Sportsmanship is one thing, but to butcher all the fun out of a sport for the sake of some feel-good headlines is just unacceptable.
When UFC fighters Benson Henderson and Daniel "Cowboy" Cerrone ran into each other at a gym last week just a few days before their fight, they greeted each other like they were long lost siblings. Traditionally, any pre-fight meetings – organized or otherwise – in combative sports have both the fighters at least trash talking, if not more. These two, however, were more interested in creating brotherhood, which is totally fine if they were meeting for coffee, not about to pulverize each other in the ring.
At their stare down two days before to their fight, Henderson and Cerrone once again had no intention of hiding their love for each other. Even when Dana White asked them to pretend to hate each other, they couldn't. Instead, they hugged and swapped hats, which is fine too.
At the weigh-ins, where brawls have broken out before, the two were again eerily chummy.
With so much brotherly love having already been exchanged, what followed was a drab affair. The entire aggression of the fight had been sucked out with the two fighters' overtly friendly pre-fight gestures. So unwilling the two were to hurt each other that at one point it seemed it was WWE and not UFC. Even Cerrone's coach couldn't help but ask his fighter to speed it up and become more aggressive.
In the end, Cerrone was awarded a unanimous decision win, which most fans thought was a complete joke of a verdict as Henderson had controlled much of their fight. This is where any fighter would lose his mind, but not Hendo, who could only say this when asked if he deserved to lose:
“It is what it is. You’ve got to go back. You’ve got to accept it. You’ve got to man up and move on.”
This is MMA, my man. Not a friendly game of Monopoly.