Coach’s Corner: What constitutes good sportsmanship?

Brock Lesnar rubs it in after his win over Frank Mir at UFC 100. Photo credit: Zuffa, LLC.

What is good and bad sportsmanship? This is a topic that has been debated by many with no one actually putting exact parameters on what is “good” and what is “bad”.

Try as we might to find the stone that lists the commandments of sportsmanship they continue to elude us.

We need to be honest with ourselves, there is really no way to put finite labels on right or wrong, good or bad in sport because in many cases the actions of an athlete are subjective.

Let’s use some events in the UFC as examples of obvious and subjective cases of poor sportsmanship.

I don’t think anyone can argue that Paul Daley hitting Josh Koshceck after their fight was one of the worst acts of poor sportsmanship in UFC history, resulting in Daley being justifiably removed from the organization permanently.

That is about as blatant as it gets when talking about unsportsmanlike behavior.

It is when we talk about instances like Brock Lesnar‘s treatment of Frank Mir immediately following their second fight where the subjectivity comes in.

If you’re a fan of Mir or Frank himself,  Lesnar verbally berating Mir after soundly defeating him was in very poor taste, and a slap in the face of true martial artists around the world.

On the other hand, if you are Brock Lesnar (who, for right or wrong, really didn’t like Mir) you and your fans feel your actions were totally justified. See the dilemma?

Like many things in life, it depends on who’s “window” you are looking out of. Personally I think Brock went a little too far with the tongue lashing, I mean he had already beat him physically, I don’t think the words hurt near as bad as the fist pounding.

That being said, there is no rule that says Brock or any other fighter has to shake hands or talk with his opponent or anyone from his opponent’s corner following a fight.

The real winners when you have fighters who dwell in that grey area between good and bad sportsmanship are the promoters who have them on their shows.

It is the fighters like Josh Koshcheck and Brock Lesnar who play the role of the bad guy that often sell more tickets than anyone.

People either identify with them and hope they continue to win, or they want to see the “villain” get beat. In the end everyone wants to see them fight, and promoters love them for it.

I have a little homework for anyone who has the time. I have been involved in several fights where the actions of a fighter were questionable post-fight. The most recent of these instances being last weekend’s rematch between Nate “The Train” Landwehr of Team Wildside – Clarksville, Tenn., and Alex Anderson of Team Nemesis – Nashville, Tenn.

The fight is posted below and I encourage everyone to take a look and hit me up with your feed back. There was some bad blood between these two after a controversial decision in their first fight. I am curious what people think of Landwehr’s post-fight reaction after defeating Anderson via KO.

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