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Opening Round: Hate is Such a Strong Word

It seems like every time UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones straps on his gloves to compete inside the Octagon he can’t be beaten regardless of who is standing across from him in the cage. The truth is Jones can’t win, at least in the eyes of some fans.

Fight four times in a year? Not good enough. Assist in stopping a fleeing criminal? It must have been staged. Face a trio of former champions and finish them in convincing fashion? Show off. Exhibit great humility as a 24-year old on top of the world with the weight of infinite hype? You’re faking it. Or the most recent one…Let a sleeping Lyoto Machida fall to the canvas rather than gently laying him on the mat as though he was Jesus in an eight-sided manger? A move clearly showing he is a disrespectful and a downright dirty competitor.

“One does not hate as long as one has a low esteem of someone, but only when one esteems him as an equal or a superior.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Perhaps it’s always been this way and only appears to be a more prevalent attitude based on the ability to anonymously insult a person’s accomplishments via online avenues but Jones seems to be a victim of modern society’s desire to hate on highly successful individuals who don’t appear to have many flaws. Jones falls into this category in that he is in an envious position – young, well-spoken, wealthy, good looking, and beyond successful in his chosen endeavor. He’s funny, he’s in touch with his spiritual side, and he has “swagger”. Yet for all his positives he doesn’t seem to have a real negative. He’s not known to be rude outside of the public eye, he’s not one to party wildly or engage in trouble. He’s never tested positive for a drug, gotten a DWI, or been arrested for any reason.

And so, like a group of vultures looking over a fresh carcass, a large contingent of people try to pick him apart in hopes of exposing some sort of hidden treat beneath the outer layer. It’s like the old internet joke about looking at a picture of a beautiful supermodel and fretting about her elbows being too pointy, except in the case of Jones folks would complain about his elbows not being pointy enough to be a real ground-and-pound threat (though Machida’s post-UFC 140 forehead would disagree with such an assertion).

“We hate some persons because we do not know them; and will not know them because we hate them.” – Charles Caleb Colton

The sad thing is Jones’ “good guy” demeanor seems to be genuine, meaning thousands of people will literally never understand what a sensational talent he is because they’re consumed with utter disdain for a man who has given them no real reason to feel that way. Jones may be a once-in-a-generation Mixed Martial Artist and half of his career if not more will be a blur for many because their focus was on the wrong things.

If you are reading this as one of Jones’ detractors I respect your right to have an opinion but question your reasoning. As a 24-year old, are you or would you have behaved any better than someone in Jones’ position? Have his sins truly been any worse than those of his peers…you know, the ones you still blindly cheer for?

“Love me or hate me, but spare me your indifference.” – Libbie Fudim

The silver-lining involved is that regardless of your view on Jones chances are you have one. You think he’s an incredibly gifted competitor with a refreshing attitude or you think he’s a smug son of a gun that lucked his way into smashing out-of-shape contenders. No matter the emotion chances are you still want to see him whether in victory or getting legitimately humbled in a nose-dive, knockout loss. You care, and because you care you will tune in and spend money on the UFC’s product.

Actually, now that I put it that way, perhaps Jones has won after all.

What do you think about the subject on today’s “Opening Round”? Tell us on our Twitter account (@mmatraining)!

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