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Fake hype?

There’s a lot of talk from people about how BJ Penn took Sean Sherk aside after his fight on Saturday to tell him all that steroid talk was hype and he didn’t mean it:

The main event featured another breaking kayfabe moment. Immediately after the fight Penn told Sherk (in a “private” conversation overheard by the production) that he told him he was going to make this the biggest fight in history, that he respected him, and to come train with him anytime. This was coming on the heels of a promotional campaign that explicitly focused on how each man hated the other (SEE: UFC 83 Review: Breaking Kayfabe).

The worry of course is that all the rivalries that have pumped us up … Ortiz vs Shamrock, GSP vs Serra, Penn vs Sherk, have featured manufactured and insincere heat. If that’s the case for too long, people will start looking at MMA like pro wrestling, where every fight is set up with some sort of bullshit whatever to make us give a shit.

Here’s the deal: more often than not I’d bet that the words spoken after the fight are more false than the feuds leading up to them. We discussed this on the Low Blow, where once a dude proves his alpha male status in the cage there’s no more need for verbal sparring. Their positions have been set in stone, and the winner will often be gracious and downplay all the shit talking done leading up to the fight because it doesn’t really matter any more.

But when you think about it, do you really think Sean Sherk will take BJ Penn’s offer up to train in Hawaii? Do you think GSP really didn’t care about being kicked out of Renzo Gracie’s training by Serra? And while Tito and Ken both said it was just business, it’s not like you’re ever going to catch them hanging out together. So yeah, while I agree that casual viewers may be confused watching fighters kiss and make up after a fight, the majority of us know that there’s often very real reasons for the feuds that build up in MMA.

  • asdfasd

    The feuds are real for sure but maybe overhyped to sell fights. The make up afterwards is just being professional and showing class. After all, the fight’s over so what’s the point?

  • Houston “Glass Jaw” Alexander

    Don’t ever use the term kayfabe in your mma articles. THAT’s the thing that’s going to make people think mma is heading down the road to nonsensical bullshit pro wrestling crap. UGH.

    Did you guys see Jardine do his Houston Alexander impression ? That was fun.

  • crs

    I don’t think it automatically makes UFC the new WWF just because fighters are creating drama to sell tickets. Ali was actually accepting handouts from Joe Fraizer when he was banned from fighting and still called him an Uncle Tom to sell their fight. Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis were on friendly terms but knew claiming a fake leg bite and threatening child eating would sell those 2 million PPVs way more than their mediocre fight did. Who cares if they’re faking hostility, it’s still entertaining.

  • garth

    “Who cares if they’re faking hostility, it’s still entertaining.”

    that IS pro wrestling. fake hostility that’s entertaining.

  • crs

    But the fights are real, unlike WWF, which only entertains trailer park residents and homosexuals. As long as the outcome of the fake hatred isn’t two baby oiled up roid freaks in speedos fake slapping each other in a homoerotic theatre, it’s entertaining.

  • nephildevil


    that is just like a drunk bar fight, after slugging it out for a while u’ve got it out of yer system and u can have a beer together :)

  • Asbel

    crs has fake slapped the correct. People didn’t leave boxing over the fake hype so it won’t hurt mma. It’s just part of fight sports cuz people like a little drama.

  • KB

    My heart would break if I find out that Melvin Guillard and Rich Clementi were lovers.

  • Lifer

    i think it’s funny that he offered to train jens pulver and they were all loving on each other and then bj turns around and trains uriah faber for his fight against pulver.


  • kwagnuth

    BJ should have humped the back of Sherks head. That would have silenced the critics.

  • Xavier

    Spot on and you should have noted that Penn is a master of this. Think back to the Pulver fight, Penn is shit-talking him to the extreme… then after he demolishes him in the fight, he hugs him, whispers in his ear and Pulver gets all excited to go “train with BJ Penn” and that their feud is quashed. Oh yeah?

    BJ Penn for the Faber/Pulver fight trained with Urijah Faber, not Jens f’n Pulver. Penn is nice after he kicks your ass, but I guarantee you’ll never see him “say his comments weren’t true” if he loses a fight. And that training line is his typical bullshit so that he comes off as the “good guy” to the fans.