According to a June 8 report from MMA Fighting, UFC bantamweight superstar Bryan Caraway apologized to Erik Perez after he realized he fish-hooked him during their bout at UFC Fight Night 42. Fish-hooking, as most UFC fans know, is an illegal maneuver that involves inserting a finger into the mouth, nostrils or other orifices of a person, and then pulling away. Caraway, 29, said sorry to Perez following UFC Fight Night 42, and insists he didn't mean to do it.
Despite the apology, Caraway was heavily criticized on social media following his UFC Fight Night 42 bout against Perez. UFC fans took to Twitter to call him a dirty fighter, and even some other notable MMA superstars threw verbal pipe bombs his way after viewing clips of the illegal fish-hook technique. Caraway says he didn't realize he fish-hooked until after the fight was over. Will Caraway ever get over as a babyface in the MMA realm?
Not likely. No matter how much he wins and no matter how impressive his victories are, Caraway will always be hated. Some of it stems from jealousy, since he dates UFC bantamweight contender Miesha Tate, who is widely viewed as one of the most beautiful women in the world. Caraway admitted to FOX Sports that its sometimes difficult to deal with the keyboard warriors who constantly make comments about his relationship with Tate.
Caraway told FOX that he thinks Tate's fans expect to see her dating Georges St-Pierre or a movie star such as Brad Pitt, and that they are surprised she dates someone who isn't a Hollywood celeb. Of course, some of the hate that Caraway gets comes from fans of UFC bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey. Caraway made some outrageous comments to Rousey two years ago on Twitter, and some fans haven't forgotten about it.
Caraway ranted on Twitter that he would break Rousey's arm and knock her teeth out. He immediately apologized for those comments, but some people haven't forgiven him even though two years have since passed. So what should the answer be? Every great story needs a villain, so Caraway should do his part to play up the heel role. He has a great opportunity to be one of the most disliked fighters in the UFC, and there's great value in that.
Urijah Faber is one of the most beloved figures in the UFC, and he fights in the same division as Caraway. If the two men are ever to meet inside the Octagon, the table would be set for a true babyface vs. heel fight. UFC fans would know who to cheer for and who to boo, which would make for an intense atmosphere in the arena. The UFC doesn't have enough fights where fans know who to root for or boo.
Caraway, who moved into the top 10 in the world at bantamweight following his win over Perez, should do everything in his power to play up the heel role, including more controversial tweets and wacky quotes for the media. He should stop trying to convince people that he's a great guy, and start embracing the hate. Fans want someone to boo as must as they want someone to cheer for.