Seemingly overnight twitter has grown rapidly and enormously – Beginning as a small-time social media tool to combat the issues with social media juggernauts Facebook and Myspace it has grown into arguably the most useful tool at your fingertips.
With over 350 million users online it gives a mainstream star the opportunity to converse with their fans while giving them the chance to keep up with their lives and voice their opinion on the hot points of discussion inside their Twittersphere.
Unfortunately, with the good also comes the bad – When a star with millions of users following them is frustrated or has had a few too many drinks and should be sleeping it off decides to log into twitter, that’s when things take a turn for the worse.
Muhammed Lawal, more prominently referred to as “King Mo” went before the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) due to a positive test for a banned substance after his one-sided beat down on Lorenz Larkin.
As most expected to happen, the American Kickboxing Academy standout was fined $39,000 and slapped with a nine month suspension from competition.
But the real action began after he left the room, within minutes he was typing away on his smart phone sending a tweet out to his 16,571 followers calling NSAC commissioner Pat Ludvall a “racist bitch”.
Issues arose during the conference when Ludvall asked Lawal if he “speaks or writes English” despite being seven minutes into the meeting where the college graduate had been speaking.
Whether or not her comments were race related or not are unknown, in fairness the question was likely to establish on the record that he had a full understanding of what was going on during the proceedings but I can understand Lawal getting upset from this statement.
His now-deleted tweet in return got him released from his deal with Zuffa, LLC the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Strikeforce.
But Lawal is not the first person to ruffle a few feathers from their statements made in 140 characters or less, Bryan Caraway threatened to beat up a woman, both Miguel Torres and Forrest Griffin have sent out tweets making light of women being raped and Tito Ortiz even showed the world his junk.
Even at the top of the food chain UFC President Dana White is hardly a saint on social media, blasting fans who disagree with his comments or calling female MMA journalist Loretta Hunt a “dumb bitch”.
With all of this commotion it’s clear that a strict code of conduct needs to be put in place to stop idiocy plaguing social media – At this stage there is no cement rules on what combatants can or cannot say on social media sites.
UFC hold the annual Fighter Summit each year which holds classes encouraging their fighters to responsibly use twitter but is that enough? Without a consistent set of guidelines it’s worth nothing.
Both the NBA and NFL have done their part to stop inappropriate uses of social media with a few simple rules and consequences that don’t allow their players to tweet during games or within certain times before and after.
Now more than ever the UFC is encouraging their fighters to be on twitter with financial benefits for doing so, all that we need now are some ground rules.