Is the president of Ultimate Fighting Championship — the same guy who threw around the term “fucking faggot” — now coming around and welcoming gays to the sport?
UFC chief Dana White found himself on the receiving end of some unhappy gay activists after he called out one of his critics as “a pussy and a fucking faggot.” In a YouTube video, of course. So how come the league’s topper is now so open to UFC’s obvious homoeroticism?
“Any guy involved in grappling is the furthest thing from homophobic in the world,” White tells Thaddeus Russell. “I honestly think it would have no impact whatsoever with not only our fighters or our fan base [if there were out gay fighters]. The guys in the UFC, everybody is so cool, it’s great sportsmanship, everybody has respect for each other. I honestly, it wouldn’t be a big deal to me and most of the guys I know in this sport, it wouldn’t be a big deal for them either.”
That’s quite a statement coming from the head of a major athletics league. And it’s hard to tell just how much of White’s “we love the gays!” sentiment is a reality, when members of the league are known for their homophobic outbursts. Heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar told a female fan, after she let him know than her male friend that he was cute, that “I don’t like gays … Write that down in your little notebook. I don’t like gays.”
It’s not unique to UFC; boxing’s Bernard Hopkins feels similar. And as boxing loses fans to mixed-martial arts sports, they’ve tried painting UFC as nothing more than a bunch of guys trying to screw each other in front of a crowd. (Promoter Bob Arum says MMA is like “guys rolling around like homosexuals on the ground,” notes Russell.)
But aren’t all of these sports — where athletes are muscled, shirtless, and sweating — engulfed in some level of homoerotics? Certainly, and they have been through history. All those Romans wrestling with each other? Naked? It would’ve been a whole different
ballgame match if television cameras were there to capture it all.