The explosive black fighter meme doesnt exist for no reason. In every major sport black people excel in they do so in a flamboyant way. Whether its Jordan gliding to the rim with his tongue hanging out or the great Muhammed Ali shuffling around the ring and trash talking while he jabs your face into hamburger meat. For young black youth in urban areas, flamboyant athletes and flashy rappers are heroes. Trash talk and bragging is almost just as important as the game itself. The flashiest guy on the block had the most friends and got all the women. The flip side of this is how little mastery of the technical aspect of sports matters. Historically, black athletes who chose to perfect their jumpshots and utilize solid defense have never achieved the same amount of fame or respect as their equally as talented but more flashy counterparts. Really, no one on the block was spending hours emulating Tim Duncans post game and footwork.
But where does this train of thought leave the Tim Duncans of MMA? Fighters like Jason “The KC Bandit” High and Phil “Mr Wonderful” Davis have both found tremendous amounts of success honing their ground skills, but have found very little fan fare outside of MMA hardcores. In the case of Phil Davis, the fact that he recently dominated a Noguiera brother was completed negated by a lot of fans complaining that his performance was boring. Even after Jason High implemented a solid game plan by neutralizing Sakurai’s game with his wrestling base and beat striker Rudy Bears by submission in less than a minute, his Strikeforce debut will be on the untelevised portion of the Strikeforce: Challengers card (due to injury his fight has since been moved to the maincard). While collegiate and high level wrestling is filled with talented black wrestlers, wrestling remains thought of as a mainly white sport. I’ll admit that before my venture into MMA I didnt know about any black wrestlers. The first thing I thought of when wrestling was brought up was a giant white man in tights. We didnt even have a wrestling team when I was in high school.
What happens as these athletes make more money is that not only do young black athletes start to believe its part of the game but fans start expecting the black athletes to be flashy and flamboyant. The post touchdown celebration becomes just as important as the touchdown itself. Personally, I believe both sides of this are integral to the growth (and entertainment value) of sports. I just wish players like Tim Duncan where as respected as his more flashy (but equally as talented) brothers.
Stop by my blog and tell me how much I suck or how awesome I am...or click just to get my page views above 4 lol.