Blood sport fans racial divisions


Those who know me know that I'm not one to ruin family parties by questioning the probability of Christ being born on December 25, or how Thanksgiving is celebrated for wrong reasons. For the most part, I'm civil and like to enjoy food and fun with my loved ones. But I can't avoid pondering what certain events imply and what other factors are at play in them. The most recent example wasn't a holiday but another huge event, which took place in Anaheim, Calif., at the Honda Center last Saturday.

I'm talking about Ultimate Fighting Championship 121.

UFC is a U.S.-based Mixed Martial Arts company that hosts numerous events throughout the world, including the above-mentioned tournament. The company has been around since the early 1990's but has gained popularity in recent years.

The tagline for UFC used to be "there are no rules!" The violent nature of the sport drew the attention of state athletic commissions and even politicians like John McCain, forcing the company to tighten its rules. For instance, it wasn't until UFC 12 that weight classes were introduced, meaning that, before then, bigger fighters could often be found smashing smaller opponents. But by UFC 14, gloves were mandatory, while kicks to the head of a downed opponent, hair pulling, fish-hooking, head butting and groin strikes were all banned as well.

For the most part, UFC acts like a typical professional sport. It exploits a human's athletic physical capability for profit. Advertisements can be seen everywhere: on the mat, in the stadium, even on the shorts the fighters are wearing.

Fighters are placed in a cage reminiscent of the type in which roosters are readied to peck at each other during cockfights. Roosters have owners just like the UFC fighters have managers, who push their fighter go at it without regard for the blood that is about to be shed.

I paid close attention to the commercials advertising the event a week before the match. One trailer suggested an "us vs. them" theme. Lesner had U.S. flag behind him and Cain Valasquez had a Mexican flag. The advertisers were trying to appeal to the nationalism of the fans, white vs. brown. Cain Valasquez even has a tattoo on his chest that says "Brown Pride." Fans in the crowd were waving either Mexican flags or American flags. One sign in the crowd said "Yes we Cain" a play on the famous activist slogan "Yes we can."

How disgusting to watch as UFC profiteers exploit the vulnerability of the nation's struggles! Worse still, the show served to divide working-class viewers when, in reality, what we need is unity between all nationalities and races.

The owners knew what they were doing. In two of the four Card Fights, which preceded the main event, the same Latino vs. white formula was employed: Brendan Schaub vs. Gabriel Gonzaga, Tito Ortiz vs. Matt Hamill.

Valasquez won the main fight within the first round. Mexican flags waved in the crowd, while, in my living room, friends and family cheered or jeered. When the "Aztec" won, I couldn't help but consider whether this represented immigrants overcoming their oppressors. Even if it did, the last thing we need is the image of a Latino fighter bloodying up a white, a concept of race warfare.

The nationalism used conjures up the most barbaric aspect of our cultures. It is used to divide people. The imagery evoked that used by fascist states, which used ancient symbols to fan the flames of pride and division.

These ideas allude to a fascistic world outlook that "might equals right." This sport perfectly embodies the ruling class ideology, which states that the stronger you are, the more well equipped you are, the better.

This type of entertainment pushes humanity backwards.

Image: PlayStation.Blog.Europe // CC-BY-NC 2.0

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  • There is nothing wrong with Brown Pride and in fact I do endorse that to an extent particularly here in the U.S. with the racism and discrimination against Latino people, but with this type of medium, not at all. I have to admit, i did enjoy the fight and do enjoy most sports where it is nation against nation in a friendly competition, but would you say this is friendly? not at all... also, i do believe that Marial arts and most sports are legitimate art forms. They take skill, discipiline and will. But like what karl marx said in the communist manifesto:

    "The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe."

    This company has stipped martial arts of its halo. What once were legit art forms, have become a occupation and sorce for profit. But that's the way most sports are in a capitalist society. Like i said, i enjoy watching sports but I think as progressives, we really need to think outside the box sometimes. I mean take american football for instance, I mean a quick overview would suggest these are just players playing a sport. But there is a reason they retire early. Our bodies weren't made to perform like that for so many years. I heard cases were football player get dementia. i heard a case were a football player can't even remember how to get to his house sometimes because of the abuse that is done to his head. How can you argue this is not exploitation? I wished for people to not see this as UFC per se, but sports in general. We need a revolutionary outlook on sports and how it should be implemented and practiced, whether, it's boxing, baseball, martial arts, etc.

    Posted by Benjamin Kay, 11/09/2010 2:49pm (5 years ago)

  • I've been a fan of UFC for a long time, and while I count myself on the progressive side I have never really found a contradiction between the two. I actually went down to my neighborhood bar and paid a cover to watch this fight and I enjoyed it as much as any other big one.

    I can say that I also found myself cheering for Cain just because of nationality. I just liked the idea of seeing the first Mexican heavyweight champion win the belt. In what has been a very difficult time for the Mexican American community this was a shallow but fun win.

    I'm sure that my arguments about technique and skill level and historical references won't change any minds but I think that there is room for competetive fighting in a socialist world.

    ... and the best fights are Russian Combat Cambo anyhow...

    Posted by Jordan Farrar, 11/09/2010 12:38pm (5 years ago)

  • You must be new to sports. This is done EVERYWHERE. When there's an international competition, EVERYONE has a hometeam. Soccer? EVERYONE has a hometeam they root for. It's the same thing here. They advertise it as "Hey! Cheer for your guys!" to get people into that same spirit, not to create some sort of model of "race warfare". Look into UFC 58. What was it called? 'USA vs. Canada'. Oh, so that MUST mean we're at war with Canadians? In fact, ANY sport could be seen in that model. It's ALL "us vs. them". So let's ban ALL sports, shall we?
    And what *EXACTLY* is wrong with brown pride? I think everyone should be proud of who they are. We're NOT all the same. I'm not the Mexican guy, I'm not the Asian guy, I'm the European guy. I'm proud to be what I am. I want everyone to be proud of who they are. If anything, LACK of self pride is dangerous. Back when I was at school, we had like...10 Mexican kids. Most of them always looked kinda down. So I asked em what was up. They felt "different" because they were in a majority white school. Guess what the "be proud to be Brown" speech did? Perked em up like nothing else.
    Bottom line is, this article is completely ridiculous and if stupidity were a crime, you should definitely do a day in the joint.

    Posted by Vurban, 11/08/2010 8:19pm (5 years ago)

  • While I agree that this is base, vulgar entertainment with many racial and patriarchal connotations and implications; how do you figure that it is "push[ing] humanity backwards"?

    Perhaps it is instead, an indicator of where we, as a group, are right now. Attacking the indicator isn't going to solve the problem.

    This sort of entertainment is drooled over, sought out, funded, and watched because for now, that's what the people want. It's not being pushed on them, it's being sought out by them.

    I propose we invest some time in finding out how to change the root causes of this desire, instead of attacking one of our few indicators of the state of societies maturity.

    Posted by Maximilian Hyland, 11/08/2010 12:42pm (5 years ago)

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