The fight is over and Jon Jones is once again a champion. When the bout was over and Cormier stood in the corner defeated and heartbroken, Jones went over, kissed his head and tried to console him. The next day, Cormier congratulated Jones on social media and praised his coaches on a job well done.
So why you mad, son?
The internet trolls immediately began to berate Cormier for seemingly going back on his earlier stance of there always being beef with Jones even after the fight. Cormier took the loss hard because for him, it was a battle of ideologies. Jones was the “punk” that was born gifted athletically and didn’t have the underdog syndrome that Cormier has so proudly utilized to become one of the best champions in MMA.
Watch Jon Jones in the Octagon after winning the light heavyweight championship at UFC 214.
However, with one gesture of bromance proportions, Jones buried the punk and praised Cormier in the post-fight interview after embracing him. It was an act of sheer maturity that showcased a humbled Jones who had been through so much in the two years it took to get back to championship status.
From a failed drug test revealing cocaine metabolites in his system before UFC 200, a hit and run accident with a pregnant woman in Albuquerque, New Mexico that caused him to be stripped of the title to crashing his Bentley while under the influence, Jones was the perfect storm of irresponsibility.
His hate fest with Cormier and the disrespectful pre-fight hype that preceded it just confirmed his youth from most fans so it was a shock to see him humble in victory.
Watch Daniel Cormier react in the Octagon after losing his belt to Jon Jones at UFC 214.
In Cormier’s case, he did everything he could to win. The strategy was simple, outbox Jones and fend off the lanky blows you would have to sustain early on to do it. Cormier accepted that challenge and for the first two rounds, he did the impossible, getting on the inside and executing a crisp, striking game plan. But when a left head kick rocked him silly and crescendoed into the maelstrom of pain that fell the now former champ, it was proof that Jones by sheer physical will might be the best fighter in the world right now.
Immediately the Twitterverse released a barrage of new Cormier crying face memes and ruled the Jordan one now obsolete. On both sides of the fence, folks were either mad at Jones for being the bigger man, or Cormier for taking the emotional loss so hard and congratulating Jones on the victory.
It was a reminder that in sports like MMA, where the fan base is equivalent to NASCAR or hockey, black beef sells and black respect is challenged. This became the most anticipated fight of the year due to the vitriol each had for one another. People forget these are humans who have mixed emotions in a super competitive and dangerous environment like professional MMA.
First off, thank you all for the kind words. I have felt the support. Congratulations to Jon Jones and his team. They did a phenomenal job and got the victory. Also, to Big John McCarthy, I would like to apologize for acting up with you. I am thankful for the time you gave me to try and defend myself and stay in the fight. You are the best in the business for a reason. I also wanna thank my team and my coaches. I love you all from the bottom of my heart. Your time and energy is greatly appreciated. You guys did a wonderful job, I was ready. It’s a fist fight and things happen. Dana White and the @ufc, thank you for being the premiere organization in all of MMA. Again, congrats to Team Jones and JacksonWink. Love you all. I’ll see you soon. DC
366 Likes, 18 Comments – Daniel “DC” Cormier (@dc_mma) on Instagram: “First off, thank you all for the kind words. I have felt the support. Congratulations to Jon Jones…”
As a black man, I am proud of both these athletes for respecting what they have meant to each other financially and physically. Jon Jones has become a man through this process and his newfound humility, if sustained, can trump his renowned hubris.
Cormier, who is older by MMA standards, put up the best fight he could against a guy who presents so many physical challenges. The fact that they can show respect after such a highly publicized beef humanizes both the sport and their images, which black MMA fighters need so desperately.
In a sport where you are either written off as a cautious crybaby race baiter like Tyron Woodley, or lampooned as a sideshow character like Kimbo or Rampage Jackson, it is refreshing to see two guys break the pre-imposed narrative and show graciousness to one another.