UFC’s Laura Sanko would rather see physical fights at pressers than trash talk involving family

Trash talk has long been a part of the spectacle surrounding combat sports, including mixed martial arts. However, some have received criticism lately for inappropriate or overly personal attacks, especially on social media. Podcast host and UFC commentator Michael Bisping recently discussed the issue with fellow commentator Laura Sanko on his show.

During the conversation, Sanko shared her opinions on trash talk and where she thinks the line should be drawn. She acknowledged that some level of trash talk is expected to hype fights and get inside opponents’ heads. However, she took issue with fighters attacking family members who are not involved in the actual competition.

“You can’t do the same conversation, say attacking wives’ off limits and then call this woman a pe–phile, which she clearly is not,” Sanko said, referencing a past incident involving UFC fighters Sean Strickland and Ian Garry. She emphasized the damaging and permanent nature of such statements on the internet.

According to Sanko, while racial slurs are rightfully off limits in trash talk today, the boundaries keep shifting into uncomfortable territory. She would prefer fighters resolve conflicts physically in the octagon rather than through ugly social media feuds.

“I actually prefer guys have physical fights than do this s–t, if I’m being honest. Because that way the family doesn’t get dragged into it, and that way there’s not statements and altered photographs that live on the Internet for years years years for kids to have to Google, you know, when they get of age,” she stated.

Sanko called for more “decorum” and less attacks on family members who are not public figures. She fondly recalled past eras when creativity and wit were more integral to promotional trash talk.

The issue continues to be debated amongst fighters, fans and pundits. But Sanko’s perspective offers an important viewpoint from a female voice close to the sport. Her stance sits in opposition to those who argue that vicious trash talk sells fights or that “nothing is off limits.” Based on her comments, Sanko favors restraint when it comes to family members and advocates for solutions that don’t permanently stain the internet.