UFC coaching certain fighters in interviews?

April 16, 2012

Cageside Seats reports on an interesting part of the job for the UFC fighter that is somewhat glossed over: the post-fight interview.  Dave Metzler suggested on his radio show that the UFC assists certain wrestlers with talking points for their interviews.

The discussion of the post-fight interview comes from Saturday’s UFC on Fuel TV 2 in which many of the fighters interviewed deferred on the question: “who they want to fight next?”  Many stated in one way or another “whomever the UFC wants me to fight.”  Rather than demand or offend anyone, the fighters went with the easy, non-controversial way out of the question.

Dave Metzler suggested that the UFC gives tips to those fighters it can trust to keep the training a secret.  Thus, when the fighter uses the training in an interview, it would seem organic, articulate and compelling.

Cageside Seats made the parallel that the UFC is similar to the WWE if it does coach fighters into promoting themselves or an upcoming fight or “fued.”

Payout Perspective:

When I read this my mind went to my favorite NBA interview session: Rasheed Wallace’s infamous “both team’s played hard” post game interview.  A classic.  Wallace’s post-game response to any question posed by a reporter was: “Both teams played hard.”  It was hilarious considering it mocked the whole professional player-reporter interview process.

The fact that the UFC may or may not provide media training to certain fighters to generate compelling hype for future and/or upcoming fights is nothing earth shattering.  Its media training.  Certainly, it should provide that to all of its fighters but I don’t believe coaching an interview is nothing out of the ordinary.  In defense of the fighters yesterday, most of them are fringe fighters.  A loss or two and they may be out of the UFC.  Thus, it makes sense that even when winning they’d want to be gracious and not offend anyone or call out a fighter.  It’s not exciting, but at least they would not be labeled cocky.

From another perspective, the poor mic skills of some of the fighters may mean that the interviewer will have to do a little more to “put over” the fighter.  No one is a miracle worker, so even Joe Rogan on his best night can’t help some guys.  But, at least its better than watching a fighter pull out a list of sponsors it has to thank and advertise their after party.

7 Responses to “UFC coaching certain fighters in interviews?”

  1. Yan Desjardins on April 16th, 2012 3:12 AM

    “Dave Metzler suggested on his radio show that the UFC assists certain wrestlers with talking points for their interviews.”

    So, he thinks that BJJ guys give great interviews but wrestlers don’t, right?

  2. Jason Cruz on April 16th, 2012 10:40 AM

    @Yan Actually, I think it may be the other way around. But wrestlers are trained from the start on cutting a promo whereas MMA guys probably don’t.

  3. BrainSmasher on April 16th, 2012 3:00 PM

    I think this is total BS imo. I think it is possible that the UFC provides training on speaking on tv. But i dont think for one second the UFC is coaching them on what to say. Just like BJ Penn claiming he was made to say curtain things. That wasnt the UFC’s doing. It is the production crew who films the interviews trying to get the best comments out of him. It is their job. Just as if Bob Costas asked a contraversial question or a loaded question. If would be because Castas himself wants a interview that gets attention NBC wouldnt have to have anything to do with it to make him want to do his job properly.

    Fact is most fighters know that their career depends on match ups. They UFC can get you smashed or they can throw you a bone. If they call out an easy match up like Cerrone calling out Cole Miller and Nam Phan it makes them look like a bitch to anyone who follows the sport properly. None of the fighters want to fight any tougher comp than they have to. Easy fights are easy paydays. Tough fights are a quick way out of the UFC. So the best answer is “Whoever the UFC wants”. Every now and again you get someone who is confident or has a real beef and they call out someone specific. You also have some guys like Chael who are smart and know what sells and what is good for the UFC and will score brownie points. I dont think Chael is told anything by the UFC on what to say. But he has become very good business for the UFC and even though he hasnt had a great UFC career altogether i think he will work for the UFC when he retires either as an announcer or in the front office. He has set himself up in that kind of position by going out and being a fighter and not looking for easy paydays.

    Keep in mind most fighters dont last in the UFC very long at all. The have a huge turn over rate. Not as much since they are currently in need of fighters but they still turn over a lt of fighters even the ones who make it dont have long careers. So there are many former UFC fighters and there is anyone credible or even a handful of people claiming the UFC tells them what to say. Like always i think this is due to delusional WWE fans trying to blur the lines between MMA and WWE.

