After suffering her first loss since 2011, former Bellator featherweight champion Julia Budd is looking to return to winning ways at Bellator 244 next weekend when she takes on Jessy Miele. Heading into this fight, Budd told The Province, that she is feeling inspired and motivated by events that have taken place far outside the cage.
In an interview with Steve Ewan, ‘Jewel’ went into detail regarding a recent anti-racism rally she organized with her husband and step-son, both of whom are Black. The rally took place in Sechelt on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast in June.
Budd and her husband, Lance Gibson, both spoke at the event, which was attended by around 2,000 people.
At the rally Budd talked about how she remembered hearing racist slurs when growing up in the tiny town of Roberts Creek, BC. Much of the racism she heard was directed at Indigenous people, who—today in Canada—continue to face extreme amounts of racism and police violence. In June two Indigenous people (Chantel Moore and Rodney Levi) were killed by police in New Brunswick in separate incidents. Also in June Ejaz Choudry was killed by police in Ontario.
In her speech Budd compared the racism she has witnessed in Canada to what has happened this year in the United States; where George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and other Black people have been killed by police officers.
“I don’t want to use the excuse anymore that our racism is a little better than the United States, that it’s somehow a measurement of how good we’re doing in our community or our country,” said Budd.
In his speech Gibson talked about the threats his son Lance Gibson Jr. (who is also an MMA fighter signed to Bellator) faces living as a Black man in Canada.
“It could be a security guard, it could be a lynch mob, it could be a police officer, it could be a customs agent,” he said. “And you know how that story gets twisted? They pull him over, take him down a back road, we don’t see my son again. That’s what I worry about every time he leaves the house.”
Budd told The Province that her experience at the rally would have a direct impact on her fighting career moving forwards. “It was really powerful. It was one of the best days of my life. It’s been fuelling my passion to get back in the cage. I fight for the people I love.”
Budd vs. Miele is the co-main event of Bellator 244, underneath a light heavyweight title fight between Ryan Bader and Vadim Nemkov. In the prelims Lance Gibson Jr. will take on Shane Krutchten. This is the first time he and Budd have ever fought on the same card.
Bellator 244 goes down on August 21st, inside the ‘FightSphere’ at the Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort in Uncasville, CT.