Michael ‘Venom’ Page ‘hates’ trash talk, suggests UFC fines for Colby Covington-like offenders
Michael “Venom” Page is excited to take on Kevin Holland in his long-awaited UFC debut, and that’s in part because he knows they will promote their fight “the right way.”
Page is thrilled to sign with the industry-leader and get the chance to prove he’s the best welterweight in the world. Less thrilling is the trash talk and misbehavior that’s become a recent fixture of the fighting life.
“The trash talking is going to be good, but respectful,” Page said of his UFC 299 meeting with Holland. “What I’ve been seeing so far in combat sports, I hate. I don’t like people talking about people’s fathers, people’s wives, people’s girlfriends, people’s kids, all of that stuff. We need to go back to martial arts.”
Page watched this past week at UFC 296 as his countryman, Leon Edwards, endured some of the most crass insults ever seen before a fight with ex-interim champ Colby Covington mocking the UFC welterweight champ’s dead father. Edwards threw a water bottle at Covington, forcing UFC security to intervene. The champ admitted afterward that the episode left him in tears and filled with rage toward the American title challenger.
“Everyone seems to have lost themselves a little bit,” Page continued. “I have zero respect for people that feel the need to go that way. We’re skillful athletes, and that should be enough. I’m all for the banter, I’m all for the jokes and keeping it kind of friendly, and that should be enough to build a fight. We can keep the intensity, but it should stay between me and the person that’s fighting, and that’s it.”
Page suggested one potential solution for the recent episodes of bad behavior: fines. In the previous decade, the UFC took a hard line toward offensive language, once cutting Miguel Torres for quoting a TV joke about sexual assault and fining Nate Diaz for using homophobic language.
“It’s insane,” Page said. “Just do something to kind of alleviate [the problem] – if you’re going to step over the line, I’m not going to punish you open to the public, because it sells, I guess, but there you go. Have that fine. Let’s see how often you’re going to want to do things like that, like the yellow card in football. You don’t want to promote things the wrong way.”
Of course, there are times when all the security in the world can’t prevent unsanctioned violence from taking place, as when UFC middleweight champ Sean Strickland leapt over chairs to attack his title challenger Dricus Du Plessis, who made light of Strickland’s past with child abuse. That’s another reason Page sees to enforce some standards of behavior.
“When it gets that kind of personal, real stuff can actually happen, and it falls back on the UFC,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ve seen that it’s getting a bit too much, and they tighten it up. But on a positive note, I think me and Holland are going to be the way it should be.”