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9 Questions You Should Never Ask in an MMA Interview


(Leave it to the professionals, Andy…)

A couple weeks ago, I stumbled across a Bleacher Report article titled “The Top 10 Questions Every MMA Fighter Should Be Asked.” It was written by a teenage contributor named Dale De Souza who, at that point, had only done one interview with an MMA fighter, but still felt like he’d accumulated enough wisdom to put together a guide for aspiring MMA journalists. Isn’t that adorable? For the most part, De Souza’s question suggestions are pretty standard fare if you’re interviewing an up-and-comer that fans don’t know much about, and you don’t mind being unoriginal. (i.e., “How did you get into the sport?” “Which team are you training with in preparation for your next bout?” “Do you like to stand with your opponents or take them to the ground?”)

As the founding editor of CagePotato.com, I’ve been interviewing MMA fighters for nearly three years, and through trial and error, I’ve learned a lot about what not to ask during fighter interviews. Dale will learn this stuff in time, but to save him (and others like him) a lot of heartbreak, uncomfortable silences, and dull articles, I’ve put together a list of my own. Read on, and avoid these interview questions at all costs…

1. Will you choke me out?/Will you kick me in the leg?
Don’t do it. It’s been done, and you might end up in the hospital. You’ll have to find another way to make your name by humiliating yourself. (By the way, barfing on camera has also been done.)

2. What’s your gameplan for [opponent's name]?
As it turns out, very few fighters are willing to publicly reveal what they’re planning to do to their opponents, in specific detail; go figure. So don’t expect a satisfying response to this question. Most of the time, you’ll get some variation of “I’m just gonna focus on what I do best, and try to show everybody what I’m capable of.” Boooooooring.

3. “You’re just so big, and you come out of the world of pro wrestling…”
Well, make sure in advance that your subject doesn’t mind being accused of juicing. Steroids fall into that category of interview topics — like the exact amount of undisclosed “locker room” payouts, and which fighters are secretly gay — that you should probably avoid altogether. The only ones who know aren’t telling.

4. What’s your training schedule like?
Maybe they train in the morning and evening. Maybe they train striking on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and grappling on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Does it really matter?

5. If you get past [opponent's name], who would you like to take on next?
There are three general answers to this question: 1) “I’m really not looking past [opponent] right now.” 2) “I’ll fight whoever [name of fight organization] puts in front of me.” 3) “I want [champion's name], baby!” You’ve heard these answers a hundred times, and they reveal nothing about the fighter being interviewed. On the off-chance that your interview subject calls out somebody specific, it won’t make a difference anyway. Joe Silva is not reading your interview. Joe Silva does not know who the fuck you are, kid.

6. So when are you going to retire, Chuck/Jens/Tito/Ken/James?
They’ll retire when they’re dead. Next question.

7. “The story opened with an oath you made to your dying father to become a world champion. The chance is coming and barring any injury there’s no denying it this time. You’re in the main event of UFC 117, the organization’s debut in Oakland, and all you have to do is defeat someone considered one of the top if not the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. I get the impression you’re one to never allow the magnitude of an opportunity to overcome you, so how are you taking this in stride – or perhaps more accurately facing it dead on.”
We’re with Chael on this one. If your interview subject is having a hard time figuring out what you’re trying to ask, you probably won’t get the kind of answer you’re looking for. Ask a simple question. Get out of the way. Repeat.

8. Tell us one thing that people don’t know about you.
First of all, it’s an incredibly lazy question. Your job as an interviewer is to draw out information that your readers don’t know; if you can’t do that through questions and conversation, you don’t deserve to be holding a recorder. Plus, how is a fighter supposed to keep track of what people do and do not know about him/her? Between Facebook, official websites, and previous interviews, virtually all information about a given MMA fighter is public record — except for their closely-guarded secrets. And do you really think they’ll reveal that stuff just for you? “One thing people don’t know about me? I want to bang my wife’s sister. Oh, I mean…damn. Please don’t print that.”

9. Will you look me in the eyes, Nick/Nate? Please? Just once?
They won’t. And they’ll probably slap you across your bitch-ass mouth just for asking.

