Bleacher Report recently published a typical piece titled "20 Fighters the UFC Should Build Its Future Around." It included a section on Chris Weidman, who author Dan Hiergesell ranked #2.
Chris Weidman at No. 2? Abso-freaking-lutely.
The UFC would certainly enjoy Weidman's presence atop the middleweight division. He also creates problems for any fighter, which includes the always-elusive Anderson Silva, by implementing pesky wrestling, crisp boxing and forceful jiu-jitsu.
Respect his resume or not, the New Yorker knows how to win.
Editor's Note: Revisions have been made to this slide in accordance with B/R editorial policy.
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The unfortunate, atypical passage that was edited out was:
"The bottom line is that the UFC is in need of an American-born white champion."
The author is wrong, and the editors were right to removed the text. The author was wrong too that Weidman would create problems for Anderson Silva, among other things, but that is another story. This story is about race.
For generations boxing was based on ethnicity. An Irish fighter vs an Italian was a money headliner for 70 years or more. Now both Irish and Italian are considered white.
One of the many admirable things about MMA is that it is moving past race. The most beloved fighter in our sport is Wanderlei Silva, who is whatever color he is. Some Brazilian Portuguese figures in our sport refer to themselves as being White back home. In the US they are Latino, but not Hispanic.
Does even one, singe fan care if Wand is Latino race, Hispanic race, White race, or Human race?
When JDS fought Cain was that a Latino vs. a Hispanic fight? What does that mean, anyway?
What race is BJ Penn? His dad is Irish American and his mom is a third generation Korean-American. Would he be more popular if he was whiter?
What race is GSP? He talks a little funny, in English. GSP is kinda ethnic looking French speaking Canadian race I guess. Carlos Newton used to hold his title. Is Newton Black? Or is he Canadian? David Loiseau is a Canadian of Hatian descent. Is 'The Crow' black too?
Ronda Rousey is 1/8 black - her great-grandfather was the black Trinidad-Canadian Dr. Alfred Waddell. Does even a single fan care?
Benson Henderson is the African American Korean race.
Dominick Cruz is Mexican American, and Jose Aldo is Brazilian of Portuguese descent. Are they the same race?
The scariest Hells Angel who ever lived was 'Mom' Boucher and he had a bodyguard of Hatian descent named Gregory Wooley, who is reported to be full-patch member of HA. If those guys can get over it, please, God, let the rest of the planet.
Cultural heritage is a tremendous strength; dividing the world into colors is stupid, at very best. It is one of MMA's many great strengths that color divisions don't carry much weight.
The UFC does not need an American-born white champion, it needs needs the best man to win.