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Trashtalking and taunting in a few words

Hype. Scandal. Heated exchanges. Pre-fight press conferences gone bad. Interviews in live television with both fighters. Exchanges over the social media. And many other specific mechanisms made to spin the wheels of notoriety under a shade of contrast and a shade of conflict.

A fight that has a good story, sells almost by itself. But when the story isn’t self-sustaining, some of the most wise guys from these sports prepare the audeon for “the fight they’ve been waiting for”, “the fight everyone wants to see”. Their under-contract fight.

While not to blame, most to enjoy and some to criticize, this hype-machine adds the flavour of the fight before the fight actually takes place. Gone are the days of the few-times-a-year fights from K-1. The fighting sports, especially MMA, are now not just crowded in fans, but became crowded in fighters as well. The striking department in K-1 for example had humongous amounts of fighters from the Netherlands, which was considered the Dutch Home of Kickboxing.  Also the Thai people with their traditional Muay Thai turned into a sport also brought amazing figures, but had fallen behind due to the restricting rules of the K-1 kickboxing and their inadaptability towards them.
And as those were the majority in K-1, in MMA we got a lot of american wrestlers and brasilians that have a BJJ background and some british or irish amateur boxers who had prepared for this type of competition.

In this river of incoming fighters, as a fighter you still need to have something to make you relevant and memorable, besides your results, which, obviously are mandatory.

That’s where the hype and trashtalking come to mind from a publicity perspective.
Getting the situation to a more dynamic reaction from the opponent is the name of the game. Slurs, challenges and other gimmicks became more and more of a game of juking, especially with the political correctness era. Which brought only losses for everyone in every domain.

And as the menu of things you could say has reduced feelingly, trashtalking became another form of indirect martial art. Amongst some black-belt trashtalkers we could mention Conor McGregor and Chael Sonnen. Chael Sonnen’s antique against Anderson Silva and the brasilians remain epic to this day. Nonetheless funny.

Some also would state that trashtalking could mess up with a fighter’s head. An angry fighter is more prone to lose a match at that level.
Talking down, calling names and mocking results are just basic tools in this basket.

But let’s not mix up, by mistake, trashtalking to taunting.
Trashtalking is done pre-fight or before the fight is set to build a story, an experience, hype, a conflict behind a sportish combat show.

Taunting is challenging a fighter to attack via gestures and/or words. And it’s a special skill to own, especially in a sport like this. You can’t simply taunt during a fight while being too close or with your hands completely down or close to your face. You need to control the distance and the space, especially sideways and always be ready wether to leave, backwards, sidestep, have headmovement-related reactions and/or strike like a flash during the taunt.

The striking gets dangerous if taunting is done too close. You might be caught with your mouth opened. Metaphorically or literally. Few people could taunt with their chin down and still draw a reaction.

The powerful effect of the trashtalking comes especially when its about an extraordinarily unorthodox fighter who can both perform and trashtalk. Trashtalking into a fight who can’t be backed up by actions is usually besides a sports fail also a publicity fail. Credibility goes only that far. And even if you’re only as good as your last fight, your un-backed up trashtalking piles up into a major stack of failures, reminding everyone of your losses. They won’t remember your losses in humbleness, but they’ll remember your losses done after trashtalking.


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