The wrath of popular opinion is as unpredictable as it is unrelenting. There are certain roles that make sense: the honorable hero, the disrespectful heel. But what of those that don’t? What do we do when the reality doesn’t match what’s on paper.
Enter Daniel Cormier.
He’s an Olympic athlete. He’s a dedicated family man. His closet is presumably skeleton-free. And yet, whenever he appears before a crowd of MMA fans, he is booed. And by booed I mean booed. Of the deafening variety.
The irony of the situation was most apparent in the midst of the Jon Jones rivalry. On paper, Jones should have been the villain. A checkered past, an air of arrogance. Jones was the “bad guy” but the fans loved him for it. And no one was more perplexed than Cormier, himself.
Who can blame him? We all want to be liked and that very quality, when presented in an obvious manner, seems to invite hatred. DC wears his emotions on his sleeve. He hides his alleged pain with a smile. But it looks like it hurts and whether or not it does is irrelevant.
No one can know what another person is truly feeling but body language and visual clues provide some insight. In that way, Cormier’s demeanor simply sparks something in people. For some reason, when individuals take on a mob mentality, victims become targets. Like a loner in the school yard, he is piled upon by the collective. And the more he seeks acceptance, the more he is rejected.
Now I’m no psychologist. Or sociologist. Or anthropologist. Or whatever ‘gist best applies to this subject. But as an inhabitant of this planet, I am somewhat experienced in the study of human behavior. Still, I can’t seem to pinpoint the source of dislike for Daniel Cormier. I don’t know why he is treated the way he is. I don’t know how he earned this reputation. But I do know that once opinions are established, they’re incredibly difficult to change.
How will DC be received in Jon Jones’ backyard on Saturday night? More importantly, will he be affected by the reaction, negative or otherwise?
Perhaps the lesson here is not one of thick skin, but rather resilience. What difference does it make whether or not the boos upset DC? If he can continue to perform at a high level, despite the tone of the crowd, then what does the rest matter?
A 19-1 record and the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship should be all the comfort he needs. History looks fondly upon those who stay the course. And DC is one of the best fighters in the history of our sport. Popular opinion will eventually correct itself. Karma will eventually get it right.
But for now, it’s all about winning. And Daniel Cormier is pretty damn good at that.