Joe Brammer throwing hands while T-Shirt Ref looks on via
Joe Brammer was all set to make his UFC debut this weekend against grappling specialist Mark Bocek in quiet fashion — the same way most Octagon newbies do it. But then something happened. The interwebs began buzzing about Brammer’s choice of sponsorship, specifically the Hoelzer Reich Clothing Company.
Turns out that some people think that the folks who run Hoelzer Reich might support this neo-nazi phenomenon that’s been sweeping the nation lately. (Personally, I think the Twilight craze is far more damaging to the fabric of society, but that’s neither here nor there.) Whether or not that is actually the case, people are going to get suspicious when you sell shirts that look like this and have the word “Reich” in the name of your company. Sure, “reich” is merely the German translation for empire or nation, but most of us who don’t speak Schnitzelese tend to associate the word with those lovely bunch of fellows known as the Third Reich.
The company sponsors a host of fighters, including notable names like Donald Cerrone, Mac Danzig, Lyle Beerholm, and Shane Primm. But are they just fighters? Or are they also raging white supremacist neo-nazis hell bent on infusing the MMA world with their hatred for all things not pale and pasty? I don’t know the answer, but somebody has to ask the tough questions. Just ask Glenn Beck. Oh, and FYI, another fighter Hoelzer Reich sponsors is some rookie named Justin Diggers, who also happens to be one of them colored folk.
I know what you’re thinking: “So is this company run by a bunch of neo-nazis or what? And if so, where do I get me a shirt to show my support for the cause?” (I assume you’re a racist because, you know, you’re an MMA fan.) All we really know is that Hoelzer Reich sells clothes that have a certain German flavor to them. Neo-nazis seem like they would probably like this stuff. But people who are into German ancestry who have no support for the neo-nazi movement seem like they would also probably be into it. Hell, the ever growing segment of the population that is creepily obsessed with skull T-shirts would probably dig this shit, too.
One argument is that, regardless of the beliefs of the Hoelzer Reich company owners, neo-nazis tend to wear these shirts and shirts like them, and therefore there is something inherently wrong with the brand itself. When Jersey guidos started wearing Affliction shirts in droves, did that mean you had to retire yours? When douche bags across the country started wearing TapOut tees like they were going out of style, did that mean you had to put yours back in the closet? Actually, the answer to both of those questions is an unequivocal yes. But the point is that just because some people consume a particular product doesn’t mean that the product itself is inherently bad.
The fact is that it isn’t exactly clear whether the owners of the company are themselves neo-nazis. And the shirts themselves have no Nazi propaganda on them. What is clear is that a bunch of people are making some not-so-nice accusations about another group of people that even more people are holding as facts, yet, to my knowledge, there is no concrete evidence to support said accusations. I have a vague memory of a group who engaged in this sort of activity, but I can’t seem to remember their name. Oh, that’s right. The Nazis.
Look, I don’t know whether these Hoelzer Reich people spread hatred in their spare time. All I’m saying is that, just for kicks, we should match the next guy who gets sponsored by Hoelzer Reich against somebody sponsored by Manischewitz Matzo Crackers. Then maybe we can have Rampage Jackson rematch Chuck Liddell while “The Iceman” wears a white hood. Say what you want, but it’ll at least be more interesting than the current UFC 108 card.
And remember, in the end, we’re dealing with a guy who fights in a cage for a living entering said cage while wearing a T-shirt that some people don’t like.