Randy Brown put on a solid performance against Khaos Williams at UFC 274 last night (Sat., May 7, 2022), fighting back from a tough first round to win the fight via split decision (29–28, 28–29, 29–28). Following the fight, a jubilant Brown switched from English to Jamaican patois for the end of his victory interview with Joe Rogan.
“They didn’t let us get the flag, so shout out Jamaica,” he explained.
Brown pointed out something that had been missing from all the UFC 274 “Prelims” undercard fights: a distinct lack of flags being hoisted up by fighters before and after their bouts. No more flags during walkouts, no more flags in the cage. A closer look through the official UFC photos from the event showed the promotion is no longer doing fighter portraits with flags, either.
Asked during the UFC 274 post-fight press conference (watch it here) whether UFC had banned fighters from carrying flags, UFC President, Dana White, kept his response short and simple.
“Yeah,” he said.
“You guys know why,” he said when pressed on the issue. “Let’s not even play that f—king game.”
White is generally not shy when it comes to, “telling it like it is.” But, in this case he clammed up pretty hard. Did some country UFC is working with have an issue with certain flags being aired on broadcasts? Did UFC’s parent company Endeavor tell them it was a problem? Or was it ESPN or Disney?
If UFC is banning flags to avoid offending authoritarian regimes, it’s a pretty sad state of affairs. Is this to avoid controversy if Russian fighters carry out their flag as the country is involved in an invasion of Ukraine? Or perhaps it’s Russians who don’t want to look at the Ukrainian flag.
Are they just trying to avoid more international incidents like when Edmen Shahbazyan carried out a flag for the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, an “illegal regime” that Azerbaijan is trying to crush? Or, is it to avoid having Belal Muhammad carry out the Palestinian flag? China has certainly proven it’s willing to blow up business deals over the mere mention of a country’s name.
So, there’s all sorts of petty countries around the world that could potentially have problems with the display of various flags. But, I thought this was the fight game, where we don’t care about people’s feelings being hurt. What happened to the standard line used when someone gets called a “terrorist” or to “go back to their country” — if you have a problem with it, tune in and watch the fighter you don’t like get punched in the face, maybe.
Considering UFC has stripped fighters of their own clothing and sponsorships, we suppose it’s not exactly surprising that it would also take away their flags. Now, we just wait and see how long until someone walks out carrying a Crypto.com banner instead.
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