Those who know me know that I’m not one to ruin family parties by questioning the probability of Christ being born on December 25, or how Thanksgiving is celebrated for wrong reasons. For the most part, I’m civil and like to enjoy food and fun with my loved ones. But I can’t avoid pondering what certain events imply and what other factors are at play in them. The most recent example wasn’t a holiday but another huge event, which took place in Anaheim, Calif., at the Honda Center last Saturday.
I’m talking about Ultimate Fighting Championship 121.
UFC is a U.S.-based Mixed Martial Arts company that hosts numerous events throughout the world, including the above-mentioned tournament. The company has been around since the early 1990’s but has gained popularity in recent years.
The tagline for UFC used to be “there are no rules!” The violent nature of the sport drew the attention of state athletic commissions and even politicians like John McCain, forcing the company to tighten its rules. For instance, it wasn’t until UFC 12 that weight classes were introduced, meaning that, before then, bigger fighters could often be found smashing smaller opponents. But by UFC 14, gloves were mandatory, while kicks to the head of a downed opponent, hair pulling, fish-hooking, head butting and groin strikes were all banned as well.
For the most part, UFC acts like a typical professional sport. It exploits a human’s athletic physical capability for profit. Advertisements can be seen everywhere: on the mat, in the stadium, even on the shorts the fighters are wearing.
Fighters are placed in a cage reminiscent of the type in which roosters are readied to peck at each other during cockfights. Roosters have owners just like the UFC fighters have managers, who push their fighter go at it without regard for the blood that is about to be shed.
I paid close attention to the commercials advertising the event a week before the match. One trailer suggested an “us vs. them” theme. Lesner had U.S. flag behind him and Cain Valasquez had a Mexican flag. The advertisers were trying to appeal to the nationalism of the fans, white vs. brown. Cain Valasquez even has a tattoo on his chest that says “Brown Pride.” Fans in the crowd were waving either Mexican flags or American flags. One sign in the crowd said “Yes we Cain” a play on the famous activist slogan “Yes we can.”
How disgusting to watch as UFC profiteers exploit the vulnerability of the nation’s struggles! Worse still, the show served to divide working-class viewers when, in reality, what we need is unity between all nationalities and races.
The owners knew what they were doing. In two of the four Card Fights, which preceded the main event, the same Latino vs. white formula was employed: Brendan Schaub vs. Gabriel Gonzaga, Tito Ortiz vs. Matt Hamill.
Valasquez won the main fight within the first round. Mexican flags waved in the crowd, while, in my living room, friends and family cheered or jeered. When the “Aztec” won, I couldn’t help but consider whether this represented immigrants overcoming their oppressors. Even if it did, the last thing we need is the image of a Latino fighter bloodying up a white, a concept of race warfare.
The nationalism used conjures up the most barbaric aspect of our cultures. It is used to divide people. The imagery evoked that used by fascist states, which used ancient symbols to fan the flames of pride and division.
These ideas allude to a fascistic world outlook that “might equals right.” This sport perfectly embodies the ruling class ideology, which states that the stronger you are, the more well equipped you are, the better.
This type of entertainment pushes humanity backwards.