Hector Lombard: Why the Media Should Not Tolerate the Intolerant

James MacDonaldFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2012

“Do you think Hector Lombard deserves a shot at Anderson Silva?”

This week, during his regular pre-fight interviews, Ariel Helwani had taken to asking various fighters for their thoughts on the legitimacy of Hector Lombard’s claim to a title shot. It seemed like a reasonable enough question, yet it appears to have the former Olympic judoka all bent out of shape.

In an interview with Alex Donno earlier this week, Hector Lombard ranted for several minutes about the impropriety of such a benign question, all the while sounding like Benicio Del Toro in The Usual Suspects.

It was a bizarre diatribe, in some ways reminiscent of Nick Diaz’s critique of Ariel Helwani—in its content, if not in its style. He slammed the MMAFighting.com personality repeatedly, echoing Diaz’s view that Helwani is in the business of stirring up trouble where none exists.

And it isn’t the first time the Cuban has reacted angrily to a reporter’s questions.

At the Bellator 44 post-fight press conference, a media member dared to suggest that Lombard’s performance against Falaniko Vitale was a tad dull. To say that this remark went down like a lead balloon is to denigrate the airiness of lead balloons. Indeed, Lombard was so enraged that he looked on the verge of tears.

It seems as though Lombard is creating his very own media minefield, making sure that we tread exceedingly carefully whenever his name is mentioned. It’s all very childish and, frankly, he should be called out on it more often.

The media cannot be expected to tiptoe around the feelings of a fighter who is, apparently, more sensitive than Joe Pesci in a Martin Scorsese movie.

I daresay there is no better representative of the MMA media than Ariel Helwani. He is ultra-professional, and capable of asking tough questions without alienating the fighters—most of the time, at least. If he can’t avoid riling the former Olympian, what chance do the less tactful among us have?