(Video courtesy of YouTube/MMAHeat)
I’ve worked for several major corporations who mandated that their employees sit through mind-numbing lectures and videos detailing what comments and suggestive behavior constitute sexual harassment. There’s a thin line between what are regarded as harmless remarks like, “I like your dress,” or, “Nice haircut,” and what’s considered lewd.
I remember one video in particular that stands out. According to the, “sexual harassment expert” in the film, sexually suggestive comments and innuendos don’t become harassment until a set boundary between the two parties has been crossed. For example, when a woman tells a man that she doesn’t appreciate him making remarks about how her jeans fit or what he’d like to do to her, it becomes harassment when he makes them again.
If you look back at Quinton Jackson‘s history of dry-humping and sniffing the behinds of female reporters, it’s not surprising that he told MMA Heat’s Karyn Bryant following his UFC 130 win over Matt Hamill Saturday night that he wanted to “motorboat” her and that she better get away from him before he “humps” her like he has other women interviewers like our own Heather Nichols.
Nichols, who says she was in complete shock during the much ballyhooed incident, told Sports Illustrated that she thought about kneeing Jackson in the balls to get him off of her, but instead soldiered on through the interview.
“At first I was just shocked when he grabbed me, and all I could think was, ‘Oh my gosh, what is he doing?!’ Then I tried to play along a little bit because I knew he was trying to be funny, but after about the first 5-10 seconds, it was just plain awkward. I kept thinking, ‘What should I do? Knee him? Keep going?’ So I decided to keep asking questions, assuming he would stop if I did that,” Nichols explained. “So I asked another question, and he kept going. I asked ANOTHER question, and he kept going. At this point I was just freaking out, but still trying to be a professional and ask all the questions I was assigned to ask, and this has been interpreted by some viewers as me liking it and egging him on. This was definitely not the case. I was hired to do a job, which was to interview Rampage, so I decided to put up with his shenanigans and finish the interview.”
Under the somewhat loose definition of harassment policy of the company I used to be employed by, had she told him to stop, she would have a sexual harassment case if he continued to hump her. Because she didn’t and because she didn’t skip a beat and even laughed when it happened, it would be tough to prove harassment, but the fact is, there’s no question as to whether or not Rampage acted inappropriately.
Now, I’m all for a good laugh, but its incidents like these are partially what is keeping MMA from gaining real widespread mainstream acceptance. Bob Reilly is probably sitting in his office as I type this working feverishly to add the clip to his latest anti-MMA Powerpoint presentation he will be presenting to the New York State Assembly in the coming months. You can bet that the UFC adding mandatory anti-sexual harassment or sensitivity training to the agenda of next year’s UFC Fighter Summit, if it doesn’t before then.
Brett Favre’s incident with Jenn Sterger was the reason the NFL began its anti-sexual harassment training and policy and its safe to say Rampage will likely be the reason the UFC does the same, and so they should.