Fair Warning: This post will contain many direct quotes that include strong language. The quoting of this language is not an endorsement of the behavior.
When Tomas Rios mistakenly tried to take UFC commentator Joe Rogan to task for his labeling of a kick used in the Nik Lentz/Tyson Griffin bout at UFC 123 a "question mark kick" I don't think anyone expected the snowball of inappropriateness that would follow. The original tweet by Rios, a former Sherdog employee now working for Fighters Only Magazine, was as follows:
"Joe Rogan calling a Brazilian kick the "question mark kick" during Griffin/Lentz is pantheon level cluelessness."
Unfortunately for Rios, "question mark kick" is one of the acceptable names for the move along with "Brazilian kick." Rogan is not the kind of man to let such things slide though and when the tweet by Rios was brought up on the heavily trafficked MMA forums known as "The Underground" it was not long before Rogan showed up to comment:
He's a dumb cunt. That's exactly what it's called. Before it was ever the Brazilian kick it was also called a "fake front kick roundhouse kick."
It was, without a doubt, harsh language but somewhat expected from Rogan, a man who got his start in entertainment as a raunchy stand-up comedian, a profession he continues along with his UFC duties. This led to another post from Rogan on the Underground thread:
Rios no longer writes for Fighters Only magazine. I got him fired. First time I've ever done this to a so called mma journalist, but I've had more than enough of these fucking zeros clogging up the sport with their incompetent bullshit.
You wanted my attention, faggot? You got it.
Clearly it was somewhat counter-productive to claim Rios' incorrect tweet is "clogging up the sport" and "incompetent" when Rogan then lets fly with an anti-gay slur to punctuate his point. As one of the sport's most visible men, Rogan has more of a responsibility than anyone else to try to cut through the stereotypes of what the sport is and only reinforces the negatives with the use of a term like "faggot."
Jonathan Snowden has a rundown of the situation over at Bloody Elbow and he added in:
Here's another example of MMA not quite being ready for primetime. Can you imagine John Madden or Joe Buck going on a popular sport's message board, calling a Sports Illustrated reporter a "f**got" and then bragging about getting them fired? It would be front page news in sports sections nationwide and the lead story on Sports Center. It's entirely unacceptable, if true, that Fighter's Only would allow Rogan to dictate who covers the sport for their magazine or website (the magazine didn't respond to requests for comments prior to publication). The use of the homophobic slur only makes the entire ugly incident just a little sleazier.
Also in that Bloody Elbow piece is a statement from Rios in which he states that, as far as he knows, he is still working for Fighters Only and that he felt Rogan should apologize to those he offended with his language.
Rogan would do just that, but do it in such a clumsy way as to actually be laughable:
I apologize for my use of the word "faggot." I enjoy that word immensely, and although I do not intend for its use to be interpreted as a negative term for homosexuals, but rather as I've always used it to imply that a person is weak and pathetic, which I believe Rios to be. I understand that in this ultra-sensitive, politically correct world we live in one must be careful of the words they choose, for in choosing the wrong one you can give your adversary a new angle of distraction, as I see Rios is concentrating on that now instead of owning up to the fact that he has no fucking idea what the proper terminology of the kick he criticized me of describing was.
What's really important is not a hot button insult word, or a disagreement on terms used to describe techniques, but rather completely incompetent reporters masquerading as martial arts experts. Rios is a negative asshole that consistently insults fighters and produces fight breakdowns that resemble what I would expect from an angry failure with no friends who has spent too much time alone with a thesaurus trying to convince people that he's clever.
I have sat back and watched this shit-head spout out his horrible, disrespectful nonsense for a long time, and was truly happy when he was fired by sherdog, and absolutely perplexed when I found out that Fighters Only Magazine is actually giving him actual real money for the bulls*it he's trying to pass off as journalism.
Fighters Only is one of the very best magazines in the sport, and as per my correspondence with them I'm delighted that I'm not the only one that thinks he's an asshat and a terrible journalist.
When I saw that he had opened his dumb trap about me I welcomed the opportunity to shut him up.
As for my use of the offensive word "faggot" please accept my apologies and replace it with "cock-sucker."
Thank you, and good day.
First, what Rogan does by saying that he doesn't use the word "faggot" to be a negative term for homosexuals but rather "to imply that a person is weak and pathetic" is reinforce the very reason that the term is used as an anti-gay slur to begin with. And he then basically says at the end to replace his use of the term with another term that implies Rios is gay.
I understand that Rogan is a comedian and as such he thinks that many of the rules of respectful behavior don't apply to him. Much like his boss, Dana White, feels that the rules don't apply to him because he has the power in the UFC (remember, White was in hot water not long ago for a similar situation). But, as a representative of the sport, Rogan has a responsibility to appeal to the larger audience, not just the giggling little group of internet fans that feel like they're his best friend because he "connects" with them on forums.
The growth of the sport will be stunted by incidents like this. Times when this doesn't feel like a sport for the masses but rather a macho, insiders-only club. It's not about bringing the "PC-Police" out to play, simply about expecting what is becoming a major sport to have its most visible personalities act like what would be expected from any other sport and stop acting like a renegade group to whom no rules apply.