Trash talking and insults might be part and parcel of the Western MMA scene, but those are not acceptable in Asia, according to Saiful Merican.
A recent UFC 229 fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor made international headlines due to a post-fight scuffle.
Tension had already been brewing in the build-up to the UFC lightweight world title clash with both fighters pulling no punches in their war of words.
During an appearance on online talk show [email protected]
, Saiful, who has been fighting out of Malaysia since 1998, said such trash talk would not be condoned in this part of the world.
"In this sport, we should not insult others because it will get personal.
"That's the difference between the Western [MMA] and in Asia, such as the ONE Championship, as we value and uplift MMA icons as heroes and idols.
"In the West, they trash talk and insult to sell tickets, but in Asia, we prefer people who are humble.
"We fight inside the ring, but outside of it, we are all normal, some are quiet and some like to talk, because it is a sport.
"We fight not because we want to hit people or just win championships, but it is how we carry ourselves in real life, as it teaches us about discipline and respect," said the Muay Thai practitioner, who is also vice president of the Malaysian Mixed Martial Arts Association (MASMMAA).
Despite understanding why McGregor did what he did, Saiful said he personally could not approve the Irishman's action.
"I understand McGregor did those things to sell tickets and for publicity, but we are icons for young people and being watched all around the world, so we need to show the best examples.
"Parents in Asia won't want their kids to be like that, going to school and insulting others about family, religion and so on.
"If you ask me, I don't want my children [to grow up and become like McGregor]," he added.