The Slaps Heard Round the World

#TrueTalkTuesdays 115

The rivalry between Gordon Ryan and Andre Galvao came to head this past weekend, and the resulting confrontation has been gobbled up by fans.

FloGrappling’s Whose Number One event made headlines as some of the top stars of the sport showed up to compete – and slap each other around too.

Gordon Ryan pulled a Babe Ruth and called out his victory against Roberto Jimenez, by mounted arm bar, earlier in the day before actually winning by mounted arm bar. Love him or hate him, the guy is an amazing grappler for sure.

In the main event, DDS teammate Craig Jones made short work of ATOS athlete Ronaldo Junior with a leg lock. Lately, the two teams have been beefing with each other on social media and in person.

The story goes that Gordon went to shake Andre’s hand after the match, and Andre pushed him away and gave him the finger. Gordon retailated with a slap to the face. Andre, not happy with that, continued to pursue Gordon, only to get slapped a second time.

Afterwards, Andre continued to pursue Gordon and try to talk to him, with Gordon getting very agitated and having to be held back. Then the two were shouting at each other from a distance. The video above starts with the aftermath of the slaps, which is confusing, as the slaps happened first but it’s at the end of this video for some reason.

My take – this looks bad for Andre.

I’m all for keeping a level head, but getting slapped is a line that personally I would have a hard time not going into fight mode. Perhaps that is my ego talking, but then again, I wouldn’t have shoved someone either unless I was getting ready to start swinging.

Some accounts are saying Gordon was going for a handshake to gloat about the victory. If so, you can just refuse the handshake without escalating the situation. Shoving someone and then giving the finger is a definite escalation. Gordon escalated further by slapping him.

The next bit is confusing. Andre seems stunned, but composed. He continues to pursue Gordon, who is very upset. After getting slapped, if you aren’t going to fight, you back off. Perhaps, that would be the most mature thing to do.

I don’t know. Honestly, I can’t see how you would spin that off and save face. Allowing someone to hit you without consequence is an invitation to every bully to do the same. This isn’t some random stranger in a back alley – this is a rival competitor you see at every event and it was being filmed.

In my opinion, you have to stand your ground. But what happened next was he kept talking and moving forward, to get slapped a second time.

What the hell?

I can understand being surprised by the first slap, although honestly, even that is a bit much for me. If you push someone and give them the finger, and they start advancing at you – I’m expecting hands to come flying my way and I’m bringing my dukes up.

Perhaps Gordon has fast hands, lol, I don’t know. But the second slap? Man, it’s hard for me to hear. In my life, I can’t think of one situation where another man slapped me in the face without getting attacked immediately.

All my “street fights” were in school, before I trained martial arts. But I knew better than to ever let someone touch me without getting touched back. Once I started wrestling in high school, I never got into another fight outside the ring. Not even close to one. This is for a few reasons:

  • I don’t hang out in dangerous places
  • I don’t talk trash, or speak ill of people
  • I don’t lay my hands on anyone unless it’s for self defense
  • I don’t let people get close to me that are hostile
  • If I find myself in a situation that starts to turn sour, I make a clean exit
  • I’m projecting good vibes and I’m confident in my ability to defend myself

All these things play a big role in keeping me out of trouble. If we applied these rules to the above situation, Andre broke nearly all of them.

If I was him, I would have either refused the hand shake (if I felt it was with bad intentions) and walk away, or just shaked his hand and walked away.


What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?

Comment with your take on this. And if you like this article, please do me a solid and share it with your friends. Thanks!

  • I agree, Ive always liked Andre but gotta admit, I feel like I lost respect for him! I’m a christian as well so maybe he believes in turning the other cheek lol, but then again, why push and flip him off. He better agree to a match, try to murderer Gordon or I think his legacy is gone!!

    • With two slaps, he turned that cheek a full revolution. I’m not sure how much turning a man is expected to do, lol. I’m all for non-violent resolution, but you are right that he started this situation but then made it weird by not following through on his aggressiveness.

  • I agree 100% but
    Sometimes your head is not in the right place for this type of confrontation

    • Well his head should have moved out of the way of the slap, so I agree it wasn’t in the right place…LOL 🙂

  • Andre had a different energy at the start of the video than what he had after the slaps. He approached saying “Why are you running p___y?” Imo Gordon had to respond to that otherwise, like you said, he sets a president for other bullies. My take is he turned and walked back to let Andre know I am not running from you, then Andre escalated by pushing him, them Gordon slapped him. The slap was appropriate imo. It waa better than laying him out and certainly better than walking away. Andre got the message and changed it up fast. Gordon drew the line with a clear I’m not going to let you accuse me of running from you and you certainly are not going to get physical without a response.

    • I had a heard time listening to the audio, because it’s so muffled. But after your comment, I took the time to listen closely.

      I can’t hear what Andre is saying, only Gordon, who says repeatedly “Why am I running?”, which leads me to agree that Andre was provoking him by saying he was running and pursuing him. When Gordon turns around to face him and gets pushed by Andre, a slap seems the appropriate escalation to be honest.