    The article makes no since to begin with. New UFC fighters like that on theFuel card never call out anyone. Why would the UFC coach fighters to NOT call anyone out when calling people out is what makes big fights for the UFC? Dana has always said he wants thre guys to call each other out. But all the greatest fighters have been vocal about fighting anyone. From Matt Hughes to Couture and to LIddell. They dont pick their fights which is what makes them great. No one wants to be a cherry picker. So the real fighters will not call out anyone unless they have real problems with someone. IMO the only way a fighter comes off not looking like an ass is if they have legit beef or they call out the champ. Any other time they are ducking or cherry picking and look like a bitch like when Tito was trying to start a fight with Coleman after Coleman got smashed and looked to be an easy win.

    If Pro wrestling fans have to imagine pro wrestling antics in MMA to have interest in the fights then maybe they should stick to their little kids fake stuff.

  4. BrainSmasher on April 16th, 2012 3:11 PM

    LMAO WWE fans are just to much. So when the fighters dont call anyone out to give them Fake fans a story line they make a story line out of the lack of story line! Classic. Ussually the fights are enough for real fight fans. But i guess there is some out there who need a fantasy drama. So if the fighters dont give you drama you make it up your self.

  5. Jeremy on April 16th, 2012 6:31 PM

    Dave, and Bryan, talked what things would be like if the UFC were to work with fighters and also mentioned the potential problems…being attacked for scripting interviews.

    They did not say the UFC does it and actually made it clear that it does not currently happen. Reading this, you make it sound as though Dave said they were currently doing it, the opposite of what he actually said.

  6. BrainSmasher on April 16th, 2012 10:36 PM

    If that is the case that sounds more realistic. Real sports dont have to script interviews like Pro wrestling. Real sports have something called compeition that keeps people watch. Through the process of so many competitors the personalities will shie through. The UFC has 400 fighters and guys coming and going all the time. They dont need to script anything because a percentage of those guys will be smart enough to do and say the right things. A curtain percent will have personalities and draw fans. They dont need to script to make stars. They also have the ability to let the chips fall where they may because they are not following a script that is scheduled to play out for the next year. If out of no where Evans and Jones have a falling out they work with that rivalry. They dont have to script it because drama happens anyway. People get hurt, people get suspended, people rub each other the wrong way. There is no need for the UFC to tell someone who to call and and who not to call out. The match making alone gives the UFC all the control they need. It gives the the ability to put the right personalites and style in a position to have success.

  7. BrainSmasher on April 16th, 2012 10:50 PM

    OK i finally broke down and read that crappy article. Pretty much the biggest bunch of BS i ever read. First Metzer is making up stuff and has no proof any fighter has been told to call someone out. He goes on to say that they only tell that to people they trust and that is why he has no proof. lol

    The entire article is Metzer and the writers of the article talking about how poor the fighters are at faking drama. Disappointed that the fighters dont call out random people for no reason and pretend there is a beef. They mention the UFC gives the fighter a softball question and the fighter doesnt bite. I guess it couldnt possibly be the case that the UFC doesnt tell them to say anything but offer up the question so out of 400 fighters if one has something to say they can. I can take th lcal news and and inter random people and ask “softball questions” if i ask enough people i will get some who give me the drama i want. I dont have to script anything. The UFC puts a mic out there and the fighters get to be themselves. Some deliver and some dont. The ones who dont are not “blowing it” or not in the loop, and the oes who are natuals and shoot from the hip like Chael are not coached or “trusted”.

    Like i said before it is pro wrestling fans who are looking for Pro Wrestling in the UFC. They will see it regardless or reality. I guess every fighter has to be camera shy for fear of them thinking they are coached or every fighter has to fake a rivalry to keep these guys interested. What these guys want is what hurts boxing. For a while every match involved the obligatory scuffle at the weigh ins. No one believed it and it hurt the integrity of the sport and its credibility. People believ e most fueds in the UFC. Almost all of them are based on real tension. No real fan of the sport would want everyone to fake it.

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