A true sportsman steps into the MMA cage with an unparalleled respect for the cage they are stepping into and the opponent who has agreed to step into the cage with them to see who’s skill is greater.
The etiquette a fighter shows in and out of the cage shows, reflects on the entire sport. Every martial art has traditions when it comes to the cage, many are trained to bow before stepping into the cage as a sign of respect to the cage and what it means. Although I’m not saying every fighter need to show respect to the cage and other fighters in the same way there are some things that should be done by every fighter to respect themselves, their opponent and the sport.
Not to long ago I had a conversation with a fighter that had lost my respect for the way he acted after losing a fight. The gym he was at had not taught him the etiquette of the cage and after submitting he walked out of the cage before the final announcement disrespecting himself, the cage and most importantly his opponent. After we talked he understood my views and told me he would change his attitude, his new coach also informed me that behavior like that would not be tolerated at his gym.
Not every fighter approaches the cage the same, some enter the cage with focus and calmness, other enter the cage with aggression and anger, but I believe every fighter should follow a few simple rules to maintain the sanctity and etiquette of the cage.
- Respect your opponent (You don’t have to like them, but understand they are there to compete just like you, touch gloves, ect.)
- Remember why you are there (This is a competition of skill)
- Respect yourself in a win or a loss (remember only one person can walk out a winner, a loss is an opportunity to grow)
- Walk out friends (you don’t have to be friends forever, but you two just battled, put all personal things aside and respect that at least for the moment.)
As a person that wants to see this sport grow, I find it important to understand that competitors are in the cage for passion and competition. There will be many on the amateur circuit that don’t understand that, and for the most part they won’t be around very long.