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UFC Promotes White Saviorship For Black History Month

What exactly was the goal here?

Image Credit: Michael Chandler

The UFC has been attempting to honor Black History Month.

Replete with articles, fights featuring Afrikan fighters and video interstitials, the organization which tries to stay away from the racial elephant in the MMA room, focused on Black History.

However, during the telecast for Saturday’s Derrick Lewis vs. Curtis Blaydes main event, where “The Black Beast” would finish Blaydes brutally, the UFC focused its Black History Month efforts towards Michael Chandler.

If you are scratching your head you are not alone. The former three-time Bellator lightweight world champion is White. But the new UFC entrant is an adoptee of a baby who happens to be Black.

Apparently, for the UFC, this is akin to a Black History Month accomplishment.

The story of Brie (Chandler’s wife) and Michael Chandler’s decision to adopt is a beautiful one based on Brie’s prior work at an adoption center and their want to make a difference in a child’s life.

“[Brie] used to volunteer at a place called ‘Granny’s House,’ which is somewhat similar to a Big Brothers/Big Sisters program,” Chandler said to MMA Fighting back in 2017. “She would be taking care of a young boy or a young girl, and go on little lunch dates with them or take them to the park, or the movies or whatever it was, and numerous times they’d say, ‘Can I go home with you? Will you be my mommy?’

“I think it really broke her heart, and she vowed to one day adopt. Now here we are 15 years later with our son, and he’s the greatest blessing ever.”

Although an amazing commitment to be a part of the boy’s life, that decision has nothing to do with Black history. With all the accomplishments of African-American and African-born athletes in the UFC, the choice to highlight the adoption of a Black child by a White fighter who is 1-0 in the UFC is disappointing.

The inclusion of the Chandler’s family addition can only point to a misguided view of white saviorship for Black children with unfortunate life circumstances. Chandler’s decision to adopt being considered relevant to Black History Month shows glaringly that there must not be any Black storytellers working at the UFC.

The UFC already has a highly partisan political record courtesy of UFC President Dana White stumping for Trump’s 2016 and 2020 Presidential campaign runs. It set the tone for the divisive heel rhetoric of UFC fighters Colby “Chaos” Covington and Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal.

As mixed martial arts becomes more mainstream and Black fighters dominate and win championships, the UFC still is light years away from understanding both them and their core fan base.

When the adoption of a Black child by a White fighter becomes Black History, it signals entrance into dangerous territory.

Revisionist history has always been the legacy of oppressors and with the UFC already facing mass criticism for its paltry athletic pay scale, this slight only proves that they believe certain members of their athletic roster and fan base are inconsequential.

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