Gay Fighters in the UFC? Liddell and others would welcome it

Posted: May 15, 2014 in Commentary/Opinion

ufc07Liz Carmouche made history when she became the first openly gay fighter to appear inside the UFC octagon. To date however, there hasn’t been a male competitor to come out to the public. Certainly, there are several gay fighters on the roster—statistics back that up—but none have come out publicly. The UFC—and MMA in general—have a reputation for being non-accepting of such a matter. But is that reputation completely true?

According to some recent conversations Fox Sports had with current and former UFC fighters, perhaps that belief isn’t quite true anymore. UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell seemed to fully support it. “If he’s tough, who cares?” he said. “If he’s a fighter, he’s a fighter. As long as he wins fights, it doesn’t matter.”

Light heavyweight contender Phil Davis had similar remarks: “It’s the same as any sport. I don’t see why not. I would not think any less of anyone that did so. It has nothing to do with their capabilities inside the cage.”

Flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez hinted that he’d even revel in the sight of an openly gay fighter inside the cage. “It would be cool to see a gay guy just beat the shit out of somebody,” he said. “I think that would be that much cooler. Busting a stereotype.” That stereotype he’s referring to is obviously that gay men aren’t as tough as straight men.

There’s also a stereotype that fighters are closed-minded and anti-gay. While this information suggests otherwise, past comments by fighters have perpetuated the stereotype of exclusion in MMA. Remember when Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira said he has nothing against “the gays,” BUT he would refuse to train with one? His reasoning was that he wouldn’t want to grapple with a gay fighter who thought of the contact as “sexual.” (As a side note, Antonio, you’re not that attractive.)

Former WEC champion Mike Brown reasoned that a fighter has way more to worry about inside the cage than the sexual orientation of his opponent. “You’re in the cage with someone trying to take your head off. We don’t really sweat the small stuff,” he accurately pointed out.

No one Fox Sports spoke to for this article admitted they were against an openly gay fighter in the UFC, but a couple did issue a no-comment, including Jon Jones and Luke Rockhold. Joes cited that the topic was too sensitive to discuss. “I don’t really know what I think about homosexuality and MMA,” Bones said. “I’ve never really put much thought into it. It’s a very sensitive topic. I’d rather not even comment on it.”

TJ Dillashaw suggest people should just recognize that there are probably already plenty of gay fighters competing in the UFC, and we should all just deal with it. “It’s the real world,” he said. “People just need to accept it. … There probably are [gay fighters in the UFC], they just haven’t admitted it [publicly] yet.”


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