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Keep That Same Energy; “Fans” calling professionals “cans”

In today’s time there’s an abundance of MMA fans calling professional fighters “cans” or “bums”, especially on social media. Ryan Hall, recently on the Helwani show, said “I think that social media, Twitter in particular, is an absolute cesspool and I’m better off just ignoring it.” The primary reason his perspective is like this is probably due to these types of supposed “fans”. 

A post shared by Ryan Hall (@ryanhall5050) on May 13, 2019 at 9:37pm PDT

Some of the most respected pundits of MMA, even ones known for being extremely kind and considerate, are sometimes guilty of what I’m labeling as “can callers”. Joe Rogan talked about Michael “Venom” Page once and said he was “can crushing” in Bellator, which I’m sure many MMA fans would quickly agree with. People understand what Rogan meant, that Bellator was giving MVP easy match ups to build his record. I doubt the intention was to insult the people MVP beat, but if you’re one of those defeated men it’d be impossible not to take offense to be called a can. I also recall Rogan talking to his close friend Brendan Schaub about how his skills matched up vs the elite heavyweights of the UFC. Instead of calling him a can, he showed a lot of love while being bluntly honest. It was a perfect example of how to be harshly critical while being extremely respectful.

One thing I like about Dana White and the UFC matchmakers is they’re not known for babying people. Dana has always said he’s “looking for killers”. Despite this well known reputation, even UFC matchmakers sometimes get accused of giving people too easy of opponents. A great current example in the UFC is Greg Hardy. Because Hardy has been making short work of most his opponents doesn’t mean we should define them as cans. The truth is, regardless of your opinion of Greg Hardy and his tumultuous past, he’s a tremendous athlete. People don’t become a pro bowl level NFL player who can quickly turn to MMA and compete at a fairly high level without an extremely strong work ethic. People need to realize when they’re labeling Hardy’s opponents as “cans”, in an attempt to discount his success thus far, they’re insulting Hardy’s fallen foes much more than Hardy. 

A post shared by Juan Adams (@chosenjuan285) on Jul 29, 2019 at 1:45pm PDT

If you’re a person who calls themselves an MMA fan and has never competed in any combat sport but constantly calls world class fighters cans, what kind of fan are you? You’re what I call a “casual”. Why? You evidently don’t understand or respect the work people put in to become a professional fighter. You’re no different than the armchair quarterback who played Pop Warner as a kid and constantly yells at NFL players like they could do better. People who view sports this way are unrealistic and could use a harsh reminder of how hard it truly is to do what these athletes do. If it was my choice, I’d make anybody who’s the “can calling” fan go out and spend a year training with the athletes they’re bashing. It’d be very interesting to see how fast those people change their perspective if thrown in that fire.

Before saying something about a fighter (especially on social media), pretend whatever you’re about to say is to their face. If you’re somebody who’s tricked yourself into believing you’re tougher than professional MMA fighters, entitling you to say whatever you want to whomever you please, I beg you to go to your nearest gym with pro MMA fighters and demand to train with them. As Kamaru Usman would say, “keep that same energy”. See what happens.

Jason Marlowe, UnknownMMA

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