Written by James Ryan
“You have to risk going too far to discover just how far you can really go.”—T.S. Eliot
In that regard, I can certainly empathize with UFC fighter, Miguel Torres—to a point that is.
On one hand, it’s a good thing that the UFC brought Torres back from his recent termination over a “rape van” joke that was made via Twitter (actually, it was less of a joke, and more of a quote from the unusually offensive TV show, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which currently airs on the new home network of the UFC—FOX Television). #ironic
On the other hand, Torres never should have been released in the first place. The UFC should have supported Torres by accepting full responsibility for the way that they encourage this type of behaviour, which could only result in an offensive statement such as this:
“If a rape van was called a surprise van more women wouldn’t mind going for rides in them. Everyone likes surprises.”
Not the classiest comment coming from a professional athlete, that’s for sure. Then again, that quote was taken entirely out of context.
I’m also curious to know how the FOX Network feels about the UFC condemning something that came directly from one of the shows that they proudly promote. I doubt that they’re too thrilled about it. Not that I really care.
Anyway, the reason why Torres was dismissed wasn’t because of something inappropriate that he had said (even though that’s what the UFC wanted us all to believe), but rather, it was a way to distract from the fact that a company (the UFC) has asked each and every single one of its non-committal, contract employees to push the limits of social media in the greater pursuit of selling pay-per-views (making money).
“The problem with MMA is that the business model that’s used encourages a lack of respect from the fans. The UFC specifically creates an environment of violence without honour. The Twitter bonuses that each fighter is given is a perfect example of this type of behaviour. Encouraging fighters to be disrespectful just to hype a fight, and then rewarding them for that same behaviour. It sends a clear message to young fans that it is perfectly okay to act like an ass and then follow it up with violence.”—Scott Block (from the book, Desolate Warrior)
The directive was made simple: Act like a jackass, and be rewarded.
“Dance, monkey, dance!”
[Sound of Dana White’s palms rubbing together.]
How’s this for a novel idea? Instead of firing Torres in the first place, maybe the UFC should have doled out equal punishments to some of the other fighters who had said similar, if not, worse things in the media about rape:
“Rape is the new missionary.”—Forrest Griffin
“I guarantee you gonna be the first one to take a shot, cause I’m gonna put those hands on you worse than that dude did to them other kids at Penn State.”—Rashad Evans
Needless to say, Dana White defended (laughed) at these last two “jokes,” while the rest of us were left scratching our heads trying to figure out what the difference was. Because of course, it would be completely uncharacteristic for Dana White to be a contradicting hypocrite while taking the moral high road. We all clearly missed something…
Oh, but wait! It wasn’t those fighters’ faults, right? Just Torres. #sarcasmalert
Sorry, but I don’t think that by hiring Torres back, that the UFC is in any way admitting their true error. Admitting their error would have meant getting rid of Evans and Griffin as well, which they obviously didn’t do.
And I’m not necessarily saying that they should have. I’m just saying that the UFC couldn’t have gone back and released them, because then everyone would have known that they were the ones to ultimately blame for this new upsetting trend.
The UFC has created a culture of disrespect that wants and expects shocking, out-of-the-norm behaviour, but while the fighters are the ones who look and sound like idiots in the public eye, and are the ones who are putting their personal reputations on the line (and the possible embarrassment that their children will one day face in a world of non-preventative cyber-bullying…another culture that the UFC constantly promotes), the UFC are the ones who will be reaping all of the rewards.
But so long as the fighters accept those terms and conditions (yes, they have a choice), they are by no means, victims. They are grown men and women making conscious and unified decisions that affect them and the future generations of all professional cage fighters.
I just wish that they would act accordingly instead of always worrying about what Dana White wants, which for the record, are his own personal best interests, and not those of the fighters.
These are my opinions. If you don’t like them…I have others. Check them out at www.sportstender.tv