(“If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? And if you wrong us, shall we not spit on you and then strut around like the cock of the walk afterward?” Pic: Zimbio)
UK Telegraph boxing and MMA correspondent Gareth A. Davies is tired of all these yanks talking rubbish about Michael Bisping! Davies over the weekend authored a strange and sweeping indictment of how American MMA writers have responded to Bisping cheating to win against Jorge Rivera last month at UFC 127 before spitting in the direction of Rivera’s credentialed cornermen. At the risk of sounding like an unbelievable homer, Davies describes the media reaction from our side of the pond as “near-hysterical” and even busts out the term “witchhunt” to propose that Bisping has somehow been unfairly persecuted for his actions.
Pretty weird, right? Ever weirder, Davies specifically goes after Yahoo’s Steve Cofield (an unassuming dude if there ever was one) for daring to quote Nate Marquardt calling out Bisping after his own win last weekend at UFC 128 without – and this is where the logic gets really shaky – providing “balance” by somehow working in Marquardt’s positive steroid test from 2005 and also mentioning the allegations that he turned down a fight with Bisping at UFC 114 (because his wife was set to have a baby three days before the event). Davies rhetorically shouts: “Can there be any doubt at all there is a (sic) acutely American media bias towards Bisping?”
Actually no, there’s no denying it. Better question: Can there be any doubt that he deserves it?
In our book, Bisping’s unique blend of spitting and cheating more than justifies any scorn he’s received afterward. Davies, though, appears really steamed that the media has allowed guys like Marquardt and Chael Sonnen issue challenges to “The Count” without rehashing their own checkered pasts (as if any of us needs a reminder that Sonnen is a liar, a felon and possible steroid cheat).
“Am I the only member of the media who can recall this same Marquardt bringing home his own illegal knee to a downed opponent just two years ago?” Asks Davies, before totally misremembering it.
“It was against Wilson Gouveia [CORRECTION: It was Thales Leites at UFC 85]. Am I also the only one to recall Marquardt followed that foul up with an illegal strike to the back of the head later in the fight? I know. I was there watching it live. Didn’t Marquardt himself bring the sport into disrepute – by testing positive for steroids on his UFC debut? … Spitting? Or steroids? Take your pick.”
Well, just one of the many differences between the Marquardt situation and the Bisping incident is that Marquardt’s fouls caused him to lose his fight at UFC 85, whereas Bisping’s foul may well have helped him win his at 127. But whatever. Additionally, defining this argument as if fans must pick between spitters and steroid users (we’d choose neither, actually) is so ridiculously odd that we might suggest Davies has allowed himself to become too emotionally close to this situation to really see it clearly.
In our heart of hearts, we kind of dig that the British journalist uses the word “witchhunt” to describe this state of affairs because, well, it suggests that Michael Bisping could be a witch. In a more literal sense however, that particular word is totally inapplicable here since it implies that the person being persecuted is – you know — innocent. Not even Davies tries to craft the argument that Bisping was right to act like an unbelievable asshole at UFC 127. In fact, he calls Bisping’s actions “utterly wrong,” and simply asserts that he wants his American counterparts to provide some balance … or context … or something, to their follow-up stories.
OK fine, if it’ll make everybody feel better, please allow us to bring some balance to the situation: Other MMA fighters – some of them (gasp!) American — have also cheated and acted like unrepentant dicks before, during and after their fights. Fuck those guys, too.
There, we all happy now?