Just Saying Stuff: The dos and don’ts of the post-fight callout

We’re always telling fighters the same thing: When it comes time for your post-fight interview following a glorious victory in the UFC, have a name ready. Don’t say you’ll fight whoever the UFC puts in front of you. Don’t say you’re not the type to call anyone out. Don’t tell us about the vacation you’ve got planned, even if that might be the thing foremost on your mind after a grueling training camp followed by the immense relief of fighting and winning.

We want a name. We want to know what’s next. And it behooves your ass to prepare accordingly, for a couple different reasons.

The first is that, if you’re not a champion and you’re not Conor McGregor, then very likely you are in the same struggle to get noticed and remembered that about 95 percent of the roster is experiencing at any given moment. There are so many damn events, so many fighters coming and going. While it seems impossible to imagine when you’re standing there basking in the glow of glorious victory, three weeks from now most of us will have at least partially forgotten this fight even happened. Such are the ravages of the non-stop UFC schedule.

What you want to do is give us a narrative to follow so that you don’t just stop existing the second you move out of the camera’s view. That’s the first reason to do it.

The second reason is that, if you don’t at least try to plot a path forward for yourself, you might fuck around and let others do it for you. For it is a truth, divinely writ on the ancient MMA scrolls: He who does not call out an interesting opponent next will get matched up with some insanely tough yet weirdly unknown Dagestani badass or some shit. Amen.

But if you’re gonna go for the callout, you’re going to want to remember these helpful tips.

Do: Be specific
Have a name. Know how to pronounce the name. Be able to say it directly into the camera without looking at your coaches like, ‘what’s that fucker’s name again?’ When Tom Aspinall won his heavyweight main event in London on Saturday and then called out Tai Tuivasa, it was clear and unambiguous. He was talking about one man, and now he’s got us thinking about it, in part because he also threw in a fun little beer-drinking reference, which is the type of shit that typically goes over well with the fight crowd. That’s how it’s done.

Don’t: Rely too heavily on the rankings
One of the worst post-fight non-callouts is saying you want to fight someone in the top ten or top five next. You may have the rankings for your division memorized, but we sure don’t. Plus, all that tells us is that you are interested in career advancement, which, fucking duh. Everybody wants to fight up (and never down) the rankings. But obviously everybody can’t do that, because the math simply doesn’t work. Give us a name, not just a number.

Do: Be realistic … or else be entertainingly and originally unrealistic
Swear to fucking god, if we have to hear one more mid-level welterweight call out Conor McGregor or Canelo Alvarez, despite the fact that they don’t have more than two or three UFC wins to their credit so far, we’re gonna start throwing rotten fruit. You gotta know what’s feasible and what’s just a waste of mic time. The exception is if you’re doing something like Paddy Pimblett, who after his win in London called out Mark goddamn Zuckerberg. Is he going to get that fight? Not unless he catches the bloke coming off his private jet. But did it serve as effective sleight of hand to get us to think about something other than a fight with Ilia Topuria, whose smoke Pimblett does not want at this juncture? Kind of, yeah. Plus, who out there actually likes Mark Zuckerberg? The one thing people of all social and political persuasions seem to agree on is that the guy sucks.

Don’t: Be racist or homophobic
It really shouldn’t be that hard. There are a million reasons for you, a professional fighter, to want to fight another professional fighter. Try to find one that doesn’t make you seem like a total shithead. You can ask Cody Durden how it works out when the thing you do with your post-fight interview is make us think, ‘this is what he says when he knows he’s on TV, so just imagine the kind of bullshit he says in private.’

Do: Have a reason, even if it’s stupid.
You gotta be prepared to answer some follow-up questions is the thing. You say you want to fight this guy, so we’re gonna want to know why. And honestly? The reason can be totally fucking dumb. Could be anything from ‘he’s a terrifying monster and I want to test myself’ to ‘he cut in line at the hotel breakfast buffet’ to ‘he’s taking everything I worked for, motherfucker.’ Remember, this is about crafting a story for us to follow so that we will continue giving a shit about you. It’s like Paul Craig winning on Saturday and then calling out Anthony Smith because he thinks his own “Bearjew-jitsu” is better than Smith’s plain old jiu-jitsu. Does that even make sense? Eh, not a ton. Does it matter? Not really.

Don’t: Ask for a rematch of a fight that most of us have already forgotten about
Fighters love to talk about getting another crack at someone who beat them in the past. Sometimes they’ll even explain that it’s because they want to “get that loss off [their] record,” which, nah playa, that’s not how it works. Most of the time, it’s someone who beat them in a close-ish decision on some Fight Night prelims three years ago or some shit. And bruh, nobody but you still gives a damn about that. We could see if it were controversial somehow, or if there’s lingering bad blood, but if it’s just that you lost when you thought you could have won? Man, you need to let that shit go. We do not care. The other guy probably sees no upside in giving you another crack at it. The UFC matchmakers are bored at the very thought. Do something new, goddammit.

Do: Turn and walk away once you’ve made your point
You realize you can end those post-fight interviews whenever you’re ready, right? Michael Bisping cannot stop you. Say your thing and then leave on a high note. Don’t stand there and let him quiz you on the game plan coming into this one after, because then it loses all momentum.

Don’t: Throw in a plea for a performance bonus
You think Dana White has ever sat there and thought, ‘oh this person could actually use the extra $50k? Okay cool let’s give it to him then.’ Dog, he knows who’s getting those checks before you say word one. We’re not saying it’s fair, we’re just saying it’s true.

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