By Zach Arnold | September 28, 2011
From Jordan Breen on his Tuesday radio show:
“I think part of it obviously is, there’s no getting around the fact that all of these guys make their own fates to some extent. Quinton Jackson does absurd things sometimes like motorboating and not being as dedicated as he could be in the gym. Rashad Evans has prickly comments at times and dances and does things that draw people’s ire. Even Melvin Guillard has a long and checkered history of questionable behavior. Anderson Silva conducts himself weirdly sometimes. There is individual incidents that are unique to the persons that make it important.
“But I do think in a lot of cases, yeah, there’s… you know… it’s not everybody, it’s not like every white male reacts viscerally to, ‘oh, a high-level black athlete.’ But many do, many do, you know? I think maybe sometimes it gets harped on too much but there’s a reason that, you know, people like (King Mo) are called ‘cocky’ and ‘arrogant.’ Part of it is because they are but the way the context in which it’s constantly framed is often times a very implicitly racist one. It’s widespread. It’s not everybody, but it exists.
“So, yeah, it is an unfortunate place to be in at times and the other thing that needs to be said for it also is a lot of it is intra-squad warfare there. A lot of it is to take a page out of Quinton Jackson’s book, black-on-black violence, you know? You have these guys going out there calling one another Uncle Toms and all this kind of other stuff. That’s pretty volatile and difficult stuff to be just throwing out there and that’s from black fighter to black fighter in a lot of cases. So, it’s wrong to also see it as a case of, oh, it’s like white media and white fans hating Black fighters or treating them differently and coding their language.
“It goes the same way, you know, being a black athlete is also made difficult by the way black athletes trend to treat other black athletes in some cases especially and I would even go so far as to say uniquely to some extent in the Mixed Martial Arts sphere where more so than some other sports, you know, the issue of being an Uncle Tom and these kinds of silly issues come up more prominently, you know. You don’t see it as much in a lot of other sports, it comes up very, very much in prizefighting especially…
“I don’t think there’s any getting around that Jon Jones is irrationally hated and dwelling on all things, part of it is how poorly he’s portrayed himself. In many respects, part of it is kind of the hokey nature of it all. Part of it is how manufactured he seemed recently with the British interview with Luke Thomas and other foolish things like this. He’s made some poor choices and I’m sure for some it’s residual racist foolish and for some, you know, they just might not like the cut of his jib and think he’s arrogant, plain and simple, and not desire him as a person. There’s lots of reasons you could potentially dislike Jon Jones. However, I think it’s weird to dislike Jon Jones and simply see him not as a great fighter. But I think it’s a begrudging bit of bitching and the reason I say that is… people’s reaction to Jon Jones and if you ask someone today, even a Jon Jones hater, who’s the best Light Heavyweight in the world? They’re still going to say Jon Jones, you know? There’s not that level of denial. I think part of why the Jon Jones hate is so ridiculous and so venomous is that these people at the same time that they critique Jones have to tacitly admit that he’s great. Because the way in which the argument’s positioned is, ‘oh, well, Jon Jones can’t beat Anderson Silva.’ ‘Oh, Jon Jones, he’s going to lose!” It’s not, ‘oh, Jon Jones, he can’t beat top Light Heavyweights’ or ‘oh, Jon Jones, he’s not the favorite against Rashad (Evans).’ Even people who hate Jon Jones have to talk about the Rashad Evans fight as if they’re saying, ‘oh, well, I mean, Evans has a shot.” Like if you hate a guy and that’s the best you can do, ‘oh, he’s got a shot,’ you’re clearly acknowledging the dominance of that party. So, I think even in the Jones hate, I think it’s still reflected how good of a fighter he really is.”