There are four UFC events in the month of February, with which the promotion has the ability to celebrate Black History Month. They made the decision to do just that, over the weekend, but the response among fans has not been great.
Last weekend’s UFC Vegas 19 card featured two African American heavyweights in the main event. Considering that this took place in February, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for the promotion to celebrate black history.
However in the eyes of some, it seems like the leading mixed martial arts organization in the world dropped the ball. Not because they did not do anything to honor Black History Month; in fact, they had a video package to celebrate it, which they aired during the broadcast.
Black History Month Video Leaves UFC Fans Divided
On paper, this video package shares newly minted UFC lightweight contender Michael Chandler’s tale of adopting a black child, alongside his wife. However this did not sit well with many of the MMA fans watching, who did not feel this was an adequate way to celebrate Black History Month.
To be clear, this is nothing against Chandler as a person, or his family’s individual struggles. That said, many commenters on Twitter after this video aired noted that there were plenty of other athletes who were actually black, and experienced the struggles of being African American, that they failed to utilize.
“I love how the end says ‘The UFC is proud to celebrate Black History Month by acknowledging the achievements of its African-American and black athletes…’ while showcasing a white athlete,” wrote Bloody Elbow’s Stephanie Haynes.
“Him saying he was gonna teach his son how to be a black man was cringe af” another user noted.
“Ya i think we all agree chandler looks like hes gonna be a good dad. But the fact they chose this as an angle to present on black history month… We got how many black fighters and you couldn’t cut a promo with any of them???” someone noted.
“WTF? It’s great that he loves his adopted son but that had nothing to do with Black History. It was a nice story about a white dude,” said Lance Storm.
MiddleEasy’s own Rory Robinson had his own poignant thoughts on the matter, which he outlined in a hotly worded thread on Twitter.
“Every single black UFC fighter when the UFC decided Michael Chandler is the ideal candidate to talk about black history month,” another user tweeted.
“White people think it’s heroic that Michael Chandler adopted a black child, because they think that’s such an extreme, unlikely thing to do. That was a feel good piece aimed at a white audience, and from a white perspective on black history month,” remarked Lanta Brown.
Now, to be clear, it is not Michael Chandler’s fault, nor a knock on him that the UFC chose to do this piece. Without a doubt though, there had to have been dozens of other candidates on the roster who were far more qualified to speak on this issue for Black History Month.
Not everyone agreed with these sentiments, and many defended the promotion and the fighter. That said, even if you take that position, it is hard to say with a straight face, that this was the best they could have done to celebrate this important time of the year.