Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight titleholder, Khabib Nurmagomedov, no-showed the UFC 242 media day on Thursday, not only to focus on his 155-pound weight cut, but also to avoid answering the same stupid questions reporters have been asking for the past three months.
I certainly understand his frustration, but every media member tries to use an original quote they sourced themselves, so you end up with 75 different people all angling for the same copy. That’s the price of fame and one of the burden’s of headlining a major pay-per-view (PPV) card.
Which is why the promotion forced him to hold court after the UFC 242 weigh ins.
“Why I don’t talk with media? Because three months, same questions,” Nurmagomedov told the press (via MMA Fighting) ahead of his Dustin Poirier title defense in Abu Dhabi. “Father? What do you think about Dustin? What do you think? You respect him? No? How was your training camp? 90 percent same thing. Right now, same thing.”
Safe to say some butts were hurt by Thursday’s disappearing act.
“I know a lot of fans will say ‘who cares,’ but some media left their families and flew across the world to be there,” veteran MMA reporter, Mike Chiappetta, wrote about Nurmagomedov. “Khabib preaches respect and professionalism, but this ain’t it.”
“Right now, I want to leave but they say no, you have to go,” Nurmagomedov said after the UFC 242 weigh ins (full results here). “You guys have 90 percent same questions. How many times I give answer about my father? Maybe for this week 15 or 20. One question.”
When I started in this business over a decade ago, I used to do interviews all the time. Most of them were fun, like this conversation with Nick Diaz. Others were a pain in the ass, like when I tried to talk to Quinton Jackson.
Either way, I made an effort to ask the same questions fans were pondering on the message boards and I can remember Georges St-Pierre wincing when I asked him if he was responsible for getting Diego Sanchez kicked out of Jackson’s MMA.
I stopped doing interviews several years back once UFC started asking me to submit my questions in advance for review. I decided to skip phoners and just stick to live, in-person conversations. Then I got told I was not allowed to ask Ronda Rousey about her loss to Holly Holm in “Rowdy’s” first interview since getting planished at UFC 193.
“What the fuck am I supposed to talk about?” I asked. They said, “Well ... ask her about her sponsors!”
I’m sure I can’t be the only one with this experience (or one similar), which is probably why fighters like Nurmagomedov get the same five questions for three straight months.