It's a common complaint heard amongst fighters, media, and now even UFC commentators. The toxic MMA fans are becoming a problem.
Before we begin, this story is about the toxic fans and the toxic fans only. There are many, many incredible fans of this sport and these thoughts and quotes are not aimed at you. If you aren't threatening fighters, media or UFC personnel, you're probably one of the good ones.
While appearing on The Anik & Florian Podcast this week, UFC color commentator, Jon Anik vented about the treatment he's recieved after UFC 297.
"Even if you and I thought Dricus Du Plessis won the fight we try to present that information respectfully," he told his co-host, former fighter turned commetarian Kenny Florian. "And when I go on to X or I go on to YouTube comments it seems like a lot of these fans are just in attack mode. And I don't know if these fans are casual fans or not but I appreciate the passion. But I'm getting to a point at 45 years of age where I dont know how much time I have left in this MMA space because if I go do pro football like I'm not necessarily going to be dealing with this lowest common denominator all the time."
He even said he's considering leaving the sport due to all of the toxic fans invading his space.
"I don't know man I just feel like there's a lot of malice and disrespect from the fanbase. And we can disagree, like don't take it from me. Demetrious Johnson and Kenny Florian thought DDP won the fight, I don't know. I've just been very offput with the negativity that has permeated my feed since Saturday night and I'm just ot sure how much longer I have in this space honestly.
MMA Twitter, pros react to Jon Aniks comments about 'lowest common denominator' fans
Most of MMA Twitter and other MMA pros seemed to support Anik's stance.
"When you put so much into each day at the office, with so much care and concern for the athlete, the comments are even harder to take," Megan Olivi tweeted. "We all struggle with it more and more. Jon is the best in sports and doesn’t deserve to be made to feel this way. Our community must do better."
Journalist Aaron Bronsteter wrote, "Everyone who works in MMA can relate to this - whether you are a fighter, manager, journalist, influencer, whatever. Toxicity is at an all-time high and if your internal filter is having an off-day, it can weigh heavy."
A fan tweeted, "I would have to take a long look at myself in the mirror if someone ever called me the lowest common denominator he’s correct. People like Strickland amplify some of the worst voices in this space. Anik is one of the best and I hope doesn’t leave."
Matthew Well, a media member tweeted, "When fighters are allowed to pick up a mic in front of a company backdrop and say the most vile things imaginable with no accountability, of course it’s going to attract 'fans' who act the same way. It’s ridiculous that a pro like Jon Anik has to experience this."
We must remember that there are good fans everywhere, we just need to make and recruit more of the fans who appreciate the sport, respect those who make it happen and keep the negativity to themselves.