An unusual development in MMA: a fighter has been reprimanded by his organization for threatening to use violence against his opponent. Mike “Grenade” Brunson (4-1, 3 KOs) is currently scheduled to face Mexican standout Gilberto “Jalapeno” Rodruigez (6-0, 4 KOs) in a MMA fight in the 170lb (welterweight) division on October 21st in Kombat Fighting Championship’s “KFC – the hottest fights in town” event in Oakland, California. During a media day last Thursday, Brunson said he would “pepper his opponent’s nose with jabs until it looks like pepperoni pizza” and then would “take him down and end his night with a rear naked choke”.
The KFC did not let these fighting words go unnoticed. While a stoic Rodruigez only reacted to the trash talk with icy stares, KFC’s vice-president of corporate outreach and sponsor relations, Emmett Overweight took the microphone right after Brunson, and addressed the media representatives in attendance. “We take threats of violence in the workplace very seriously” said Overweight. Overweight, whose corporate portfolio includes marketing and the drafting of policies in the KFC’s dealings with sponsors is usually not present at pre-fight media days. This time he was – and he felt that it was necessary to clarify the KFC’s position on what he had just witnessed. “We have a zero-tolerance policy in regards to threats of violence, whatever the context is.”
The next day, the KFC management also apologized for Brunson’s use of the word “naked” (as in “rear naked choke”). KFC director of media relation Kenneth Unehrlich stated in a press release dated Friday that “We realize that hearing the word ‘naked” can trigger survivors of public exhibitionism. We do not condone this kind of offensive language.”
In response to the controversy, Brunson was volunteered to do 20 hours of community work in the newly established home for abandoned bunny rabbits in his home town of Las Vegas, Nevada.