In a recent turn of events, Henry Cejudo, the former UFC champion, has stirred controversy by lambasting UFC champions, Sean Strickland and Alexander Volkanovski, for their emotional expressions.
Cejudo contends that personal problems should be kept private, sparking discussions on the role of emotions in the realm of combat sports.
Combat sports athletes are often portrayed as rugged, unyielding figures who exhibit unwavering toughness. However, beneath this exterior, these athletes grapple with their own challenges, just like anyone else. Some choose to share their struggles with the public, breaking the mold of the strong silent type.
Two recent instances involve UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and middleweight champion Sean Strickland. After his second defeat against Islam Makhachev last October, Volkanovski openly addressed his battle with mental hardships and anxiety, shedding tears during a post-fight press conference.
On a contrasting note, Sean Strickland recently revealed the harsh realities of his upbringing, detailing his tumultuous relationship with his abusive father in a podcast appearance. The unexpected display of vulnerability from Strickland, known for his bold character, evoked a spectrum of reactions from fans and peers alike.
Strickland’s openness garnered support from many who admired his courage in sharing personal trauma. Conversely, critics labeled him a hypocrite, considering his confrontational behavior.
Amidst this discourse, Henry Cejudo emerged with a firm stance, asserting that athletes should refrain from showcasing their emotions in such a public manner. On his YouTube channel, ‘Triple C’ took a direct jab at both Volkanovski and Strickland, mocking their emotional displays.
Cejudo expressed, “Sean, I hope you can come to the consensus to be able to accept the fact that… you’re in this game, bro. Learn how to play, don’t be [mocks crying]. It’s the same with Volkanovski. Volkanovski is showing his cards that he goes through anxiety if he doesn’t fight. Like, bro, like what the f***. Keep some of that s*** to yourself.”
The critique from Cejudo has sparked varied opinions within the fighting community, reigniting the ongoing debate on whether athletes should reveal their vulnerabilities publicly. As emotions clash with stoicism, the discussion continues on the appropriate boundaries for sharing personal struggles in the intense world of combat sports.