USA vs Brazil – Why It's BS And Needs To Stop
With Chris Weidman defending his Middleweight belt against Lyoto Machida in a few weeks, I feel this is a good time to bring up a topic that has bugged me ever since I first started watching MMA, and that's how this fight is being advertised. In this particular case it's America vs Brazil. I'm really sick of seeing it and think it needs to stop.
Now this is hardly the first time we've seen the UFC go with this sort of promotion for a fight. There has been USA vs UK and Canada vs Australia versions of TUF, several of GSP's fights were given a Canada vs USA spin, and USA vs Brazil has been driven into the ground at this point. But that doesn't mean it's a good way to hype up a fight, at best it just generates cheap heat and at worst brings up bullshit feelings of superiority on both sides.
One side will make a claim that their country produces fighters who are just naturally better... just because. The other will then ask if they're so much better, then why aren't more of their fighters holding belts? It boils down to "Fuck you! We're better!" vs "No! Fuck you! We're better!" ad nauseam.
I truly believe that whatever flag you were born under doesn't mean jack shit.
Jose Aldo isn't the Featherweight champion because he's Brazilian, it's because he works his ass off to be the best. Cain Velasquez didn't beat down Junior Dos Santos twice because he's American, it was because he worked his ass off. Anderson Silva didn't lord over the Middleweight division for so many years because he was Brazilian, it was because he's secretly a Jedi. GSP wasn't the 170lb kingpin because he's from Canada, it was because he was the best in the world at 170lbs.
Do you see my point? The best of the best are the best because of hard work and dedication, not because of where they lay their head down at night. Crediting success/failure to a nationality is downright stupid as is using it as a way to promote a fight.
Now I'm not saying that showing support for a fellow countryman is the same thing, but some take it too far. So please allow me to shift gears here and slightly change the topic.
Namely the Brazilian crowds. I don't know why, but they are some of the most biased I have ever seen. It's not just the "You're gonna die!" chants, but also booing anyone who's a foreigner just because they're a foreigner. If a foreigner wins a fight, at best they will get a smattering of applause.
Please don't think I'm just picking on Brazil here, Canada and America are guilty of doing the same thing, they're just the most egregious example of bias I can think of. The Vegas crowd booing JDS after losing to Cain or the Montreal crowd booing Carlos Condit before the GSP fight are right up there.
My friend Guilherme, who was born and raised in Sao Paulo, have talked about this topic many times before, and the chants our respective countries are known for both make us hang our heads when they happen.
I wish every crowd could be like the one at the Fight For The Troops 3 card. Not because they were American, but because they went ape shit for everyone who fought that night. It didn't matter where they were from, the crowd just wanted to see some fights and were grateful for the opportunity.
There were fighters from America, Russia, Cuba, Brazil, and The Netherlands. And they were all showered with cheers and applause no matter how the fights went down. In the main event, Tim Kennedy was treated to extra cheering (did you know he was in the Army?), but at the same time they didn't reign down boos on Rafael Natal just because he wasn't American. It was such a nice change of pace from what we get normally.
I long for the day when that is the norm, and a horrible crowd is the exception to the rule.
Anyway, my whole point is that the UFC needs to find a more creative way to sell a fight other than a country vs country narrative. It's tired, it's cliché, and it needs to be put out to pasture along with that damn Face The Pain music.
Now that I've said my peace, I'll leave you with this image of Genki Sudo.