By Asaph Bitner
Society tends to deride those who remain defiant even after a decisive and fair defeat. Someone who’s beaten and fails or refuses to accept this is looked at with pity, even anger. George Carlin already eloquently expressed a counter to this view, and so I’d like to highlight the inverse of this phenomenon, which can actually be a severe problem. I speak, of course, of the sore winner.
Generally (and, ok, a bit trivially) speaking, victory is power. When winners, specifically in sports, and even more specifically in MMA, cross a certain line of decency and abuse that power, we encounter what is perhaps the most unsportsmanlike behavior of all. There aren’t necessarily scientific tests for determining sore winner status in MMA, but here’s one fairly reliable-looking indicator: the winning fighter using their victory to violate the losing fighter’s dignity in some way.
That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with trash talk before a fight, or in its resumption once the immediate post-fight haze has passed. Conor McGregor and Chael Sonnen, two prodigious talkers of trash, pour industrial amounts of verbal acid onto their opponents before and after fights, but they always seem to have a sense of respect for the man they’ve just pummeled in the immediate moments following a win.