Usman Sounds the Alarm: Toxic Trash Talk and the Lure of McGregor-Style Fame

The former UFC welterweight champion believes that fighters no longer know boundaries

by Sededin Dedovic
Usman Sounds the Alarm: Toxic Trash Talk and the Lure of McGregor-Style Fame
© Carmen Mandato / Getty Images

UFC 296 is behind us, although it may not have delivered what was expected of it, but the verbal sparring before the fight still resonates in the MMA world. Colby Covington's fiery words calling Leon Edwards to the "seventh circle of hell" have left many wondering: where do we draw the line at trash talk? Edwards, visibly affected, sparked a debate: how far is too far? Should the UFC get involved and start punishing fighters for inappropriate words, some of which can be quite disgusting.

Kamaru Usman, a veteran of two Covington wars. On the PBD podcast, he disagrees with external control. "These are grown people," he said. "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." But is it just the heat or something darker? Is there a point at which words cross over into unacceptable personal attacks? Usman revealed to us his way of looking at this situation.

It's all a matter of upbringing

''I don't think it's Dana White's job. Dana is a promoter and his job is to promote fights. He has a whole company to look after. This is a combat sport and it's hard to say to two grown men, 'Hey, don't say this.'

This is not a prearranged scenario. As the man I am today and as someone who grew up like I did, I understand where the boundaries are. There are boundaries that simply cannot be crossed. I think it's about upbringing,'' Usman began, then added.

"We are in a strange time now where everyone wants to be seen and everyone wants to be heard. We are overwhelmed with information. We have microphones, mobile phones and we all want to be as exposed as possible. People are ready to say anything, regardless of whether they are men or women, they are ready to say anything, just to be noticed.

Some of them have thoughts running through their heads: 'No one will notice me if I don't cross the border' I've never been that kind of guy. I don't think it worked to my advantage to some extent. Some people didn't like the fact that I dominated all my opponents without belittling them.

There was no line McGregor wasn't willing to cross. We saw where that got him. He is without a doubt the most popular MMA fighter ever. With all that, today we have a lot of kids who think to themselves: 'I can say and do whatever I want, because that will make me famous,''' Kamaru explained.