Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has given his thoughts on his daughter crying cageside at UFC 278 and has responded to critics like Conor McGregor about his decision to bring her to fights.
Usman shockingly lost to Edwards at UFC 278 just weeks ago in Salt Lake City. With just under a minute left until a likely victory for Usman, Edwards caught him with a head kick that resulted in him suffering his first career knockout defeat.
Usman was the pound-for-pound No. 1 entering the rematch with Edwards. He defeated Edwards in their first matchup via a unanimous decision in 2015 after winning The Ultimate Fighter Season 21.
It had been nine years since Usman left the MMA cage without a victory, with his first loss coming to Jose Caceres at CFA 11. While he continues to take the loss in stride, he experienced real emotions when seeing his daughter’s reaction to his stunning defeat.
In a recent appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, Usman gave his thoughts on his daughter’s reaction to one of the few low moments of his career.
“The camera pans into the audience, and it showed my daughter cry,” Usman said. “She cried, and it was the weirdest thing, it was an instant trigger response. My heart, like I wanted to cry just seeing that. As a parent, as a father… when they’re sick or something’s bothering them, you should feel it, it hits your heart. When my daughter was crying, it got to me like oh shit, I didn’t like seeing that.”
Usman’s admission comes after UFC star Conor McGregor suggested that family, especially children, shouldn’t be allowed to attend fights. After coming out triumphant in a fight, fighters often share a special moment with their loved ones, but defeat is a different story.
Usman would go on to address McGregor’s comments about bringing family to fights.
“I think Conor had tweeted something and was blasting me about it, for bringing her to the fight and this and that. And fuck no! (Critics) don’t understand it. They’re just in a low level of thinking to where they don’t understand like, absolutely I’m going to bring her. My daughter’s not only gonna see when daddy’s victorious and daddy just continues to beat everybody and daddy gets to put her in the best school or whatever she wants. No.
“Because I’m in a weird place where I’m trying to teach her. She has work ethic, but it’s kinda like, ‘Eh, I don’t want to do that today,’ or, ‘I don’t want to do gymnastics,’ or ‘I don’t want to do that this week.’ And she doesn’t want to do it. ‘Oh, I don’t like it anymore. I want to quit.’ And I’m trying to teach her the best way that I can without forcing her to do something of what it takes to work hard.
“My daughter has been going to the gym with me ever since she was six months old. So she understands that, and she’s OK with it. That’s why she can watch my fights. But I’m not only gonna bring her because daddy’s victorious. I am blessed right now with an opportunity to show my daughter that, ‘Look, you can fall down and look how you can get back up.’
“And to see people like Conor, who actually does have children, say something like that, it was like, Man, you’re missing the mark big time, bro. You’re missing it big time.”
Usman and his daughter’s relationship points to the fact that professional athletes are human and not superheroes. They still feel genuine emotions like all of us do during the highs and lows of their fighting careers. And, to Usman’s point, even the biggest of setbacks come with life lessons that can be passed down.
What are your thoughts on Kamaru Usman’s response to Conor McGregor?