Combat sports can seem somewhat paradoxical at times. There are very few sporting endeavours outside fighting in which competitors routinely show each other such little respect before a contest and even fewer where athletes show each other more respect afterwards.
Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz provided a perfect example of this conduct a couple of weeks back. In the brief lead-up to their UFC 196 scrap, the pair lambasted each other with all manner of unflattering remarks. Diaz accused McGregor of being a steroid user on more than one occasion, while the SBG product disparaged the Stockton fighter’s intellect and rubbished his ‘gangster’ persona.
In the immediate aftermath of battle, however, the fighters embraced, and at the post-fight presser they were very complimentary of each other’s abilities.
At Sunday’s UFC Fight Night event in Brisbane MMA fans caught another glimpse of such behaviour.
In the dying seconds of a lightweight contest, Australia’s Jake Matthews submitted Johnny Case with a rear-naked choke to bring an end to the American’s 12-fight unbeaten run. It was an intense affair that followed a rather tetchy build-up. The fighters had exchanged hostilities through social media and, in an interview with MMAJunkie during the week, Case had labelled Matthews a “punk”.
Despite all this, the young combatants showed each other nothing but respect after the bout had ended.
Before the official announcement, cameras caught a conversation between the defeated Iowa native and his 21-year-old conqueror that won’t fail to put a smile on the face of even the most hardened fight fan.
“What a good fist-fight brother,” exclaimed Case, before the pair commended each other’s performance and shared their plans for the evening.
Warriors and gentlemen.