interviews.
Bisping thinks Bobby Knux gets it done.
TTTHS on Reem trashing Fedor.
Here’s GSP in a movie trailer fighting Sensei Seagal.
Severe MMA. The boys are back to discuss UFC, Bellator, TUF 25 Finale, and more.
CME. International Fight Week hype and Justin Gaethje talk.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Damn. Glad that worked out.
Genuinely wish her the best of luck here.
I'm not quite sure how this all goes but I'm def still gonna take sponsors for this fight... who's in??— tonya evinger (@tonyaevinger) July 4, 2017
Cowboy seems excited about being moved to 214.
Cooler than a deck of cards.
Tim Johnson with a solid 4th of July message.
Chris isn’t letting anything slip by him. But c’mon y’all, it’s 2017. Get Venmo.
U owe me 22 bucks each way btw. Also did u let cyborg know how I feel ? #TheMMAHour— Chris Weidman (@ChrisWeidmanUFC) July 3, 2017
paypal coming!!!— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 3, 2017
Cash— Chris Weidman (@ChrisWeidmanUFC) July 3, 2017
deal. next time I see you. consider it done.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 3, 2017
49-0 until he faced a tough southpaw that nobody gave a chance to pic.twitter.com/irinfghHml— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) July 3, 2017
Hey uh, John, you may want to, uh, watch Rocky. I don't think it goes down quite as you're envisioning it. pic.twitter.com/eEbVGYYE3N— The Naked Gambler (@NakedGambling) July 4, 2017
He uh was 48-0 when he uh beat Rocky. Then 49-0 when he uh lost. Also uh just a bit of fun on rest day. Uh.— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) July 4, 2017
Yana Kunitskaya (9-3, 1 NC) vs. Raquel Pa’aluhi (6-5); Invicta FC 25, Aug. 31.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
1999: Mark Kerr submitted Nobuhiko Takada with a kimura ar Pride 6. This was the last win of the legendary run Kerr began his career with that saw him become one of the most feared fighters in the world.
Happy 4th of July for all the American readers out there. I hope it’s a good one. And for everyone else, happy Tuesday and I hope it’s good for you as well. Take it easy everyone and Conor bless.
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