top of page

On Sportsmanship

Unless you’ve had your head under a rock I’m fairly sure you saw the events from last nights UFC229?

It brings a bright light to the values we have often considered central to sports, one of the reasons kids are encouraged to learn and play sports.

Values that the likes of McGregor, Khabib of the UFC, Neymar of Soccer and many others either have forgotten or simply never learned.

My own background is Karate, I grew up practicing Wado Ryu Karate and took part in many tournaments. And I’ve seen coaches (including my own) banned from the sidelines for improper behavior, points removed from fighter for poor etiquette and even disqualification.

This is also very common in Judo.  Players are disqualified fairly frequently in the sport of Judo for not upholding the spirit of Judo, be that showboating after a win or refusing to shake hands.

I love that this happens.

It lets the athletes know that they are sportsmen and have to act like it. Watch a Rugby team form a tunnel for their opponents to walk though and shake hands with everyone. Watch what happens when when a Rugby player argues with the ref!!

This is what we want our kids to see, hear and learn.

Not watching Neymar roll around like a spoiled child trying to influence the game. Not seeing their UFC hero throwing loading trolleys at buses or a melee breaking out after an otherwise well fought match.

I’m not saying that we need to go to extremes such as this:

Although, that is pure class!

But sportmanship, sportsmanlike behavior, used to mean something.

Especially in the martial arts where the idea of respect has been a central tenet of the training from day 1

Every athlete is a role model whether they like it or not. And if the athlete is young and hot headed, that is perfectly fine so long as their coach has them under control, has them briefed on how to behave and if constantly helping them improve their behavior as much as they are helping them improve their game.

This is not naive to expect. The slide has only been happening in recent years. It’s time to stem the slide, to bring honour and respect back to the table. To set a better example for the next generation.

And it’s not just me that thinks this way…

Incredible performance by both fighters @thenotoriousmma and @khabib_nurmagomedov But to end it like they did was a huge embarrassment to the sport. We (fighters)are sportsmen and champions and we should hold ourselves to a higher standard. We owe it to our fans and the sport itself. I don’t know when things started turning into some kind of shit show?!!! Unfortunately, when you allow more and more B.S. during weigh ins and outside of fights; You only slap fighters on the wrist for acting like barbarians and then offer them bigger contracts and reward them for this behavior. There is no penalty for their actions and it condones this type of behavior and consequently our sport loses its sacred respect. #respect #honor #martialarts #champion #goldenboypromotions #timeshavechanged #sportsmanship #whatashame

A post shared by Chuck Liddell (@chuckliddell) on Oct 6, 2018 at 10:31pm PDT

What do you think?

Let me know in the comments below


Dave Hedges

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page