This sport we call mixed martial arts (MMA) incorporates a high volume of emotional discharge. Considering how much would be said before a schoolyard scrap or barroom brawl, it's sometimes admirable to see how far some of the best fighters in the sport today go to bite their tongues.
But even if fighters slip up and things are said that simply cross the line, whether it be egregious slurs against religion, sexual orientation, or nationality, the most important step to take is to penalize the act the same away across the board. Unfortunately, that has not been the case in the most recent verbal no-no captured under UFC watch.
While there should be no difference in how a fighter is punished for using the term "f*ggot," it seems as if the largest promotion in MMA today has made a pretty big mistake in doing so.
If you remember, UFC star Nate Diaz was fined $20,000 and suspended for 90 days back in 2013 for calling Bryan Caraway "the biggest f*g in the world" via Twitter.
Yet in a recent exchange with Luke Rockhold at a post-fight press conference following UFC 199 on June 4, 2016, newly crowned Middleweight champion Michael Bisping can be heard clearly expressing the same language and has not received any sort of punishment or fine from UFC.
Bisping's heated clash with Rockhold can be seen below (courtesy of ESPN's Arash Markazi):
Bisping and Rockhold still going at it after the post fight press conference. pic.twitter.com/Ojiiwlo9O1— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) June 5, 2016
While these two particular examples possess a difference in audience, seeing as Diaz's statement was made public on the biggest social media platform known to man and Bisping's was caught backstage among members of the press, there should never be a line drawn when it comes to hurtful language. And unless the promotion has changed its policy regarding that word over the span of three years, they need to uphold the same standards in 2016 that were used in 2013.
It should be noted that Diaz has had plenty of issues with the promotion in the past, but nothing that should set him apart from "The Count" in this instance. Even Bisping himself mumbled after the incident, "I shouldn't have said that." He has since apologized for the remarks in an attempt to do some patchwork.
For everything that UFC has done in the past to ensure an even playing field both inside of the cage and out of it, it seems as if the promotion dropped the proverbial ball on this one. Diaz is certainly an easier target to pinpoint and punish, but Bisping understood the word that was coming out of his mouth and should be held accountable just like anyone else.