This weekend one of the most intriguing and exciting heavyweight battles in UFC heavyweight history will be taking place when champion Brock Lesnar faces off against American Kickboxing Academy’s prized heavyweight, Cain Velasquez. The organization has been marketing this event like crazy and when the pay-per view numbers come in for UFC 121, I expect them to be well over a million buys.
It may sound absurd to criticize the UFC’s promotion of Lesnar vs. Velasquez, but I am going to do just that. Instead of focusing on the skill of these warriors, Zuffa is focusing on the ethnicity of Velasquez. The UFC should be above this and doesn’t need to stoop so low to raise their profit.
Velasquez is one of the most exciting fighters in the division. He is undefeated and has looked unstoppable as he uses his endless gas tank and never dying spirit to dispose of his opponents. But there is one thing the UFC wants you to make sure you don’t forget… Cain is a Mexican-American — thank you, Captain Obvious.
Everyone is growing tired of the constant reminders of Velasquez’s heritage.
I will admit that I, too, am a proud Mexican-American — one glance at my last name would clue you in on that. However, building this fight up as Mexican vs. American is digging into one of the ugliest aspects of American culture. Velasquez being Mexican has nothing to do with why I am a fan of his. I root for the guy because he always brings it when he steps into the cage.
Even Brock Lesnar has resorted to comments such as, “when I get done whooping your ass, I will have a Corona and eat a burrito for you Mexican heritage. How about that?”
I understand the UFC is trying to expand among the Latino demographic and is using this fight to break the bank and draw in more fans. What they don’t seem to understand is that mixed martial arts fans often just root for their favorite fighter and the one they think is most talented or entertaining. Race is usually not a factor.
Some ugly comments have surfaced across the internet because of the marketing of this bout. One quick glance at “The Underground” forums and you would see many racist and unnecessary remarks about Cain and his family. People making comments regarding Velasquez’s “Brown Pride” tattoo and churning out their own “White Power” statements. It really is ugly.
Why don’t we just leave politics out of this and admire this bout for what it really is going to be?
I ask all of you true martial arts fans to join me on Saturday. I want you all to order the pay-per view, sit back — perhaps enjoy an ice cold adult beverage — and enjoy the fights. It really is going to be an epic battle between two of the sports top big men, so appreciate it for that.
Don’t turn this into a race war, Zuffa. You are above that.