Jose Aldo has made waves in the media this week by claiming that he is finished with the UFC.
Should he follow through with his threat, then the Ultimate Fighting Championship will lose a magnificently skilled practitioner who, despite what a certain Dubliner did to him in less time than it takes to boil a kettle, is still one of the best pound for pound fighters in MMA today.
Aldo was a magnificent champion for a decade before Conor McGregor took his crown, but I for one expected him to handle that defeat like a champion and focus everything he had on winning his title back. Instead, we saw things we had never seen from him before in mocking McGregor's loss to Nate Diaz on social media, and generally just becoming a moaner, taking issue with everything McGregor said or did. Many fans who respected Aldo immensely before his KO loss at UFC 194 were left puzzled by his reaction.
This week he released a statement explaining why he was done with the UFC.
Had the Brazilian admitted that the favouritism shown towards Conor McGregor was making his stomach turn and he wanted to make a statement by leaving the organisation as the interim featherweight champion because he felt mistreated, then that honestly would have been fair enough. Rory MacDonald felt undervalued, albeit in a financial sense, and he left. It would have been entirely acceptable.
Instead, Aldo raised a number of points, claiming that he was disgusted by what was happening around him. He raised concerns regarding the conduct of fighters, and the state of the UFC's promotion, and again, that would have been acceptable... If he wasn't bitching about things that he himself has done, and has been doing for some time.
Here's the statement:
I hear a lot of people say the reason I don’t call the shots and that I’m not happy with my income is that I don’t sell fights. People have said that to me and they’ve said it about me. I’ve heard people say, ‘Jose needs to be a better marketer; he needs to sell his fights more.’ But that’s not the philosophy I was raised with. My coach is a martial artist. I’m a martial artist. What we do starts with respect.
Where the sport is going is not respectful. The people who are selling fights are people who are giving each other the middle finger, throwing objects at press conferences, getting caught snorting cocaine and making headlines for all kinds of wrong reasons. What I was taught and what I believe in is, I do my best inside the cage. I believe people want to watch me for my ability as an athlete. … If the direction the sport is going is you’ve got to make headlines for the wrong reasons in order to be worthy of respect and in order to be worthy of the right income, it’s not something I’ll ever be on board with.
He also supported this with a video interview:
So let us discuss some of the points he is raising here:
Where the sport is going is not respectful.
This one is baffling.
Tito Ortiz? Ken Shamrock? Chael Sonnen? Nick Diaz?
Trash talking and disrespecting opponents has been a part of MMA since it became a thing. Going back further you could claim that Muhammad Ali introduced the world of fighting to that manner of fight promotion, and going back further even the great Ali had his influcers. While it certainly has reached saturation point (Louis Smolka's "peroid pain" insults to Sergio Pettis being one of the single cringiest thing I have ever seen) as more and more fighters see what a slick tongue can do for your career thanks to McGregor, to claim that this is new and it used to be all bowing in respect during the glory days is simply incorrect.
The people who are selling fights are people who are giving each other the middle finger.
Ehh... This was a particularly unfortunate choice of words.
You can't do it when it suits you and then use it as a reason that the sport is being destroyed.
I'll "never be on board" with selling fights for the wrong reasons.
Again, Jose, you literally have been on board with selling fights for the wrong reasons. Here's a quote from an article published on MMAFighting.com in August 2014 titled "Jose Aldo admits he shoved Chad Mendes to promote UFC 179":
"We were talking to Andre (Pederneiras) in a meeting about how we could improve our fight promotions. It’s part of the show. But I told Andre after (the staredown) that it’s not my style.
I’ve never pushed anyone during a staredown before I should behave better. I'm not saying I regret it. We did it, it was good. There was a good thing about it that people are now talking about it, but it’s not who I am. It won’t happen again.
You tried it, you didn't like it. That's grand if you never do it again, but he did. Granted he was goaded into it by Conor, but Aldo could have taken the high road that many expected him to take, and he didn't.
I've seen other champions losing and get immediate rematches.
That's true, some champions do get offered rematches imeediately after losing, but what about Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman, Holly Holm, Anthony Pettis, Robbie Lawler, and even his compatriot Rafael Dos Anjos?
Most of those examples are off the top of my head and in the last year... An immediate rematch is by no means a guarentee, and is an absurd reason to throw the toys out of the pram.
Furthermore, Aldo TURNED DOWN an immediate rematch with Conor on short notice when Dos Anjos pulled out of UFC 196! He was literally offered the fight he is now complaining about not being offered, but he didn't want to take it on short notice.
You may think that's fair enough, but not when Aldo previously claimed that he would fight McGregor anytime, anywhere.
Jose Aldo was one of my very favourite fighters from his time in the WEC, and despite being thrilled to see McGregor claim the featherweight title at his expense, I wished the best for him and hoped to see the two contest a series of exciting fights. Instead he has reacted childishly, and has lost the respect of many in the process.
He has every right to be irked by how much love Dana White and the UFC show to Conor McGregor, but let's look at why that happens. White said this week, bluntly, that Conor will show up and fight.
That’s why I give this guy way more rope than I give anybody else. Conor can say whatever the hell he wants to, the guy steps up on four days notice, he can say whatever he wants. We’re in the fight game, who really wants to fight? That dude wants to fight.
McGregor says he will do something, he makes the world watch, and then he does it. He is the dream for an organisation like the UFC. On the flip side, Aldo has a ridiculous record of pulling out of fights and has a history of long spells of inactivity. He has left the UFC in the lurch due to going too hard in training before, so how the hell are they not going to favour the guy that is making the company billions by doing the exact opposite?
Aldo's decision to ask the UFC to release him from his contract is, for me, an embarrasing play to make. I really thought he was better than that, but then again I had never been exposed to him losing before, so there was no way I could have seen it coming. If he is serious, then I am sure the UFC will cut their ties with him and will not feel any remorse in doing so.
Too many pull outs, not enough star power, Jose Aldo has played himself into a corner that he can't get out of. It's sad to see, but we may have seen the last of Jose Aldo in the octagon, and despite him blaming everyone around him, he has nobody to blame but himself.