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CagePotato PSA: Fighting Your Teammates/Friends, It’s Cool Now


(“Oh, Georges, you couldn’t pull off a mean mug if you tried. Your eyes, they just have too much…soul in them.”)

You might not know this about the CagePotato writing staff, but not a one of us is a UFC-caliber fighter. Sure, Elias lays boots to asses every now and again and Goldstein once slapped Bas Rutten in public and lived to tell the tale, but none of us here at CP have ever had a situation arise where we forced to fight one of our fellow writers for the right to be called “King of the Mountain.” So maybe we’re not the correct sources to come to when discussing whether teammates in a given MMA camp should be more open to fighting one another or not. Then again, none of us (to my knowledge) have ever been busted for steroids before, yet we’re perfectly fine casting our respective opinions toward those who have, so here we go.

This whole “Fighter X won’t fight Teammate Y” nonsense is out of control. Rory MacDonald won’t fight GSP. Cain Velasquez won’t fight Daniel Cormier. Anderson Silva won’t fight anyone who doesn’t wear a kimono and firing range goggles 24/7. It’s getting ridiculous. Simply put, if you are unable to separate your personal life from your professional one in the fight game, then you probably shouldn’t be involved in the fight game. MMA is not a team sport, especially when a title shot and thousands of dollars are on the line.

Thankfully, guys like Dan Henderson are still around — old school, take-on-all-comers-even-if-that-means-fighting-at-heavyweight type guys who would fight their bedridden aunt for the last slice of pizza if she dared call dibs on it first. Ever since Hendo blew out his knee and was passed over for the next light heavyweight title shot by Chael Sonnen, things have been rather tense over at Team Quest, to the point that Hendo recently told FightersOnly that he would no doubt fight Sonnen now that he’s a LHW:

We’re friends, but above all we fight now in the same category and therefore have the same goal. We both compete for the same belt.

Our friendship is more than a title and we are professional enough to let the rivalry be just inside the Octagon. It would be a different situation, but our profession in this type of situation is quite possible to happen. 

Hendo, you old dog, you. Only you can take a situation as (apparently) complex as this and simplify it down to a few sentences or less like the Zen master you truly are. Have you met our friend Donald Cerrone, by chance? You guys could probably share a story or two whilst splitting firewood and consuming copious amounts of beef jerky, but that’s beside the point.

And it turns out, Hendo isn’t the only man willing to throw down with his teammates when a title is on the line. We know, right? MMAFighting recently interviewed Strikeforce welterweight champion Nate Marquardt and pressed him on the same issue in regards to his friend/occasional teammate, welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre. Marquardt was exceptionally candid when giving his response:

Of course, yeah (laughs). Honestly man, anyone of those welterweights on that card, that card is stacked and any one of the three that win, that’s who I want to fight. Obviously, I’d rather not fight Georges. He’s my friend and training partner for a long time now. But, like I said before, I’m not in the position to be turning down fights, so I’d rather not fight him, but I’m not going to turn down any fights.

At this point, it seems like more and more fighters are declaring who they wouldn’t want to fight as soon as they get in a position of power, rather than the other way around. And while it’s usually hilarious when Forrest Griffin does it, from both a fan’s perspective and a business perspective, it’s rather foolish for said fighters to turn down what could be lucrative paydays before the option is even on the table. So kudos to these two for going against the grain, although their performances against Tarec Saffiedine and Lyoto Machida will determine more than anything else whether or not they will have to face off against their teammates down the line.

But please, actual MMA fighters, please fall in line with guys like Hendo and Marquardt. There’s no reason to believe that you and your buddy can’t throw down for 15 to 25 minutes and not walk away friends after. Look at it like a video game if you have to: you sign in, insult each others mothers for a bit, and then storm off in a jealous rage should you lose. But the next day, you’re still willing to call each other friends over shots of Jager, even if one of you did piss on the other’s oriental rug on the way out.

-J. Jones

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chloefish- January 11, 2013 at 2:31 am
My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do, Great70.com
Pen Fifteen- January 9, 2013 at 7:01 am
@RW
The fact that your two main examples come from nearly a decade ago shows what a non-issue this is. And Jardine v. Rashad? LOL. I wonder how that one would have gone?

The rest of your claims are speculative bullshit. Machida couldn't even make it past his first challenger at 205, at the division has had no shortage of entertaining matchups since. And last I checked, Rashad didn't get his way...which is what I mentioned in my original comment.

