Given that Brendan Schaub isn’t far removed from asking his producer if he was “a communist” for saying he didn’t know who to root for between Rose Namajunas and Weili Zhang, the former heavyweight fighter seems to have found himself a sudden, surprising defender of China’s first UFC title holder. That position comes following recent comments from Namajunas ahead of her upcoming chance to regain the strawweight belt.
In an interview with Ariel Helwani, ‘Thug’ Rose framed her title fight with Weili as a battle against communism, telling Helwani that Weili represents “red” China and that her own philosophy was “better dead than red.” Namajunas brought up her own family’s history as Lithuanians dealing with Communist Russia as part of her reasoning. And later doubled down on her statements, while clarifying that it wasn’t intended to be an attack on Weili “as a person.”
On the April 12th episode of his Below the Belt podcast, Schaub took aim at Namajunas’ rhetoric and reasoning, calling it “stupid” to assume Weili’s politics, while also suggesting the Trevor Wittman-trained athlete take a little more time to educate herself on China and its government. A pretty bold about face from his own past assertions.
“... ‘It’s better dead than red, you know? And I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Weili is red. That’s what she represents.’” Shaub said, re-reading Namajunas’ comments toward the UFC strawweight champ. “Or she was born in that and she has no choice, Rose. And you’re kinda making this a political thing, and Weili is just trying to better her life, which—she’s stuck in China. There’s also that.
“There’s also huge oppression in China. So, you should educate yourself on China and the politics of China and not just assume Weili is for the Chinese government. There’s that.”
“No choice,” Schaub agreed responding to his podcast co-host about Weili’s opportunities to be a vocal detractor of the government. “But whatever gets you up for the fight. Being a complete monster isn’t enough, so you gotta paint this narrative.”
I like to make fun of Brendan Schaub as much as the next person but this is probably the most intelligent thing he's ever said in my opinion pic.twitter.com/KQb9ZZOwsx— Jason Williams (@jasoneg33) April 15, 2021
“I mean, do you have to find something?” Schaub added. “Or you could find something in that she’s an absolute fucking Chinese nightmare? And that should get you up, not her pol—has Weili ever been on record saying? I mean, I guarantee she’s not opposed to—she’s not going on record being opposed to the Chinese government. Again, Rose, educate yourself and realize that she can’t oppose the government. So you have no idea how she feels inside her heart. Be nice if she makes enough money and gets out of China.
“That’s one thing too. Who knows where she’s at politically. Stupid to assume. Also it’s stupid to put your past family’s history on Weili Zhang; assuming she’s ‘red,’ and she has any political statement or opinion on it. You know? But, again, whatever gets you up for the fight. And I love Rose, I was rooting for Rose in this.”
Namajunas is set to challenge for the strawweight title against Weili Zhang on April 24th, in Jacksonville, FL. Their bout is expected to serve as the co-main event to a title fight rematch between welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal. A women’s flyweight title fight between Valentina Shevchenko and Jessica Andrade has also been scheduled for the PPV card.