All pro sports in the last 50 years has seen the rise of the black athlete amongst it ranks. It's been a part of the acceptance of other races with in America.
After awhile the color of a man did not matter as their talents spoke for themselves and people wanted to see the best regardless of race. For the first time in mixed martial arts a division is dominated by a trio of black athletes. In the upcoming months the UFC light heavyweight crown will be decided by three separate black athletes in Rashad Evans, Quinton Jackson and UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Have you even noticed this rise of black athletes that do include UFC middleweight champion, Anderson Silva?. Why is that in combat sports the promoters and journalist don't need to stress such a point like they did when Donovan McNabb went to the NFL's Super Bowl in 07'?.
Let's take a quick look at black athletes with in the UFC who have flourished to be a champion.
"a bunch of skinhead white guys".
-Bob Arum to AOL fanhouse reporter Ariel Helwani
About a year ago Bob Arum, a boxing promoter had the audacity to call us, the MMA fan a bunch of skinhead racists for no reason. I don't remember any of caring if a black, Hispanic, European or Asian fighter reigned supreme of a division. The UFC in my recollection has never once brought up the idea of a black champion as being ground breaking but maybe that was due to the sport coming alive in 1993 which was so long after the introduction of Jackie Robinson.
I think the main thing which differs combat sports to the growing pains of other sports that no matter how glamorous boxing was, it was never the main sport on the scene. Americans grew up with baseball and football and in the past 40 years basketball has hit a boom. Boxing was dominated by Jack Dempsey and Jake Lamotta and then came Cassius Clay.
The young, talented and brash trash talker took the boxing world by storm by his ability to sell a fight. He talked more trash then anyone had seen or that most could take in stride. He also had the ability to back up almost everything he said.
Even though gentleman like Jackie Robinson were being quiet and trying to be accepted, Ali took what he wanted and made himself known. He was a modern day Chael Sonnen with Anderson Silva-like dominance.
In mixed martial arts and primarily the UFC, the first bacl athlete to crash the scene was kickboxing champion, Maurice Smith. Smith, was a smaller version of Pedro Rizzo in that his kicks were described as baseball bat bruisng and killing a man's thigh. He was the first pure striker to be the top dog when he earned the UFC heavyweight title by defeating powerhouse Mark Coleman at UFC 14.
Smith, would go on to defend the UFC heavyweight title against Tank Abbott in a war that he would end up winning by strikes. The first black UFC champion was flying high and starting to expand his game with a sprawl. Smith, would end up getting beat back to back to wrestlers Randy Couture and Kevin Randleman.
Kevin Randleman was an outstanding collegiate wrestler who was following his mentor, Mark Coleman into the ranks of MMA. Not only was Randleman going to become the second black UFC champion but, he was the first true 'freak' athlete. He was a stalky heavyweight but built like a proverbial brick sh*thouse. He never became an elite striker or submission grappler but his bread and butter was his 'shoot;' which drove men into the mat with violent intent.
Now, the huge incline in black viewership is hard to define but i don't see the rise of either Smith or Randleman affecting that. I do see Rashad, Rampage and Bones all becoming that catalyst for blacks to accept MMA as the new boxing.
We have three men who are exciting, powerful and yet have the right persona to get over with anyone. All three either were or are the current champion and hold highlight reels that would make any other fighter jealous.
Let's not lie and be protective, when the UFC pans the crowd how many black fans do you really see in the crowd?. I'm not saying that there isn't any black fans but in comparisons to white fans, it's a much smaller crowd. Does anyone think that'll change come UFC 135 when two of the most powerful black athletes in MMA history collide in the main or how well will the pay per view buys translate?.
It be amazing to see how much this light heavyweight title chase turns out to be the explosion of MMA amongst the black community. With uprising stars like Melvin Guillard, Ovince St.Pruex, Tyrone Woodley, Daniel Cormier and number one contender for the UFC bantamweight title, Demetrious Johnson leading the black influence in MMA do we see what has happened with the NBA and NFL? or is LSC just thinking far too much?
What do you think Maniac's?