Ultimately this shit will sort itself out. Either guys will decide its worth it to cash in on a title shot, or they'll decide to preserve the bromance they have with their training partners. Either way, all this grandstanding about "well I'd fight my teammate if..." by guys like Marquardt and Henderson means fuck-all until we see it happen. Marquardt and Hendo have also used roids, so I'm not sure we should be holding them up as the standard bearers for what fighters "ought to do" anyway.
bas rutten jr.- January 9, 2013 at 2:43 am
what do you mean bas ruttten got slapped by goldstein??????
cman- January 8, 2013 at 9:50 pm
I'd fight pains brother too, for the last beer in the cooler. What were we talkin bout?
painvelasquez- January 8, 2013 at 9:19 pm
I'd fight my brother if it meant UFC gold.. Im sure he would also beat the shit out of me if given the chance and proper payment..
RwilsonR- January 8, 2013 at 6:42 pm
I disagree Penis. There have been plenty of instances where teammates refusing to fight have delayed or screwed up the contender picture. Sometimes they eventually fight... usually when it no longer matters... but it has been an issue. Tito used it as an excuse so he didn't have to defend his belt against Chuck for quite some time. Wand held the Pride belt while Shogun was the best in the world. There was a point in time when Rashad and Jardine were both at around the same spot in LHW and should have fought. Hell, Anderson Silva would probably have been LHW champion if it weren't for Machida blocking things up there. If Rashad had gotten his way, we would have seen Shogun vs Machida 5 happen while he nursed injuries and Jon Jones would have sat on the sidelines picking off contenders and never "taking" Rashad's title shot. It isn't a huge issue, and usually there are ways around it. But those ways around it usually confuse the contender picture more, or cause delays in fights that should happen.
Pen Fifteen- January 8, 2013 at 4:26 pm
I think people here are missing the camp-based aspect of MMA. Yes, it's not a team sport, but it can produce seriously divided allegiances when two guys from one camp fight each other for a title. Obviously, the head trainer can't corner both of them. And obviously, he can't gameplan for both of them either. In the nearest comparable sport, boxing, fighters hire training partners on a bout-by-bout basis. In the end, you're more likely to see shit like Rashad moving to blackzillians than you are teammates fighting one another.

If anything, despite all the crying about teammates refusing to fight, we have yet to see a major matchup not happen because of it, unless you were one of those people with a major chub over the prospect of Kos-Fitch, in which case you're probably a retard.
catshittacos- January 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm
I don't even get a paycheck and I fight the shit out of my "friends"
Gobbleston- January 8, 2013 at 2:37 pm
And damnit Mr_Mis for already posting about Fatty McButtercrotch in an article I had yet to read!
crappiefloper- January 8, 2013 at 2:30 pm
Not MMA, but from grappling perspective...
Nothing is more desirable than facing a friend/teammate in the absolute, or for 1st/2nd in weight class. That just means that a- our team produced the two best, and 2- if I lose, the guy I've shared sweat and blood with on the mat just took the gold.
Pans is coming, just saying
Bam17- January 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm
Just look at the pics of Bec Hyatt and Carla Esparza on Felice Herrig's Twitter account. They are throwing down shots together hours after a title fight. MMA is not a team sport, your goal is the title. What happens in the octagon stays there. There is plenty of time for camaraderie afterwards.
Gobbleston- January 8, 2013 at 2:21 pm
I seriously don't get it. This whole not fighting your teammate bullshit is ridiculous. It's competition. This is just a bunch of testosterone fueled infants who don't want to lose their potential alpha male status at their gyms. Jesus guys. One guy loses, it just wasn't his night. Don't make such a huge deal out of it. And GOD DAMNIT CP, can you somehow make that giant sex having fat lady stop constantly popping up on the Around the web section?
Fried Taco- January 8, 2013 at 2:00 pm
I've said it before, and say it again: if I had any friends, I'd totally fight them.
Pen Fifteen- January 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm
About as cool as a boner in sweatpants.
J.Jones- January 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm
Damn, 12oz, did you just read the title and the very last line of the article? Because if so, CONGRATULATIONS, you now know how to properly approach a Danga article.
The12ozCurls- January 8, 2013 at 1:49 pm
That rug really tied the room together.
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