The Story Behind a Fighter’s Nickname

Image of cage fence, Made4TheCage

An MMA fighter has to have many things to be a household name both in and out of the cage, but how important is their nickname?

For many fighters it’s a way to separate themselves and show off their personality.

For fighters like Sunderland’s Colin Fletcher, whose cage side manner lives up to his ‘Freakshow’ nickname, it’s just that.

Speaking to SportsByte he said: “I like doing things my way, it’s loads of fun for me. All I’d say is be true to yourself, be you whether people like it or not and train hard, train real hard.

“The guys at the gym in the early days just called me a freak because I was using and making up submissions before I’d really learned anything.

“I’m like marmite really and get some wicked love and my fans who are without doubt the best, but some people just hate my thing or don’t get it at all and think I’m acting or silly, but I don’t care,” he added.

With a lack of money in Mixed Martial Arts, especially compared to other sports such as boxing and football, some fighters feel that a fighter’s nickname is a potential business opportunity.

Number two ranked UK heavyweight James Mulheron agrees with this theory, but says that fighters still need to prove themselves in the ring to progress.

Speaking in an exclusive interview the north-east fighter nicknamed ‘The Juggernaut’ said: “It may give me opportunities for something like Juggernaut Fitness products or Fitness Classes, so it’s good in that sense.

“But your nickname doesn’t fight for you in the cage. Maybe it helps their other careers but it still doesn’t fight for you.”

One thing is for sure, nicknames are important to all fighters. When asked what ‘The Juggernaut’ means to him Mulheron added: “It gives me a sense of pride when I am referred to by that name and it makes me standout even more.

“It was my Dad who gave me the nickname. We were wrestling one day and I guess I just kept on going so someone said I was like a juggernaut and the name kind of stuck,” he said.

The nickname also reflects down to the grassroots of the sport, stretching from the dizzy heights of top ranked fighters like Mulheron and Fletcher, all the way down to the amateur and semi-professional ranks.

Washington born fighter Tom ‘Captain America’ Webster says it now even affects the way he fights in the cage: “It subconsciously alters the way you act in the cage and the image you want to try and give off.

“It definitely, 100% helps a fighter’s career. Some fighters are way ahead of where they should be purely due to their potential marketing value, but obviously only the best have both.”

So to all the casual fight fans who say that a nickname is just that, a name, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Whether it’s their in-ring persona, cage side manner or their market value it seems to have more effect than being just a name.