In the past few years, I have asked several mixed martial artists, MMA leaders and fight fans about the appropriacy of trash-talking among fighters. By far, the best answer I received was the one I had from Brave Combat Federation president Mohammed Shahid in an exclusive interview in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
While the Ultimate Fighting Championship allows its fighters to badmouth each other online and offline, ONE Championship is just the opposite. I asked Shahid which side is Brave CF on when it comes to trash-talking.
“It’s all BS, my friend,” Shahid told me. “It’s all BS. Trust me. Let me tell you something. You know we are not in the business of fooling people.”
“The first thing we should think about is that we are not in the business of fooling people,” Shahid continued. “You either have (the) UFC trying to promote and buy trash-talking or you have another side, the opposite side trying to act like they are not trash-talking so they can convince people based on their cultural mindset.”
As Shahid noted, it is not a secret that MMA promotions study the culture of their target audience and based on their findings, they give what their fans want to hear. But in Brave CF, athletes are not encouraged to trash-talk but they are not prohibited from doing so either.
“Who am I tell you to trash-talk or to be nice?” Shahid pointed out. “You, guys, are fighters. Do what the heck you want, you know.”
Brave CF does not dictate how its athletes should behave just to follow a brand image. The promotion gives its fighters a platform and they can do whatever they want with it, Shahid said.
“You’re (an) Arab fighter, show me your Arabic culture,” Shahid noted. “You’re not, you’re (an) Arab fighter who is in the U.S. and living an American life, why not? I wouldn’t…”
“Why is bad if a Filipino fighter, or a Southeast Asian or an Asian fighter live things of living an American life, or an American fighter things of living an Arab life?” the Brave CF president asked. “Why? What’s the problem?”
Apparently, Brave CF is not interested in creating a brand based on the reputation of its fighters. The promotion has no plans in controlling the fighters’ social media activities either.
“Why is an MMA promotion trying to judge people?” Shahid asked. “‘They’re trash-talkers.’ Why not? Why not? He can trash-talk if he wants to. He doesn’t like you. What’s the problem with you? What’s the problem? Why are you crying about judging, ‘This is a trash-talker. It means he is a bad man.’”
Reigning Brave CF Bantamweight Champion Stephen “The Sniper” Loman, 23, is training out of Team Lakay in Baguio City, Philippines. Many Team Lakay fighters are signed with ONE Championship, which is not known for having fighters who trash-talk each other.
Loman is not the kind of fighter who wreaks havoc by trash-talking. But if he decides to do so, Brave CF would not mind.
On March 15, 2019, Loman will defend his title for the third time. Former Brave CF Featherweight Champion Elias “Smile” Boudegzdame, 25, of France will challenge the Team Lakay fighter at “Brave 22: Storm of Warriors” at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
Like Loman, Boudegzdame is also not into trash-talking. Meanwhile, watch my full interview with Shahid here: