It’s been a pretty busy month for civil rights issues in MMA with the Fallon Fox saga as well as the UFC debuting their women’s division and inheriting their first openly-gay fighter in Liz Carmouche in the process – what a twofer! And then this weekend Rashad Evans of all people took some time out to voice his support of marriage equality. Bloody Elbow has it:
“I’ve never been a homophobe, never understood what that is all about. I knew some people who were gay and never cared about their sexuality. But at the same time, I didn’t fully understand the issues around gay people until my friend BA started telling me about his full public support for gay marriage. We talked about the issue and I decided it’s not enough to not be against a minority, if you want things to go better for them you have to speak up with them.
“I’m a UFC fighter, a macho-type sport. I am a heterosexual guy in a tough macho sport, which is exactly the reason I feel a duty to say I support gay marriage and gay rights.
“I have nothing to gain personally from supporting this issue, and that’s the point. Society as a whole is better when there is equality, and I want to live in a country where everyone has the same rights because we all benefit from that.”
He makes a pretty good point about the macho element in combat sports. I grew up wrestling and there was certainly not even a detached irony to the phrase “checking for oil” whenever that move reared its ugly, brown head. Fighters typically aren’t the kind to have a soft touch to anything and it’s neat to see an ex-champion just kind of politely sign on to the marriage equality issue.
Like any other sport, being a “UFC fighter” comes with a certain platform and there are always going to be interviewers wanting to talk politics. Whether you want to be an Obamacare hating prick like Jacob Volkmann or a “pissing in the wind”-type blogger like Matt Hughes – the choices are yours and yours alone.