Vitor Belfort has been a professional MMA fighter since, well, before the sport was even being called “MMA.”
So, while he’s had more than his share of controversies, the man they call “The Phenom” is a man who has an audience which respects his opinion.
(Another is his next opponent, Dan Henderson, who Belfort will face in Brazil November 7.)
Anyway, according to the former light heavyweight champion (and UFC 12 tournament winner) Belfort, respect is one thing that’s missing in a certain interim featherweight champion: Conor McGregor.
It seems “The Phenom” believes McGregor’s antics, including a barrage of verbal taunts at division champ Jose Aldo, stepped over the line from sport to spectacle — and not in a good way.
Belfort posted an image to his Instagram account yesterday with the following caption:
“This is a legend fight Belfort vs Henderson 3. We don’t need trash talk to sell tkts. I am wondering if one day MMA will be seen more like a sport and less than entertainment? It seems that we are going to the wrong way. A good example is Aldo ( real athlete) and Mc Gregor( trash talker). To become a Olympic sport we have to apply the Olympic values not only the Olympic rules. Where is the RESPECT?!? I don’t want to see our kids thinking that to become a successful MMA athlete you have to talk crap instead of respecting others. Real martial arts is not about this!!! We need a good example starting from the organizations, fighters and extending to the media and fans. It is a free consulting !!! I have a voice!!!!”
What do you think? Is McGregor, as we used to say as MMA struggled to find mainstream acceptance in the early 2000’s, “bad for the sport?” Or is Vitor out of touch with what sells tickets and gets the fans excited?