When two UFC competitors meet in a hotel lobby a day after they fight, you expect there to be fireworks. After all, if a guy just spent last night repeatedly punching you in the face, you’re probably not approaching him to get a recommendation for fro-yo.
But even when confrontations like this happen, there are lines that should not be crossed.
UFC fighters Jeremy Stephens and Yair Rodríguez both obliterated one of those lines last weekend when they encountered one another in a Mexico City hotel the day after a controversial bout.
Their fight the previous evening ended in a no-contest after 15 seconds when Rodríguez poked Stephens in the eye, rendering him unable to continue. The fight was ended, and Rodríguez blew a fuse. TV microphones recorded him yelling the “puto” slur in Stephens’s direction. Which was weird because Stephens wasn’t even attempting a goal kick.
The next day, Rodríguez confronted Stephens in their hotel lobby and accused him of faking the severity of his injury. After some predictable shoving and female anatomical references, Stephens yelled out, “You poked me in the eye, faggot!” Not to be outdone, Rodríguez returned the slur right back to Stephens.
Of course, that’s gross and homophobic as hell. But that slur also makes no sense in this context. Eye poking... isn’t a gay stereotype. At all. None of The Three Stooges ever had a Grindr profile.
It’s understandable that angry muscle-bound men in testosterone overdrive are going to posture and yell third grade insults at each other. But if we’re going to stamp out “The F-word” slur once and for all, that means making sure everyone understands there’s no context in which it’s acceptable — including this one.
We all know that love wins. Because sometimes it has to put hate in a kimura lock.