Cornerspeak: Things Overheard Cageside and How to be a Good Cornerman
"Body, Body, Head" belts out the pudgy guy in the t-shirt by an obscure, awkwardly-named brand of "MMA Gear" (read: company that puts a logo on a cheap t-shirt). This would be great advice if it weren't for the fact that his fighter was under the other guy's mount.
For anyone who's attended a live MMA event and managed to get a seat at or near the cage, listening to the fighters' respective corners can, at times, be more entertaining than Goldberg and Rogan, Mauro and Bas, or even Tom and Jerry.
I've heard some simply mind-numbing things yelled out by fans at live shows; from things that were illegal, to criminally illegal, to outright physically impossible. The producers of The Ultimate Fighter probably never realized the potential fallout caused by their decisions to not shell out the extra bucks for professional commentary during the fights. Because apparently, all of five minutes after the first fight episode ended, everyone decided that they were capable of being a competent cornerman. This includes both the couch-denting fans, and the people who are actually in a fighter's corner that are supposed to be yelling instructions at them.
At amateur shows, it's about 50/50; half of the corners shout excellent, timely, and useful advice to their fighters. For example, "his guard's open" to a fighter who'd obviously prefer to get back to his feet and strike, or "omo" to a guy who had been too busy scrambling to notice that his opponent was practically submitting himself.
The other half, however, simply regurgitates garbage like a mother vulture. "Get up" being one of the more common ones. Heck, even UFC vet and Ultimate Fighter coach Quenton "Rampage" Jackson is guilty of doing this. Occasionally it might be decent advice to someone whose gameplan involves standing and actually has the option of getting up. But when you're on the ground because the other guy put you there, more often than not this advice "goes without saying". It'd be like yelling "run!" to a guy being chased by a pack of dogs or "Cheeseburger!" to Roy Nelson.
"Keep it!" is a bit of cornerspeak often used when a fighter lands in an advantageous position from a takedown and his corner wants to make sure he secures it before attacking. But even as recently as last night, I've heard "keep it!" used in reference to a fighter desperately clinging to a headlock from under the other guy's side control. Which is about as useful as instructing the fighter, in that particular position, to "kick him in the head" or "knock him out with your mind bullets".
I've actually heard the former more than once, and am fully expecting to hear the latter at some point.
If you're cornering a fighter, you have an obligation to that person that supersedes the novelty or misguided prestige of being allowed to stand by the cage/ring and yell things. Here's a handy mnemonic that should help you be a good cornerman:
- Short, clear, and relevant; your instructions should be this. Calling out things your fighter might not be able to see is useful. Yelling some Rocky bullshit about how the "your belt is waiting for you" is not. This isn't shounen manga, your inspiring speech will not replenish your fighter's chakra or give him the ability to reach Super Saiyan. If you think like this, please make like Vegeta and go out to the desert and blow yourself up.
- The **** you're talking about, know what. This should be obvious, but really, it's not. If you're not a fighter, or a trainer, and you're just there to hold the bucket because you're a buddy of the fighter or there was nobody else from the school available, then keep quiet and do your job; it's hard enough to hear one voice when you're dealing with someone who wants to wear your face like a shoe. Unless you're there because you've trained this person, you're just a (self) glorified waterboy.
- Fence/Ropes/Apron; keep your grubby hands off them. Not only is your mongoloid banging on the apron is distracting to everyone including the guy who should be paying attention to the whole face-punching thing he's there to do, you run the risk of getting him disqualified for your asshat behavior. The timekeeper gets to bang things together 10 seconds before the round is over. If you're banging on things too, don't be surprised if he or she meets you in the parking lot with the bell hammer after having dealt with one-too-many of your kind. Additionally, the fence is not your highschool girlfriend, stop fingering it lovingly.
- Ultimately, it's up to and about the Fighter. a.)If you think you're special because you're standing at ringside you're a dipshit; go play in traffic. b.) the fight is a 9/15/25 minute expression of all the training the fighter's done in the weeks and months before the fight. The goal is to win. So stifle your ego and be there for him or her. That's it.
I thoroughly hope this helps. Just remember this key to being a good cornerman/person/place/thing. It's good for your fighter, and good for the sport.