As much I want Bellator to succeed, every time I watch i find myself cringing several times. Last night was no exception. Moments I discuss for Valerie Loureda at 1:23:08 and AJ Agazarm at 1:52:14
The first moment was the match up between Valeria Loureda vs Tara Graff. Loureda lands a nice overhand right with just 10 seconds left in the second round and manages to get a TKO at the buzzer.
What’s wrong with that?
Nothing wrong with that at all. It was an excellent finish. It’s what happens immediately afterwards. If you watch the video above on YouTube (hopefully they don’t take it offlline), you will see that she breaks out into a booty dance like she is on a Tik Tok video.
That’s just weird to me. It’s one thing to be excited, pump your fist in the air, do a flip, etc. But trying to be sexy after you knock someone out just seems like attention seeking at the highest level. She then follows it up by screaming and I quote, “I’m a bad bitch!” And then confirming my previous statement, “I’m on Instagram.”
I could have lived without that, but then again, it worked. She caught a bunch of headlines as a prelim fighter, on par with the Bellator Champion Michael Chandler who KOed Benson Henderson in the first round.
I get the why, I just don’t like the how. To be clear, I don’t see it as disrespectful to her opponent (which she approached afterwards to check on her), it just seems unclassy to me. But I guess I’m old fashioned.
The next cringe worthy moment was from AJ Agazarm vs Cris Lencioni. AJ has been playing a “heel” since his BJJ days, always picking fights and trading insults in a really forced and cheesy fashion. That in itself is always cringey, but this fight lowered the bar.
There was clearly bad blood between the fighters, and it seems that Cris was trash talking the whole time. I think that frustrated AJ, who couldn’t get anything going in the fight. At one point, AJ seems to deliver a clear head butt from the mount (arguably his most significant strike), but got a pass from the ref.
At the end of each round, AJ would be kicking Cris off of him and they would have to be separated by the referee. Honestly, points could have been taken and I would have been okay with it.
At the end, Cris won the fight by decision and AJ refused to shake hands with him. That’s not good sportsmanship, but it happens in fighting. But what made this worse is that referee Mike Beltran tried to force AJ to shake hands – chasing him around the cage and grabbing hold of him like a dad forcing his sons to squash beef. Except even after he brought them together he still refused.
It was a total disaster all caught on video. The whole prelim card is available below, the caption has the times of both cringey incidents.
This to me was a far worse offense in the no class department. AJ showed no respect towards the official or the opponent and quite frankly himself. AJ made a complete fool of himself, which seems to be par for the course for him.
To top it off, he made excuses in the post fight interview, saying the fight should be declared a draw because one of the judges was an acquaintance of his. While it is true that shouldn’t have happened and should be investigated, this match was easily a 30-27 decision for Cris. The one judge that scored a round for AJ was the judge he was complaining about.
If you have followed me for some time, I sound like a broken record. But I’ll say it again, I wish we would have better representatives of the martial arts community in the fight game.
What we have here are attention seekers, looking for fame and fortune instead of warriors battling with honor for glory. And the problem with attention seeking is that there is an element of “one upping” the previous display to get more attention.
So instead of just a booty dance, maybe next time we get a nip slip. Or instead of avoiding a hand shake, maybe he slaps his opponent in the face. When fame and fortune are you guiding compass, nothing is off limits.
This sets a poor example for kids watching the sport. Imagine a young kid idolizing AJ Agazarm and wanting to mimic his behavior. Ok, that might take a lot of imagination, but there are plenty of other fighters doing worse things, such as Mike Perry and Jon Jones.
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