Midnight Mania! Francis Ngannou’s Coach Doesn’t Take Death Threats Well

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One of the unique facets of modern MMA is the unfiltered access fans have to fighters and coaches through social media. Because professional MMA fighters are usually not as big of celebrities as mainstream athletes — and also because they ostensibly gain value from social media attention, as opposed to team sports where negative attention can have a cost for a franchise or a college, and athletes are coached to give boring, safe answers — they find themselves in uniquely acerbic interactions with fans online. It’s always wild to see MMA fans address professional fighters directly with taunts or threats or other trolling behavior.

Francis Ngannou’s coach Dewey Cooper has been involved in combat sports- kickboxing and MMA- for twenty years, but he never got death threats. That was before he coached Francis Ngannou for his championship bid against Stipe Miocic. Ngannou lost, and the Instagram death threats came in unbidden, but certainly not unanswered. Transcript via MMAJunkie.com:

“I responded to every single one of them – ‘(Expletive) you, I’m at One Kick’s Gym on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays,’” Cooper told MMAjunkie Radio. “‘I’m at Mayweather’s gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays. I’m at the UFC gym at 2 o’clock on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Come kill me, mother(expletive).”

Cooper has been the coach in big fights before- his charge Jesse Vargas once faced off with Manny Pacquiao for the WBO title. He gets protective when someone threatens his fighters, or the cousin of one of his fighters, as happened after Kevin Lee fought Michael Chiesa.

“We’re not being bullied physically or on social media,” Cooper said. “You talk (expletive) about me, I’m talking (expletive) about you. Period. I don’t give a (expletive) if I’m at the White House with the president. I don’t care if I’m at the hospital with my girl having my child. You disrespect me, I’m disrespecting you.

“I’m a Malcolm X follower. I believe eye for an eye, cheek for a cheek, and that’s what it’s going to be until the day I die. But I’m the nicest, coolest guy in the world. But I’m no punk (expletive). I’m not going to be disrespected and my life challenged and not have some serious recourse about it.”

That’s one way to respond to online trolls.


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