Mental warfare has always had it’s place in the sport of mixed martial arts, but in the modern era the pre-fight war of words has now become an ever more important weapon of choice for many fighters.
However, as tensions rise and tempers flare there’s always the risk that fighters will take it too far in their bid to get under their opponent’s skin, and in this article we’ll explore 10 instances where heated verbal battles crossed the line and became too personal and too extreme.
Tony Ferguson vs. Charlie Rader
Tony Ferguson infuriated the rest of The Ultimate Fighter Season 13 cast when he got deeply personal with Charlie Rader one night in the house.
As has often been the case on TUF, the trouble began with the fighters getting drunk. Then the horseplay began and it first started with a relatively harmless prank as Rader poured water on Ferguson’s head.
Ferguson chased after him seeking payback and somewhere in among this his mood turned from playful to serious.
Rader wanted to shake hands and forget about it, but Ferguson was seeing red and began repeatedly shouting, “Where’s your kid? Where’s your kid?”
It was a cruel reference to the fact that Rader had previously revealed to have been in a custody battle for over a year in order to be able to see his child.
Naturally Rader was furious at Ferguson’s jibe and became even more so when Ferguson then said, “hit me instead of your kid!”
Others tried to diffuse the situation, but later that night when confronted about his outburst, Ferguson remained defiant and started taunting Rader again.
The incident gave Ferguson a bad reputation on TUF, but he’d still go on to win the show and afterwards admitted that “I really regret what I said to Charlie,” blaiming it on the booze and his own personal issues, revealing that his own birth father not having been around while he was growing up.