Recently comedian/announcer for the UFC Joe Rogan put his foot in his mouth. Again. This time for referring to a female journalist as “cunty.” This highlights a big problem the MMA community has. How can we ask mainstream America to take us seriously when we cant seem to shake the frat boy image? At face value the sport I love seems to be more focused on blood lust and proclaiming how masculine you are than learning the nuances of Jiu Jitsu. The bloodier the better, the louder, the more beefed up you are and the more crass you are, the better. Honestly, the casual MMA fan is barely a step up from a casual viewer of Jersey Shore.
The only way to shake this image is to start at the top. Unfortunately, Dana White and Joe Rogan are there. And convincing the notoriously hard headed Dana White that the very thing he’s been doing for the last decade (while the sports popularity has grown exponentially) is wrong won’t be an easy task. It’s time for the people at the top to start taking their sport as seriously as the bloggers they hate. They need to hire PR firms, put on suits, and shut up. The way the rest of the world sees us might be unfair, but its the way it is. Our athletes dont make millions of dollars, their careers are fairly short and the season is seemingly never ending. But we have to take ourselves more seriously, we have to hold people accountable for keeping these amazing athletes stuck in the positions they’re in. Joe Rogan, Rampage Jackson and Dana Whites antics dont just hurt the image of this sport, it keeps it from growing and keeps smaller athletes from making more money and taking care of their families.
Free speech isnt a get out jail free card. You cant say whatever comes to your mind and not suffer the consequences. You cant expect the people who disagree with you to not also exercise their right to free speech and call you out on your sexism, homophobia and knuckle headedness. We are all responsible for eachother. Fans, fighters, bloggers, managers. We are all the sport and if we don’t start taking care of each other and making sure the worst among is held responsible we have no one to blame for the lack of respect but each other.