Sara McMann has quietly amassed a three-fight win streak. Actually, quiet is the way she likes it.
McMann is one of the rare breeds of prizefighters that is out there doing it purely for the love the game. She has been known to actively avoid putting herself out in the media and keep much of her private life separate from the spotlight of being a professional athlete.
“I don’t fight for fame or money,” she told espnW in the lead-up to her 2014 title fight against Ronda Rousey. “I am knowingly wasting opportunities other fighters would love to have. But why should I want something just because other people want it? Should I want to drive a new Lexus just because other people do? I don’t want a new Lexus. And anyway, whatever car I drive would just smell like workout gear anyway.”
Despite sheltering a lot of her private life, there are several things we know that contribute to how McMann comports herself publicly. She has a laundry list of amateur wrestling credentials (including a 2004 Olympic silver medal), she has a masters degree in mental health counseling, she does regular volunteer work, and has suffered several personal tragedies.
That combination reflects in the eloquent and respectful manner in which she speaks about any subject.
Even her call outs are polite. In fact, she went on the mic last Sunday night after defeating Gina Mazany in 74 seconds, and for the second fight in a row asked the UFC to give her another crack at the belt — in the most cordial way imaginable, obviously.
She took to Instagram several days later with a message that encapsulates her as a fighter. How she understands that she operates in a violent competition, however, her intention is never to cause long-lasting harm.
“…I am a fierce competitor, but at the end of the day, I am a human. I never want to do irreparable damage to anyone, either physically or mentally.”
View this post on Instagram
This is one of my new favorite pics!! I respect every one of my opponents. Before I fight, I pray for my own safety but I also pray for theirs. This is a competition and I am a fierce competitor, but at the end of the day I am a human. I never want to do irreparable damage to anyone, either physically or mentally. This is the true goal of sports and I will always respect those who have the courage to go in front of millions and test themselves. #ufc #ufchalifax #sportsmanship #revolutionmma #allianceofgreenville
Her words ring echoes of other honorable fighters like Demian Maia and Brian Stann. Maia has more than once espoused the virtues of how Brazilian Jiu Jitsu allows him to win fights without hurting his opponents. Similarly, one of Stann’s most memorable in-the-cage moments was when, in the last win of his career, he stopped his own fight against Alessio Sakara before the referee could intervene.
These type of fighters are needed in the sport. They add their own character to the spectrum of personalities that make up the MMA landscape. It cannot all be theatrics and shit-talking, however entertaining that can be. Having them around is a good reminder that the game can be played in different ways.
This article comes to you via @GavelPro
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