      If some dude is following me around and taunting me, I’m not going to feel safe walking away from him and giving my back with him right behind me. It seems Gordon was “doing the right thing” and walking away from him to avoid a confrontation, but with Andre pursuing and taunting him, he didn’t leave him much choice.

      A slap is a way of letting someone know they crossed a line, and they need to be prepared for more violence if they don’t back off. In this case, it took 2 slaps and even then, Andre never really backed down or escalated.

      He just stayed on a level 1 posturing, even though Gordon had already escalated to a level 2. Normally people either join level 2 and slap back, escalate to level 3 and throw punches, or quit the game and walk away.

      It’s so weird to me personally, and I can’t wrap my head around it. LOL

  • Robert Rodriguez says:

    Of course, none of us were close enough to see and hear everything . I can only reason from what I’ve already gathered (information wise). Since I was watching Gordon’s posts on IG about Andre not wanting to fight him (dodging him) and talking about how Andre would only fight him for a million dollars. I think Andre may have even said on IG that Gordon was disrespectful. Nonetheless, there was back and forth with Andre acting as if he had the moral high ground. I am a Christian, so Andre should have learned what the Bible says to do and not do, and behave accordingly. It says have nothing to do with foolish and stupid arguments. He should have put this in to practice and not engaged in this with Gordon. It also say forgive or you will not be forgiven. Since Gordon may be more heathenistic / ungodly, Andre should know Gordon lacks morals and should forgive him (not flip him off). Andre seemed to be demanding respect from Gordon by what he said. Andre should know Gordon lacks morals and could say things that are not right to get fights. Andre should not have engaged in so much of the talk he did. He seemed to let his ego, and perhap a desire to look better / morally better sway him to make wrong decisions. If anyone followed their exchanges on IG, all of this would not be hard to see.

  • I’m sorry but if you push someone you should expect something in return! A Push, kick, punch or even a takedown!
    Specially a Martial Artist who competes it’s just a reaction! Yes mentally he wasn’t thinking!
    I’m sorry it doesn’t look good he should challenge him to an mma fight!
    This way he can redeem himself make some money
    And it’s the legal way to get even kick his butt!
    If he thinks he can!

  • Hi David,

    As some days have now elapsed since the incident I wonder if you have further thoughts about Galvao’s state of mind?

    I accept that he may be criticised:
    1. For his confrontation seeking behaviour and violation of the principles you have set out.
    2. For his failure to respond giving rise to accusations of cowardice.

    If for example a Mike Tyson were to slap me I could:
    1. Strike back instinctively.
    2. Decide that I had no chance of winning, was going to get a beating and in the circumstances, it was irrational to fight back. I would then have to deal with the humiliation which few people would know about and might understand.

    Or as you might put it -match it, escalate it or walk away.

    But what is behind the atypical response we saw from someone who:
    1. Has grappled at the highest level and fought MMA bouts -although now 10 years ago- so is not entirely a stranger to physical confrontations at least in some contexts.
    2. Has a serious reputation to protect.
    3. Culturally might be expected to respond violently to any physical threat?

    I really don’t know the answer. Speculating it may be that Gordon Ryan younger and stronger was able to trigger a strong submissive response in an older Galvao who is then unable to respond physically but in some way seeks to avoid the humiliation of the slap by continuing the confrontation verbally even when he is slapped again.

    I may be wrong but I would be interested in other views past simple condemnation.

    • Honestly, I am just as stumped by this now than when I heard about it last week. You do present an option that I thought of as well, which was he didn’t want to fight, but didn’t want to back down. It’s just illogical. The whole point of posturing is to show that you are capable and willing to fight.

      If we think of this as a game of Poker, Andre was bluffing that he had a full house. Gordon called his bluff with two pair, while Andre had nothing. The game should be over, but Andre continues to insist on his bluff despite that fact that everyone’s hands are exposed.

      That’s the best analogy I can make, and if you imagine how weird the poker situation would be in real life if you were sitting at that poker table, that is how I feel about this slapping incident.

      So if I think of the Poker situation, and why someone would insist on a bluff that has been exposed, it would very likely by because of ego (or the person is crazy, making a joke, or blind). This person is so dug in that they are better and supposed to win, that they are going to be blind to reality and continue to insist their bluff is valid.

      That’s all I can come up with.

      • Thanks for your comments David but thinking about it, I am more persuaded by your original version of the exchange taking place at “Level 1: posturing” which Gordon Ryan escalates to “Level 2: contact” as a precursor to actual violence with exchange of blows.

        Galvao is stuck at Level 1 engaging in a social exchange and posturing. A lot of conflict takes place at this level and does not escalate. But Ryan then did escalate to a physical exchange to which Galvao felt unable to respond, consciously or unconsciously recognising Ryan’s superiority and the likely outcome.

        I see his apparent illogical desire to continue the exchange less an insistence that the original bluff was valid than a face saving device by continuing the confrontation albeit on a social level.

  • Be prepared to defend yourself at all times…. Andre has shown that he is not ready or prepared to defend himself against a hostile threat.. that’s not good as a black belt and front man of Atos ??‍♂️?‍♂️

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