This Saturday’s brawl at Strikeforce: Nashville, prompted many heated opinions, one of which included Cesar Gracie, who had four of his top fighters involved in the incident. And although he knows the fight was definitely bad press, Gracie feels it was blown way out of proportion.
“My biggest problem with what happened is that it distracted from the fights,” Gracie said on Sunday. “(We) just saw two of my very best guys have masterful performances – tactically, physically and everything – and people are talking about the post-fight fight that should have never happened.”
The trouble started after one of Gracie’s students, Jake Shields, defeated Dan Henderson. Jason “Mayhem” Miller ran into the cage and demanded a rematch, where Shields then proceeded to shove Miller and started a in-cage dispute that included mostly all of the Gracie team who had attended the event. Brothers Nick and Nate Diaz were involved, as well as Gilbert Melendez who had fought that night.
Shields apologized right after the incident as well as Nick Diaz, Melendez and Miller, who made apologies to the public and Strikeforce officials later on.
Cesar was not at the event when the fight broke out, but has since spoken to his team.
“I told them that this distracts from the real fights,” he said. “It doesn’t help anybody. Nobody’s getting paid for fighting after the fight. It makes crybabies come out there and talk about it more, and then we have to do interviews talking about crybabies.”
“So a fight broke out at a fight. That’s not a good thing, and I’m not condoning it … but a lot of people are jumping on this because they’re babies. The same night, they had an NBA fight. They want to talk about a fight at an MMA fight between MMA fighters.”
But Gracie disagrees that the fight was bad for the sport and could skew the public perception of MMA.
“How would it be damaging?” he said. “If you’re a sports fan, you’re used to seeing fights all the time. It’s really, seriously, a bunch of pussies latching on to this and trying to make it a bigger deal than it is. Is it a good thing? It’s not a good thing. We’re sorry. Everybody involved has apologized.But you’ve got a lot of crybabies that are going to latch on to this to the bitter end, but they’re not going to say anything when a hockey game has fights every night. Young sport, old sport – people are making a much bigger deal than this. It’s hype; it’s all hype.”
Yesterday Gracie apologized to the director of the Tennessee Athletic Commission, Jeffrey Mullen and to Strikeforce officials. It has also been reported that the TAC has opened an investigation regarding the incident.
But all in all Gracie is hoping that the issue can be put behind and the sport continues to move in a favorable direction.
“Let the dust settle a little bit,” he said. “This stuff happens. Let’s grow from it and not do it again.”