The UFC holds its biggest event of 2014 in the midst of the biggest global sporting event of the year. So on the conference call promoting UFC 175, the World Cup naturally came up.
“I like watching the World Cup,” Brazilian Lyoto Machida explained. “I have been following Brazil. The last game was really emotional.” The karateka challenging for Chris Weidman’s middleweight belt noted that the national team plays Colombia on Friday, the day he attempts to make the 185 weight limit–not an easy task for a fighter used to competing at the 205 limit for most of his career–so watching in a rubber sweat suit or in the sauna may not come easy.
The question of flopping, a concept foreign to fighters, arose on the conference call. If you flop at the World Cup, the referee may reward you. But if you flop in the octagon, the referee may declare the fight over and your opponent the victor. What do the fighters make of flopping?
“I think that’s the funniest part,” mixed-martial-arts legend B.J. Penn said of flopping. “It’s hilarious.”
It wasn’t so hilarious for Mexican fans this weekend. Dutch star Arjen Robben dove to the deck after Mexican Rafa Marquez made contact with him in the penalty box, resulting a Netherlands penalty shot that resulted in a victory. But Mexicans, and many others, cried foul over the foul. “I spoke with Robben after the match and he told me that it was not a penalty,” Marquez insisted. “He said that the first foul was a penalty and that one was not called.”
“That’s what happens when drawing fouls is really beneficial,” women’s champion Ronda Rousey matter-of-factly pointed out. “If fouls were beneficial in MMA, you would see a lot more of it in our sport as well.” She noted that the fake falls happen in basketball and not just soccer.
Like the soccer event, Saturday’s UFC 175 boasts competitors from around the world including Dutchman Stefan Struve, Brazilian Thiago Santos, and Jamaican Uriah Hall.
The UFC holds a Las Vegas viewing party today to coincide with the U.S.-Belgium game. Former champions Junior dos Santos, Benson Henderson, and Forrest Griffin will attend–and so will fans willing to pay the admission fee. Should a bar fight erupt with any of these guys, my advice: flop.
Photo credit: Reuters