As you all know Miguel Torres just got released from the UFC for a rape joke he made on Twitter.
As the world of MMA is quickly screaming injustice, I wonder where I stand and where I should stand as a female fan. One thing needs to be said first: rape is not funny. With almost 4 millions women victim of sexual assault each year, the crime itself should never go unpunished. That being said, should a man who used this taboo subject for laughing matter be punished to the extend of losing his job, his income and his reputation?
We live in a world where oversensitivity and shock value battle each others for the headline of newspapers and social medias. On one side, you have the movie industry, stand-up comedians and not so politically correct bloggers who make a living out of being offensive and promoting the shock-value culture. Twitter is the perfect vehicle for distasteful messages because of its quick world-wide propaganda ability. How many times did we read something incredibly racist or the use of the word "gay" or "retard" on Twitter? The writer often assume that intelligent beings will be able to see through the initial shock statement and understand that the funny bit is all about exposing how wrong the comment actually is.
On the other hand, you have socially motivated groups who will bring up the issues of the world and try to spread positive messages. Trying to educate people about the psychological consequences of such outrageous language and provide support to the people who feel victimized by it, which is quite an honorable mandate.
Now you have to ask yourself, as a company that already fights to be accepted globally by the general public, should I protect myself from the latest group in order to preserve my reputation? Should I take responsibility for my employee's words as if they were my own? UFC has decided to make a statement: they are against rape jokes. Now, my first reaction is to play devil's advocate and obviously go through everything that was ever said by every other fighter: Sonnen's racist comments, Griffin's oopsies and Rashad's recent booboos, however, for argument sake, let's just stick to the Torres case. Torres f*cked up. The problem when you are a public figure is that everybody will analyse every single word that comes out of your mouth and your twitter feed. If your employer decides that a subject is off limit, you better listen to them. At this point however, I believe that the UFC used Torres to set an example and to show how strong they stand against injustice towards women. Do they deserve a standing ovation? Not at all. All they did is to take an embarrassing problem and make it disappear. Washed their hands from the real issue and smiled: "We are the good guys. Torres = bad. UFC = good".
I strongly believe that if the UFC really cared about stopping all the rape jokes of the world, they would have provided the problematic fighters with the tools and resources to educate themselves about the wrongness of their actions. Want to make a statement? Suspend the fighters and send them get help by volunteering in a women shelter, make them meet with sexual assault victims in order to hear their stories, recommend them to go to an awareness program at their local community center. Something. Anything. After all, UFC keeps guys with substances abuse issues, something that is against their contract, the rules of the sport AND the law. These offenders get a suspension, the opportunity to seek help and a second chance to prove they have changed.
Why not do the same for a guy with a bad sense of humor?