In Quinton "Rampage" Jackson's eyes, fans aren't always appreciative of what fighters go through on a day-to-day basis.
MMA training is arguably the most rigorous form of training in all of sports.
To be successful, a fighter must dedicate his entire life to dieting and enduring excruciating training regimens to ensure peak performance on fight night.
Unfortunately, fans are oblivious to the amount of work a professional fighter puts in, unless they've actually trained or done some behind-the-scenes work in the sport. The action typically unfolds in front of people like a play in a theatre. All of the hard work and monumental disappointments leading up to the big night are completely shrouded in mystery by a red curtain.
People can only react to what they know and see. Fans don't want to hear about some injury that occurred during training camp. If a fighter falls short, the onus is on the athlete, and any defensive statement, regardless of how true, is nothing but an empty excuse.
At UFC 159, Cheick Kongo was completely trampled on by Roy Nelson. Immediately after the fight, fans began to question Kongo's chin and overall motivation in training. Rampage, Kongo's friend and training partner, took to Twitter in defense of his fallen comrade.
Rampage Jackson @Rampage4real
We do things that fans only wish they had the balls 2 do. Respect 2 u @kongo4real http://t.co/mooZmGaQ5M5/5/2013, 6:11:01 PM
Rampage has been particularly critical of American fans in the past.
In an interview with ESPN, he called American fans "the most negative MMA crowd ever." He pointed to December's heavyweight showdown between Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez as a prime example.
Dos Santos took a lopsided beating for five straight rounds in the bout, but he never gave up and continued to engage Velasquez in the standup. Despite his heartfelt performance, Dos Santos was still booed out of the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Maybe not all fans want to actually step into the cage and compete, but they do sometimes become desensitized while sitting on the sidelines. The sad reality is that most fans seek only to be entertained, which is their prerogative as consumers of a product.
As fighters, it's Rampage and Kongo's prerogative to compete elsewhere, which both have recently decided to do.