Home MMA NewsLatest News Anthony Smith Reflects on MMA’s Fan Base in 2023: “Once You Reach a Certain Level, They Turn Against You”

Anthony Smith Reflects on MMA’s Fan Base in 2023: “Once You Reach a Certain Level, They Turn Against You”

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MMA fan base

After 15 years, Anthony Smith’s passion for the fight game remains strong. However, he’s grown disillusioned with the spectacle that has become an integral part of MMA in 2023.

“While I still love the actual fight just as much as I always have,” Smith expressed during an interview on The MMA Hour, “[the lead-up to the night], I despise it. I hate it. Every second of it.”

It wasn’t always like this for Smith.

During the first decade of his career, “Lionheart” reveled in the anticipation leading up to fight night. He experienced the highs and lows of the game, making stops in various promotions like the UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator, and the United States regional scene. Eventually, he found his stride in his second stint with the UFC, culminating in a title run at 205 pounds and a championship bout against Jon Jones at UFC 235. Since then, Smith has remained a prominent figure in the title picture. However, along the way, the magic started to fade.

“The more popular I get, the more I hate it, to be honest with you,” Smith confessed.

“Perhaps ‘popular’ is the wrong word. Maybe it’s more about being recognized? I don’t know. I struggle to define it. It’s just that everyone outside this whole circus show makes it miserable for those of us inside it. Maybe I’m one of the few guys who will be honest about that. Fans used to be the driving force, pushing you through, providing support. But once you reach a certain level, they turn against you.

“They build you up, and when you’re feeling low, facing hardships while chasing the dream that everyone envisions, it’s the supporters, fans, and those around you who help you reach the finish line,” Smith continued. “You hear champions and the sport’s biggest superstars talk about doing it for the fans, but they’re full of it. It’s awful. The higher you climb in this sport, the more you’re criticized.”

“I’m not trying to play the victim here,” he added. “I’ve put myself in a great position in life through all this. But since you asked, the external circus show makes it incredibly difficult at times.”

Nevertheless, Smith isn’t eagerly awaiting retirement. Despite recent setbacks, including a two-fight losing streak against Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker, he remains fully committed to the beauty and truth that unfolds during those exhilarating fight nights.

“I love fighting more than I despise the other aspects,” Smith declared. “I genuinely do. I adore fighting. I cherish every second. After the [Walker] fight, I was upset and disappointed. However, there was a part of me that truly enjoyed it. Despite the outcome, being in the Octagon was gratifying.

“There’s a sense of the unknown, the anxiety you can’t find anywhere else. I’ve tried searching for it elsewhere, but it’s exclusive to this sport. So, you’re savoring something that rarely comes your way, and that’s thrilling. Plus, the fight itself is enjoyable. I wish I could do it more often.”

This sentiment is understandable. Since 2020, Smith has only competed four times, a significant decrease from his average of three fights per year throughout most of his MMA career. In 2022, he had his least active year, participating in only one fight.

Looking ahead, Smith is determined to change this pattern. Following his loss to Walker in May, he expressed readiness to return to training and secure his next bout. While he may not relish the accompanying circus, the thrill of fight night surpasses all else.

“There are some light heavyweight fights scheduled in the next few weeks,” Smith revealed. “I’ll have to wait and see how things unfold, assess the landscape. But I definitely want to be more active. I believe it would benefit me. I perform well when I’m consistently fighting and competing. That’s what works best for me.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about MMA fan base

Q: What does Anthony Smith discuss in this text?

A: Anthony Smith discusses his love for fighting, the challenges he faces with fan support and criticism, and his experiences in the world of MMA. He shares his thoughts on the evolving fan base and how it can turn against fighters as they reach higher levels of popularity.

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FightGameFanatic June 18, 2023 - 10:31 pm

Anthony Smith knows wassup! He’s all bout da fight & hates da lead-up to it. Fans can be brutal, man. It’s crazy how they build u up then turn on u. Keep fightin’, Smith!

mmafan87 June 19, 2023 - 10:23 am

smith talks bout his luv 4 fighting & how fans can be real haters once u get popular. its tough dealin with all that circus & criticism. hope he gets bk in the octagon soon!

OctagonObserver June 19, 2023 - 10:48 am

Interesting insights from Smith. Fans can be fickle, but it’s part of the game. Props to him for staying honest & passionate about fighting. Can’t wait to see him back in action!


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