MMA Q&A with Gabriel Gonzaga: Demonstrate Greater Respect and Sportsmanship

James Ryan

Gabriel Gonzaga is a professional mixed martial arts fighter currently competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, is a former member of Chute Boxe Academy, and now fights out of Ludlow, Massachusetts as a part of Team Link.

Gabriel won the Mundials (2004), which is considered to be the top Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition in the world and currently holds an MMA record of 11 wins and four losses.

Gabriel was set to fight Junior dos Santos at UFC 108, however it was reported that he had pulled out of the fight due to a staph infection.

Here is my “very brief” Q&A session with Gabriel Gonzaga:

In your opinion, what needs to change in 2010 to make MMA more widely accepted and mainstream popular?

I just think the fighters than are starting now, they need respect first of all, respect every aspect of the fight, know how to win and how to lose with respect, this is the most important for me.

Okay, this is an excellent point made by Gabriel.

I don’t think that anyone would disagree that sportsmanship is important and the fans seem to have definitely spoken in 2009 – they expect better behaviour from their favourite fighters.

Brock Lesnar, Tito Ortiz, Junie Browning… the list goes on. Fighters need to learn that they are representing more than just themselves. MMA is a growing sport and any misbehaviour will not (and should not) be tolerated by the fans.

We all want this sport to grow.

Negative behaviour of any kind will not help.

Poor sportsmanship, vulgar language, grave-digging, throat-cutting gestures – all of these immature displays need to go away – and fast! (Yes Dana White – that includes the “F” word)

For every person that is “entertained” by these antics, there are 100 or more that are turned away permanently from the sport. Personally, I think that professional and sportsmanlike behaviour is critical to the success of MMA.

Please read more on this subject by visiting the following link:

Strikeforce on CBS: The Importance of a Great First Impression

Thanks very much Gabriel and have a very happy New Year!

These are my opinions. If you don’t like them…I have others. Check them out at

James Ryan
James Ryan


  1. James

    Tomorrow: MMA Q&A with Hector Lombard: What Needs to Change in 2010?

  2. LF

    My only advice for Gab…pretend you never beat Crocop.

    As for sportsmanship. Its all BS. Brock got torn apart for flipping off a hostile crowd that booed him from the second he stepped into the weigh in. Which was pretty a) deserved and b) fairly appropriate.

    Randy spanking Tito is a friggin highlight of his career.

    Aoki flips off a fighter who just had his arm broken and no one will care in a few days, if not sooner.

    Until sportsmanship and respect are demanded from ALL fighters, and not just UFC “heels”. This is pointless

  3. All fighters is right.

    Asking that the fighters take on more accountability and demonstrate greater sportsmanship for the greater good of the sport is anything but pointless.

    It's very much necessary.

  4. B

    It is pretty intriguing how fans respond to poor sportsmanship.

    As you mentioned, Brock went out of his way to mock Mir after beating him down, and then gave a pretty distasteful interview.

    At the same event, Dan Henderson dropped a late shot after KOing Bisping, and then immediately admitted that it was an intentional late shot to “shut him up”.

    If the roles were reversed – Hendo mocking Bisping on the ground and then talking smack in the interview, and Brock dropping a late shot on an unconscious oponent and admitting it in the interview – would the response from the fans be the same?

  5. Thanks B, I have also noticed the double standard.

    Something else that bugs me a bit – Frank Mir gets under people's skin so badly that it causes his opponents to become overly emotional. Lesnar obviously. Even a good guy like Kongo wouldn't even look at Mir during the weigh-ins. The fans see Kongo and think he's a poor sport. They don't see and hear all of the things that Mir does leading up to a fight.

    Frank Mir just won some good sportsmanship award and for the life of me – I can't understand why. ??? Hardly deserving in my opinion. He is the Claude Lemieux of MMA. A total pest.

    Perception has a lot to do with it.

    Thanks again B.

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