Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The UFC agressively uses social media to forward the brand, for example paying a quarter million dollars per year in bonuses to fighters for increasing twitter followers and for twitter creativity. UFC athletes are far more approachable than those of any comparable sport, but that raw fan interaction can occasionally lead to unfortunate messages.

Forrest Griffin is famous for having a truly quirky sense of humor, and recently was awarded a $5,000 bonus for twitter creativity. However, he went far too far yesterday, and it became a lead story on aol news.

Rape is the new missionary

Yeah just unfollowed @ForrestGriffin bc he said rape is the new missionary, completely inappropriate

Keep it to yourself nobody cares.

Then a woman tweeted that she was a rape survivor. Now Forrest has deleted the offending tweet and all others from the day, and said
I’m sorry, I’m gonna go ahead and put myself on Twitter restriction until next week.

This was not the first time he tweeted on the subject. He previously tweeted, “Forrest Griffin was acquitted of rape because the jury couldn’t see what he did the rapeing with,” and “If Forrest Griffin raped you you’d apologize. If forest griffin were to rape you would have to console him afterword. 2 on rape just cus.”

Griffin does regularly joke both in person on twitter in a self deprecating manner, tweeting for example “For Forrest Griffin to count all his failures he’d have to be better at math.” And “When Forrest Griffin sings his daughter lullabys she goes to sleep just so he’ll shut the fuxk up.”

That said, there is never a good time to joke about rape. And this is an especialy bad time, because it reflects poorly not just on himself, but on the entire sport. Forrest is the former Lightheavyweight champion of a controversial sport that is poised to break through to the mainstream this Saturday. One of the most beloved icons in sport, Joe Paterno just just announced he is resigning over the rape of a child by a staff member.

One of the great strengths of Mixed Martial Arts is that it is as real as it gets. The fights is real, and the fighters are real. Other professional sports are almost entirely stage managed, with the views fans hold of the athletes far from reality. Incidents like this can jeapardize that.

Forrest Griffin is a former police officer, a father, a great fighter, and a human being. There is every expectation he will make amends for the offensive remarks. The sport is waiting for it.