South Korean rapper Jay Park found himself caught in UFC beef crossfire on Saturday night, getting slapped by featherweight contender Brian Ortega at UFC 248 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The artist’s alignment with MMA fighter Chan Sung Jung (also known as “The Korean Zombie”) is what has put a target on his back.
The qualms the fighters had with eachother didn’t brew overnight, and quite honestly it wasn’t hostility all before. Taking a flashback to October, Ortega had his arm over Jung’s shoulder when promoting a fight.
It took quite a lot of online back and forth between the two fighters before Saturday’s pandemonium ensued.
From K-pop Finger Hearts To Open Palm Strikes, Here’s A Timeline of The Korean Zombie and Brian Ortega.
The Battle In Busan We Never Got
Ortega and Jung were first meant to battle in Busan on a December UFC card. The card was UFC’s second appearance in Korea, so of course they needed to have their most popular active Korean fighter on the card (most popular of all time is a different discussion, as former fighter Dong Hyun Kim has made himself out to be a Korean variety show darling).
At a press event in October, the fighters seemed anything but hostile when doing a staredown for Korean media. Adjusting quick to local culture, Ortega flashed a “finger heart” to Jung, a two-finger expression meant to be in the shape of the bottom of a heart. This elicited laughs, as the two embraced eachother before leaving the stage.
But people had more to love than the wholesome nature of the two fighters. Ortega was coming off of his first loss as a pro, albeit in striking war against Max Holloway that could have turned uglier than it was, if not for doctors intervening in the fourth round.
Jung was on a roll as a fighter, having recently disposed of Renato Moicano in just under a minute, crashing the ranked fighter to the canvas with an overhand right.
But, like many things in the sport of MMA, the fan-friendly matchup was just too good to happen. In early December, an ACL tear took Ortega off of the card. The caveat of it all was Jung found a last-minute replacement opponent in Frankie Edgar.
Things Turn Sour
Things seemed fine for a while afterwards. “The Korean Zombie” got a quick win in his home country, and Ortega was healing his injury. However, everything changed once Jung went on “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show,” an ESPN podcast.
Here’s where Park comes back into the equation. Since Jung speaks Korean, his manager Jay Park played translator role for the interview.
When asked who he wants to fight next, Park said this on his behalf: “It doesn’t matter, (Max) Holloway, (Alexander) Volkanovski, Ortega, but Ortega already ducked him one time. So he doesn’t need to fight a fighter that is ducking him already.”
Writing off the injury Ortega had, Zombie claimed it was a tactic to avoid him. This didn’t sit well with Ortega, who went to social media to put his crosshairs on Jung and Park.
“Jay Park welcome to the fight game don’t be surprised if I slap the s*** out of you when I see you,” said Ortega in a Instagram post, with scattered profanity and surprisingly accurate foresight.
Now, the recent instalment in the beef has seen Park get hit in the face.
In an English post via Instagram on Sunday, Jung was quite upset with his manager being attacked.
“You should have attacked me. If so, I would have not been upset. You are such a coward for slapping a musician not a fighter,” he said, addressing Ortega. The post, which had language which can’t be repeated on this site, went on to indicate that he wants to meet Ortega in a sanctioned fight.
While Park was no fan of Ortega’s actions on Saturday, he will not press charges as he doesn’t sue people “who have less than I do.”
He’ll return to “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show” later today for the second time, although he won’t be translating. The appearance will likely delve more into what happened during UFC 248.