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**DISCLAIMER:  This is a little deviation from the normal news, just a few thoughts on a touchy topic.  Hopefully no one gets offended and that is not the purpose behind it**


It’s one of those taboo topics, that you rarely bring up but once dropped, you always have an opinion about.  That topic…is race.  While surfing through the lively neighborhood that is Sherdog’s forums I came across an interesting topic that spanned 16 pages and isn’t even 24 hours old.  The question at hand…whether Anderson Silva is considered a black champion?  Now I expected lots of flaming and wise cracks but what I didn’t expect were some of the bizarre race-related opinions (mostly by us Americans) that these guys had.  From them saying the term ‘black’ only refers to African-Americans to others arguing that someone born and raised in Brazil can only be dubbed a Brazilian.  Huh?  These little tidbits are things that sadly still plague us today and unfortunately most often race is only a problem or heavily discussed here in America. 

Plain and simple, Anderson Silva is a black man.  Is that a bad thing?  Does that mean that he has to have certain characteristics, style, or demeanor because he is a black man?  Does he have to wear a big chain like Quinton Jackson to the cage?  Does he have to dance around and present a certain ‘swagger’ like Rashad Evans?  Does he have to be a straight up bad boy like Melvin Guillard?  Scrolling through and quickly reading some of the replies it seemed that several posters had a deep, inner problem with referring to the middleweight kingpin as black and before I ramble off into somewhere I don’t want to go, should this even be a discussion being held on an MMA site?


I ask myself that, and then I have to look at my own soul.  Do I favor a fighter more or less based on their ethnicity?  Do I have a problem getting behind Chuck Liddell because he’s fighting Rashad Evans?  Do I so highly defend any and every action Rampage does because some deep down alliance I have with him based on the fact he’s the same race as me?  It’s touchy, it’s revealing, and sometime it makes you feel downright ignorant but to a certain degree, we all do it.  I can recall my UFC 88 experience and my quick change of heart in the main event from wanting to see a Chuck Liddell knockout to wanting to see Rashad destroy him.  Why?  Because of the heavy jeers and hate that Evans was receiving from the ‘mostly’ white crowd, which made instincts kick in and had me side with Rashad based off race and not sheer ‘fanboy’-ism.  These ugly prejudices we have faced in our own lives, from whatever stretch of it you’ve walked, should really not carry over into our recreation and our fun.  This is no Martin Luther King, Jr. type deal or some ‘Let’s All Hug’ kind of deal but rather it’s simply an inner look into what makes certain fans tick.  We all get behind different fighters for numerous reasons and while getting behind a guy because he represents something near and dear to you isn’t wrong by any means, it shouldn’t get any deeper than that.  I say these things because I am one of the most guilty of playing the ‘race card’ in MMA and that simple thread on Sherdog made me think about some of my comments and opinions and what they’re based off.  My favorite fighter is Quinton Jackson, as I’ve stated and let be known on many occasions.  I feel as though, even with some of his shortcomings, he’s a good representative of blacks in a growing sport.  With that, I feel as though I can take it a little too far with my fanboy-ism, as much as getting defensive when people have differing opinions on him as a fighter.  Huh?  Sound crazy?  Yeah because it is and if it were just myself that were guilty, well, the MMA community would be a greater place but I’m not the only offender of this.  While it may go unsaid or ignored, there are many a MMA fan that cheer for a guy based off his race and boo a guy for the same reason. 


Some guy quipped in the thread that he’s ‘no longer a fan of Anderson because he’s black’.  The sad truth is that would possibly be the mindset of several hardcore MMA fans.  It’s all ludicrous in the grand scheme of things but it is a driving factor behind certain fans.  Even with a potential Rashad Evans/Quinton Jackson showdown, I read comments by several posters that it would be bad for the UFC to put two African-American fighters in a UFC main event.  Aren’t they simply fighters and two guys at the top of their division?  Think about it.


So to conclude this spiel that may not have been as linear as I wanted it to be when I first started typing, I hope it sheds some light on the ignorance that can plague a sport that is still young in it’s growth and to sum it all up will raise one definitive question about race in MMA:


Does it really matter?