Despite being the UFC welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley is not exactly a beloved figure in MMA today. It has then led him to believe that he may be getting the Muhammad Ali treatment wherein he is being booed while active, but will eventually be loved when he retires.
"The Chosen One" has also been criticized when he asked for "big money fights" upon winning the belt. When asked if it is something that he feels could be connected to him being an African-American fighter, Woodley did bring up possible double standards.
"The same thing that I might say has been done by other non-African American athletes, it’s been OK," Woodley said. "Michael Bisping’s fighting the 12th or 13th ranked guy. I love Dan Henderson. He’s done a crapload for my career — he was my first sponsor with Clinch Gear. Yeah, I love Dan Henderson. I’ve trained with him."
"But, if you look at the sport, if you look at the sport's purists, he’s not the person that probably should deserve a title shot. Maybe ‘Jacare’ Souza, maybe a rematch with Luke Rockhold, maybe Chris Weidman, whoever. But, this fight makes sense why? Because Bisping wanted the fight, and because this fight could draw some money. But if I do that, now it’s an issue."
Despite the sentiments, Woodley says it is not a form of racism, or that the issue is with the UFC. Rather, it is about tapping the African American market, which he believes has a ton of potential.
"I’m not going to say it’s the UFC, it’s an untapped market and unknown market," Woodley explained. "And people that go into unknown markets don’t really know if the money invested in it will come back tenfold, if it would come back to more viewers."
"But what better athlete to utilize and go and grab that market? Somebody who lived on the street that was rioting in Ferguson. I didn’t live around, I don’t live near there…like, I can walk to the place that was kicked in and rioted in a three-minute, four-minute walk from my home.
"So why not utilize that person, who’s been in historic, iconic films like ‘Straight Outta Compton’ or stunts and acting, but still own a gym, still a father, still a husband, still a FOX analyst?"
Woodley's interview begins at the 1:37:54 mark of the video.