Tuesday, October 26, 2010

UFC 121 Rear-view Mode: Significance of Cain Velasquez's Mexican Heritage and Its Impact on MMA

If ever there was ever a perfect teachable moment on culture and ethnicity in mixed martial arts, we just witnessed it on Saturday night. Cain Velasquez vs. Brock Lesnar was not only an exciting four minutes and twelve seconds of brutal giant slaying, it marked a significant moment in American ethnocentric sports history. The UFC crowned its first Mexican-American heavyweight champion, and the radiant chest ink "Brown Pride" became less frightening to misunderstanding fans. Cain Velasquez made a statement in a sport that is undoubtedly the fastest growing sport in the world -- that mixed martial arts is one of the most ethnically, racially, and nationally diverse sports in the world. This is especially true here in the United States where most major sports tend to be one-sided in the skin tone department. But when you look at a relatively new major sport like mixed martial arts, the shade spectrum is broadening, and this is something that all MMA fighters, fans, and sport professionals should be proud of.

I think I just had a warm feeling. I'll stop here so I can wipe the tears, and regain my tough guy composure. But, if you want some good insight on Cain Velasquez's win and its cultural relevance, check out this podcast of Sunday's edition of MMA Nation. Host Luke Thomas examines the cultural dynamics of Cain Velasquez's Mexican Heritage and its place in MMA, and other related issues.

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