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Nationalism: Does it Belong in MMA?
By: MMA Writer Mike Alexander
During the Co-Main Event for UFC 143, the American, Roy “Big Country” Nelson, took on the Brazilian, Fabricio Werdum. In a regular match that sought to only put on an entertaining bout between two heavyweights, the crowd decided to change this fight into a US vs. Brazil fight by chanting “USA!”
Now before I get into this, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: I love America. Nothing I say in this article is meant to trash America. However I do believe that when fans start chanting “USA,” they paint all the citizens as hillbilly nationalists.
There was no need for the crowd to start chanting “USA.” Roy Nelson, while resembling the typical overweight American, wasn’t really representing America. He isn’t an Olympic athlete like Dan Henderson or Randy Couture. It’s not like Werdum was trash talking America before the fight. So why were the fans chanting “USA,” instead of something like “NELSON!” or something along those lines?
I think as Americans, we have placed too much value on where a fighter is from instead of if they are actually good or not. We don’t need to pick and choose when we act like baboons over an American fighter. We have the privilege of always being able to watch an American fight, seeing as a majority of the UFC’s PPVs and Fight Nights take place in America.
With that said, I also realize that other countries practice nationalism in sports as well. Guess what? I’m not bothered by them as much as I am when Americans decide to act like we are the baddest dudes alive and every other country out there is the enemy. Look at countries like Brazil. Sports over there are basically their religions and the athletes are their gods. You think I’m joking? Consider this: In the US during the UFC on Fox, the number of views ranged from 6-8 million, but during the last UFC Brazil card, 50 million Brazilians tuned in to watch the fights. The actual population in Brazil is just over 194 million citizens, meaning that a fourth of the population was watching! That’s an unheard number, especially considering that there has only been three events in Brazil. They love their sports, and considering that they have a limited chance to see their countrymen live, they get a pass on their nationalism.
Now don’t think there aren’t times where it isn’t acceptable to shout “USA!” When the Hendo vs. Bisping fight happened on UFC 100, that fight was marketed as USA vs. UK. There was a season of The Ultimate Fighter solely dedicated to USA vs. UK, basically assuring that this fight would get hyped a collision of nations. So I do think under certain circumstances that we can have a “USA” chant every once in awhile, but when we do it constantly, we just make ourselves looks like ignorant fans.
So now you know how I feel, but I now want to know what you think. Feel Free to comment and share your opinions on the article on our SOCIAL NETWORK COMMENT SECTION BELOW.
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