As sports fans, we are pretty well-versed when it comes to picking the right time to express our displeasure at a game we’re watching. In baseball, you might boo your team after leaving the bases loaded for the third consecutive inning without scoring a run. If you go to a basketball game, you might lose your patience when your squad gets into a 20-point hole. What these events have in common is that you’re booing when your team isn’t doing well. With MMA, more often than not, there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme, reason or consistency with how fans boo a fight.

There are times when it is okay to boo. For example, when two fighters are still doing their feeling out process at the four-minute mark of the first round it would be a good time to boo in order to try and entice the two fighters to start engaging in a fight. Often times the booing will help nudge the referee to say something like, “Come on guys, let’s work!” Another example of it being okay to boo is when a fighter is able to take his opponent to the ground and lay on him without advancing his position. It seems as though referees are getting better at standing up fighters if the person on top isn’t doing much to advance his position. And my personal favorite time to boo is anytime a fighter talks about an injury he has during his post-fight interview inside the Octagon.

Unfortunately, it seems as if there has been an increasing trend in hearing boos sooner than they are warranted. It’s something that makes me wince a bit, especially when the boos come out while two guys are on the ground working their butts off in a back-and-forth battle for position. Granted, there are plenty of times where the two fighters are just trading positions without one making any sort of advancement on the other, but I don’t believe the booing fans understand what’s going on when the fight hits the canvas. I was fortunate enough to cover UFC 155 in Las Vegas and UFC 157 in Anaheim. I can say without a doubt that the 155 crowd at the MGM Grand was one of the most impatient group of fans I’ve ever been around. Booing started early in the prelims and continued all the way until the Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon fight.

As recently as five years ago there could be a fight that stays on the ground for three straight rounds and you’d be hard pressed to hear many, if any, boos coming down from the arena crowd. The surge in MMA popularity has also brought on a plethora of new fans who have been misguided by the notion that MMA is a sport in which people get hit hard and bleed heavily throughout every fight. Many of these same casual fans will start to boo a fight early on because they see two fighters strategically moving around instead of the slugfest they were anticipating.

Are new fans the ones to blame about the impatient MMA audiences? Not entirely, but it certainly doesn’t help when a new MMA fan comes to a fight and boos without understanding how the sport really works. Veteran fans are just as guilty at times, as even plenty of those fans have a hard time deciphering everything that is going on with the ground game.

Is there ever an appropriate time to boo a MMA fight? Of course there is, just like there are expected times to boo at any other major sporting event. One shouldn’t boo, however, because the warriors in the cage aren’t fighting the style of fight you want to see. Not every fight is a slugfest, and for those who yawn every time a fight goes to the ground, please at least be sure you know what you’re watching before those boos start pouring from your mouth.

Photo: Daniel Cormier (L) and Frank Mir brought out the boo-birds at UFC on Fox 7 (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Joe Chacon
Staff Writer

Joe Chacon is a Southern California writer that has also spent time as a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, as well as a Staff Writer for Operation Sports. Joe has a passion for the sport of MMA, as well as most other sports.