(“Great night of fights, Joe, and I’ll see you next Tuesday.”)
Earlier this week, when the “Rampage motorboating Karyn Bryant” video started to circulate among the MMA blogosphere, our friend Maggie Hendricks at CageWriter.com wrote a post about Quinton Jackson‘s history of reporter-abuse, calling for the MMA media to stop playing along with his old, tired act.
Yesterday, the article was posted on the Underground Forum, which led to an avalanche of posters insulting everything from Hendricks’s writing ability, to her physical appearance, to her perceived jealousy of Karyn Bryant. A series of posts from UG member “The Skywalker” summed up the anti-Maggie sentiment:
“The act is only old and tired to you because you seem not to like the colorful flirtatious nature of his character in the first place. And again, he isn’t assaulting anyone, he’s staying within the lines and giving them great material so they can get more hits, more ad clicks, and make more money…You try to empower yourself by implying that you have the power to take his stage away, when you know damn well that the fans couldn’t care less about who is holding the microphone. You’re not giving him a stage, he’s giving you a job. If you don’t like it, I’m sure that there are lots of other news outlets that would love (lol) to have your CV on file…
The reason we are making fun of your looks is that it is obvious that your attitude about gender relations is the result of an emotional reaction to how you have been treated, not an objective rational thought process. Nobody “expects” you to be a supermodel, because you’re a reporter. That’s something you have invented in your own mind, and looking back over your history, it’s perfectly obvious that this is nothing new. Karyn is obviously no supermodel either, and that is a large part of why Rampages joke was SO FUNNY…You might not be able to CONTROL how [your articles] are perceived, but you can control the tone of your own writing. And thus far, you have come off like a sandy-crotched whiney teenager who just got done reading Atlas Shrugged for the first time.”
Okay, normal MMA-forum banter so far, right? So then, Joe Rogan chimes in. Yes, that Joe Rogan, the color-commentator from the UFC. (It’s on page 12 of the thread, if you’re curious):
“I think Rampage occasionally gets out of line, and I think some of what he does in interviews [is] unfortunate. I also think that’s a part of his charm. He’s not a fucking dentist, he’s a cage fighter, and he’s one with a very unique personality. I don’t think he should be given a free pass for some of the questionable things he does, but I do think that this woman in question is all kinds of cunty. The Skywalker broke down everything that’s wrong with her and her shitty, cunty brand of writing to a fucking T. That, was worthy of the #BOOM.”
I’m a big fan of Joe Rogan’s work for the UFC — I was before this, and I will be after this. But how is it appropriate for an official commentator of a sport with major-league aspirations to refer to a female member of the media as “cunty”? What the hell? Even if he and Maggie have personal beef (pretty sure they don’t), it’s not something you ever say in public. Joe has a wife, a daughter, a mother, female co-workers — that word really shouldn’t be in his vocabulary.
I expected Joe’s post to grab the blogosphere’s interest this morning, just like when Joe called MMA writer Tomas Rios a “faggot” last year, which led to a smirking non-apology that also managed to incorporate the word “cunty.” But for some reason, no other MMA sites have touched it. I think it’s because the amount of outrage that Joe’s latest gaffe created was nearly non-existent. (Draw your own sad conclusions about that, and what it says about the place of women in the MMA media. By the way, Karyn Bryant was totally cool with being motorboated while her husband filmed the segment in question. Heather Nichols was not, and never covered MMA again. So no, Rampage’s antics aren’t always taken in the spirit which they’re intended, and I think Maggie’s post was dead-on.)
In a way, all stories like this feel manufactured, in the sense that us members of the media care about them, despite the fact that the majority of sports fans don’t give a rat’s ass. It’s just not part of their conversation. Nine out of ten UFC fans will side with Quinton Jackson and Joe Rogan every time, because Rampage and Joe are awesome, and motorboating is hilarious, and who the fuck is Maggie Hendricks anyway? Seriously, here’s another representative comment from the UG thread from member ‘Bat21′:
“shitty cunty?!?!? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!
Fuck, I’m still laughing after 5 minutes. You’re the man, Joe.”
Jesus. If this is the mindset of the average UFC fan, then good luck being taken seriously, guys.
A high-profile commentator for the NFL or NBA couldn’t get away with throwing around slurs like this in public forums. I know that the fast-and-loose quality of the UFC’s frontmen and fighters has been part of the brand’s great success to this point. But there will come a time (we hope) when MMA is so popular that guys like Rampage and Rogan will have to behave like gentlemen — so they may as well start practicing for it now.