There are lines that Michael ‘Venom’ Page refuses to cross.
The former Bellator MMA standout will make his highly anticipated UFC debut in March against fan favorite and perennial trash-talker Kevin Holland. As excited as ‘Venom’ is to kickstart the hype train for his clash with Holland at UFC 299, don’t expect MVP to go after his opponents’ parents and significant other just to sell a few extra tickets.
“The trash-talking is going to be good, but respectful,” Page said of his meeting with Holland. “What I’ve been seeing so far in combat sports, I hate. I don’t like people talking about people’s fathers, people’s wives, people’s girlfriends, people’s kids, all of that stuff. We need to go back to martial arts” (h/t MMA Fighting).
Fans saw a lot of the sports’ premiere athletes lower themselves in hopes of generating a few extra views to help line their pockets ahead of last weekend’s UFC 296 card. The most egregious example was Colby Covington who made a vile remark regarding Leon Edwards’ deceased father that drew the ire of fighters and fans alike.
Not to be outdone, both Sean O’Malley and Dricus Du Plessis made light of Sean Strickland’s history growing up in an abusive home. A decision that ultimately led to a fistfight in the stands at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night.
“Everyone seems to have lost themselves a little bit,” Page continued. “I have zero respect for people that feel the need to go that way. We’re skillful athletes, and that should be enough. I’m all for the banter, I’m all for the jokes and keeping it kind of friendly, and that should be enough to build a fight. We can keep the intensity, but it should stay between me and the person that’s fighting, and that’s it.”
‘Venom’ Would Like to see the UFC Re-Introduce Fines
‘Venom’ believes one way the UFC could help quell some of the more colorful language and commentary would be by introducing fines. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time. In 2011, the promotion cut Miguel Torres from the roster for quoting a TV joke about sexual assault. Nate Diaz was once fined for using homophobic language and Matt Mitrione was both fined and suspended after going on a rant about trans fighter Fallon Fox.
“It’s insane,” Page said. “Just do something to kind of alleviate [the problem] – if you’re going to step over the line, I’m not going to punish you open to the public, because it sells, I guess, but there you go. Have that fine. Let’s see how often you’re going to want to do things like that, like the yellow card in football. You don’t want to promote things the wrong way.”
As much as Dana White loves the boost in pay-per-view revenue from the unsavory antics mentioned above, the UFC CEO has made it clear that fighters getting into physical altercations outside the Octagon creates a massive headache for the promotion and the athletic commission.
Unfortunately, both of those things tend to go hand-in-hand when you’re taking things to an unnecessarily personal and downright disgusting level, as evidenced by the full-blown brawl between Sean Strickland and Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 296.
“When it gets that kind of personal, real stuff can actually happen, and it falls back on the UFC,” ‘Venom’ added. “Hopefully, they’ve seen that it’s getting a bit too much, and they tighten it up. But on a positive note, I think me and Holland are going to be the way it should be.”
Do you agree with Michael ‘Venom’ Page? Has trash-talk in the UFC gone too far?