Nijem stands up as a proud Palestinian
Although MMA is an individual sport, fans support fighters with the same nationality with a ferocity on par with any other professional sport. Americans, Canadians, and Brazilians especially root for their fighters with vigor. Ramsey Nijem is the only UFC athlete to represent Palestine and despite the conflict in his home country, is as proud as any fighter to represent it:
For UFC lightweight Ramsey Nijem, the conflict between Israel and Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 1,800 Palestinians since the violence erupted several weeks ago, hits close to home as he prepares to carry his country's flag into the Octagon at UFC 177.
Nijem has aunts, uncles and cousins living in the ravaged country of Palestine, and for those family members it's just an everyday reality to wake up to alarms wailing in the night with just seconds to scramble until a bomb explodes overhead.
“It's been really hard and it's been weighing really heavy on me and my family.
Yesterday my aunt's apartment building got blown up,” the 26-year-old lightweight told FOX Sports. “Luckily she wasn't in there, she was at my other aunt's house with all my cousins so we're blessed right there, but some of the neighbors didn't get out. That's just a reality they live in.