Behind The Scenes: The Hate Issue

February 23, 2012

Nick Peet, Editor, Fighters Only and Train Hard, Fight Easy

‘Hate is such a strong word, but I really don’t like you.’ To hate someone, to actually detest their mere presence, is something most human beings have unfortunately experienced at one time or another. Whether it was a school bully, a torturous PE teacher, your self-obsessed boss that forces you to work weekends while he walks the fairways in stupid plus fours, or simply just everyone who works for the Inland Revenue. Hate is an emotion we have all felt at some point. And it’s so powerful, it’s a shame to waste it.

Being capable of harnessing that intense feeling of contempt and then use anger and aggression as allies is the key to maximum productivity. It’s a lesson in self-control many of you have never been required to, or even thought about, master before. Yet it is one of the most important skills in becoming a professional athlete.

Hate can also fuel desire. It’s a facet of combat sports that goes back centuries. Pride and glory run side by side against fear and jealousy, hate’s own sparring partners, and those human characteristics are perhaps more prevalent today than ever. After all, sports psychology is now part of the armour of every world-class athletic performer.

Take Nick and Nate Diaz for instance, perhaps the two most hate-filled fighters in the history of mixed martial arts. They actively drive to antagonise, refuse to conform to authority and seemingly do what they want when they want. Yet once the bell goes it’s all business and their street fighting style and ‘f**k everybody’ attitudes have elevated them both into being two of the most definitive fighters in their respective weight classes.

In this issue we investigate the role hate has in professional sport, and how the Octagon has become a breeding ground for hate as competitive rivalry – more often than not nurtured during seasons of The Ultimate Fighter – and sports psychology tactics have become key factors in each of the seven weight divisions. FO catches up with Georges St Pierre’s brain coach Brian Cain to catch a glimpse into the make-up of a fighter’s mind. Whilst Diaz mentor, Cesar Gracie, offers an insight into the minds of America’s infamous bad boy brothers.

Over the years tonnes of MMA fighters have run up fierce rivalries with one another and so we also roll with a handful of the guys involved in some of the most famous public bust-ups. Tito Ortiz, Frank Mir and Josh Koscheck are all included inside – while the two guys at the centre of perhaps one of the most intriguing grudge matches in modern-day MMA, Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber, also give us their take on sporting rivalry ahead of their coaching roles on the new season of The Ultimate Fighter.

Speaking from his base in San Diego, UFC bantamweight champion Cruz reveals what drives him and the secrets of that cool unorthodox, high-octane fighting style which has landed him on top of the world’s 145lb division. Plus his coach at Alliance MMA, Eric Del Fierro, admits for the first time he’s keen to stoke the flames, after the success his Chula Vista team enjoyed in 2011.

Nate Diaz also discusses, in his own inimitable style, his opinions on hate, and we turn back the clock to one of the most infamous hate-filled moments in MMA history, when on New Year’s Eve in 2009 the Aoki vs Hirota champion of champions match witnessed the effects of what happens when rivalry turns brutal.

But please don’t fret, we had to balance the ying and the yang, so there is also plenty of love running through the 132 action-packed pages also. Our final feature investigates why some fighters – like Brian Stann and Randy Couture – are impossible to hate. And we’ve also got all the usual unmissable news, reviews and previews to get stuck into… Plus, we go viral training with Frank Mir’s grappling coach Ricky Lundell, and referee Marc Goddard reveals the 10 commandments of being a quality MMA official.

And finally, check out our review of the third instalment of the UFC Undisputed video game series.

This issue is on sale in the UK now. Enjoy.

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