Eric Prindle, a professional mixed martial artist for nearly five years, loves almost everything about the sport that he has taken on as a career.
But "almost" is the operative word for Prindle.
“It’s up to the individual, but I don’t like when guys cross a certain line when they talk,” the 36-year-old Prescott, Arizona, native said. “There’s hyping up a fight, then there’s talking crap about other people's kids and stuff like that—I don’t like that.”
For Prindle, who served in the United States military for nearly a decade before diving head-first into the world of mixed martial arts, fighters should put an emphasis on being respectful, especially when in the public eye.
“When so much is riding on something—a career, more money, a bigger shot for the guy who wins—of course you have someone who has to lose, but I don’t think you should be disrespectful,” he said. “There’s no reason for doing that. I’m not certain, but I doubt any of the samurais back in the day did that kind of stuff.
“Honour breeds honour and disrespect breeds disrespect. If more of us took the honourable route, then more kids are going to want to emulate it and the Earth might be a nicer place to live.”
Prindle noted that he would continue to uphold a high level of respect in his career—both in his own fighting and as a coach when he hangs up his gloves—but he isn’t certain if his peers will follow his lead.
“In Erik Paulson’s time, there was more respect. People weren’t doing it for the paycheck; it was about respect,” Prindle said. “People were fighting to be the absolute best, but there’s way more money involved now. And with everything, the more people you have, you’re going to have more walks of life—different people—and things may change.
“A lot of us respect people and show respect to everybody. Hopefully it will spread versus going the other way.”
Ed Kapp is a Regina, Saskatchewan-based freelance journalist. Unless otherwise noted, all quotations were obtained firsthand.