Nobody is afraid of Khamzat Chimaev, according to one ranked UFC welterweight, a legend is setting his parameters for a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov, and MMA is infiltrating OnlyFans. Huh?
Finding the proper response to much of the news finding its way into our social media feeds is becoming a tougher task every day. Nothing is surprising anymore, and there’s always more to the story. Leaving us with one reply: “huh?”
Last week, UFC welterweight Michael Chiesa said that nobody is afraid of fellow 170-pounder Khamzat Chimaev, Georges St. Pierre discussed his potential bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov, and MMA fighters are supplementing their income on OnlyFans. Huh.
The reason “huh?”, in its various forms, is such a quality reply is simple. The word is as versatile as a response gets, and while it may require some explanation, “huh?” is sometimes the only way to react to the news of today. Defined by Merriam-Webster as an interjection that’s “used to express surprise, disbelief, or confusion, or as an inquiry inviting affirmative reply”, “huh” or “huh?” can mean a lot of different things.
Despite some of the follies of evolution (see: Black Lung), the development and growth of “huh” is something we should embrace. To be the change we want to see in the world, here are a few MMA stories last week that made us go “huh?”
Michael Chiesa: fighting Khamzat Chimaev isn’t smart business
According to eighth-ranked UFC welterweight Michael Chiesa, taking a bout with Khamzat Chimaev isn’t smart business for most ranked fighters in the division. Huh.
“If he beats me, he takes my spot. If I beat him, they’re like, ‘Oh, it’s a flash in the pan.’ You know what I mean? I probably don’t move up the rankings either. It’s like, dude, I’m trying to fight for a world title. You’ve got to do smart business. … The guy is legit. I respect his skills. I just don’t know if that’s the fight I want right now. He beats a guy and gets ranked? That’s a different story,” explained Chiesa.
“I can see why all these guys don’t want to fight him. It’s not that they’re (scared). There’s not a guy on the roster that’s afraid of anybody. When someone says, ‘Joe Schmo is afraid of John Smith?’ Like, (expletive) no.” – via MMA Mania
Chiesa is right. And it’s kind of crazy that it needs to be said. Professional fighters aren’t afraid of fighting. The fact that there’s a list of more than a dozen people who have agreed to fight Francis Ngannou should be proof enough.
The truth is professional MMA is as much a business as it is a sport. Some businesses (fighters) are more risk averse than others, especially when competing at the highest level. Regardless of the potential stylistic or talent disadvantages, a fight making sense financially and for the potential growth of a fighter’s career are the most important aspects of high-level matchmaking.
If there’s going to be a higher level of risk, like fighting an up-and-coming but unranked fighter, the reward needs to match that risk. As Chiesa points out, when it comes to Chimaev right now, the risk:reward ratio is out of whack.
Maybe if fighters were paid more, and winning belts wasn’t the only way to make the major paydays every ranked contender is working toward, they’d be more willing to take fights that could delay or derail their rise to title contention.