(BG)

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MoTropolis- July 13, 2010 at 1:23 pm
"Cyborg, who wears a bigger cup, you or your husband?".
noahknows- July 13, 2010 at 12:51 pm
ha #2 and #10 are the best
Mofo- July 13, 2010 at 11:51 am
This a prime example of is why I not should drink before I type.
kingmantis- July 13, 2010 at 10:50 am
How about, "So Anderson, why do you choose not to speak American? Do you hate America?"
BenTheMan- July 13, 2010 at 4:18 am
The only things worse than those questions, are responses like "Im just gonna impose my will" ... ah god eff you man ...
nickyroose- July 12, 2010 at 8:23 pm
The Viva always the Viva
2DaDeath- July 12, 2010 at 6:24 pm
Nice article. I love it when things are numbered. Like painting.

Hey Fedor, since Vadim isn't within earshot of us, can you answer me this one question: How's M1 holding up since you lost?
fatbellyfrank- July 12, 2010 at 6:02 pm
And you forgot "Please explain the meaning of all yer tattoos, cause they look kinda stupid"
danomite- July 12, 2010 at 4:58 pm
some more questions you shouldn't(don't have the STONES to) ask:
1. How tall are you really Shane Carwin?
2. Let me tell you how you're feeling right now?
3. Have you ever gotten aroused while in/applying a triangle choke?
4. Would you like to arm wrestle me, Mr. Goodridge?
5. Who would win in a fight between a taco and a grilled cheese sandwich?
Ballkick- July 12, 2010 at 3:45 pm
Nate,....what exactly did you mean when you said your brother had "Customs/Passport Issues" getting into Canada for your appearance in Edmonton last week-end?
noizy- July 12, 2010 at 3:44 pm
Yea. Seriously. Why even ask some of these questions anymore? Sad to say, even the best still ask those frequently.
Fried Taco- July 12, 2010 at 3:21 pm
The funniest part is that Ben doesn't realize Dale was being sarcastic.
busted_cranium- July 12, 2010 at 3:18 pm
@ Booze n Brawl:

You're a prime example of why women get abortions.

Dumb fuck.
ilvbllythekd12- July 12, 2010 at 2:54 pm
LOL at the last question. The Diaz bros (well Nick, at least) will make eye contact if you aren't busy shoving a mic or a camera in their face or asking (truly) stupid questions. Quote by Organ Donor was the best.

"I assume the Diaz brothers only make eye contact for fighting, fucking, and buying weed."

And for what it's worth, BG, I liked this article. It's so true.
Almost North- July 12, 2010 at 2:30 pm
There is no way in hell the Diaz brothers buy their weed.
Organ Donor- July 12, 2010 at 2:14 pm
The following comment shines with brilliance:
Organ Donor- July 12, 2010 at 2:05 pm
I assume the Diaz brothers only make eye contact for fighting, fucking, and buying weed.
pinkyslayer- July 12, 2010 at 2:03 pm
This is a prime example of a retard trying to type.
Clyde- July 12, 2010 at 1:28 pm
You of course forgot, "So [Brock/Tito/Anderson/BJ]... why are you such a douche".

And I personally have infinitely more respect for Chael after reading that interview.
Charming Charlie- July 12, 2010 at 1:25 pm
I think this article SHOULD have been written.

And it WAS.
ReX13- July 12, 2010 at 1:02 pm
Ben>> Spent an hour on Skype yesterday with a fighter in one of Bellator's season 3 tournaments. NOW, you give me this. Thanks a lot, asshole.


***

"One thing people don't know about me? I really want to bang my wife's sister. Oh, I mean...damn. Please don't print that."

+1
Booze n Brawl- July 12, 2010 at 12:57 pm
This is a prime of example of and article that never should have been written
El Famous Burrito- July 12, 2010 at 12:45 pm
Diaz brothers vs. Hanson brothers. Make it happen.


(the ones from Slap Shot, not the goddam singing kids.)
Sakuraba3900- July 12, 2010 at 12:40 pm
LOL @ MRuss
Viva Hate- July 12, 2010 at 12:40 pm
Meh, you missed a few

1. Will you look in my eyes Nick Ring?
2. Tito, what exactly does Jenna smell like? I have $20 that says it is a combination of tuna, cheap perfume, vagisil and Valtrex.
3. Have you ever cut one on an oppenents face?
4. Kimbo, can we still supersize or is that really off the menu?
5. Cro Cop, I have a copy of Duran Duran’s greatest hits, care to dance?
6. Pat Barry, are you jealous that Cro Cop danced with me?
7. BJ, how do you feel about GSP?
8. Kos, what is it like to be so beloved by fans?
9. Scott Coker , what is your model for successful match making?
10. Ricco, is cocaine really a hell of a drug?
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