An American MMA fighter used a Tagalog word for vagina to diss Filipino ONE champ Joshua Pacio, and we’re not impressed

Images: Joshua Pacio / Jarred Brooks (Instagram)
Images: Joshua Pacio / Jarred Brooks (Instagram)

ONE Strawweight World Champion and Team Lakay member Joshua Pacio, 26, is set to defend his title when he returns to the ONE Circle, and naturally, this doesn’t come without its typical fare of trash talk.

American challenger and former UFC star Jarred Brooks, 28, is out to snatch Pacio’s title and dissed the Benguet-born reigning strawweight champion in likely the most un-creative way possible: calling him a puki, the Filipino slang word for “pussy.”

“Pacio is a puki,” Brooks, who is ranked no. 2, proclaimed in an interview with ONE Championship. “If you want to translate that then you can. Is there anybody who wants to translate that? He’s a puki.”

While trash talk undoubtedly revs up the testosterone-fueled rage of contact sports such as mixed martial arts and encourages fanfare, the call-out doesn’t land well when placed within the Filipino context — which is warranted, given that Brooks chose to co-opt a word from the Filipino language.

Although the word puki can be considered vulgar in everyday language, the same goes for all other terms that refer to genitals in general, such as titi or burat (penis), bayag (balls), and other choice alternatives for vagina such as pekpek or kiki, as University of the Philippines anthropologist Michael Tan noted in his study, Philippine Keywords in Sexuality.

While one is better off leaving genitalia-related words in general conversation, referring to the vagina as an insult doesn’t exist in the local lexicon and is hardly derogatory — at least when referring to the lack of one’s “manliness.” No wonder it isn’t stinging Pacio the way Brooks may have intended.

“I’m not annoyed with him,” Pacio said in an interview with South China Morning Post. “I understand what he’s doing. I understand the business side of this sport. I think he’s trying to get in my head. But no man, that’s your thing. Do your thing, and this is mine. I can’t do trash talking because this is my personality.”

As for Brooks, he’s acknowledged that disses are part of his fighter’s persona that has landed him multiple opportunities throughout his MMA career. “I’m definitely calling my shots and a closed mouth don’t get fed,” he told sports website TheAllStar in January.

But trash-talking a reigning titleholder by calling him a pussy? Someone get this guy a copywriter, quick.

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