On a recent visit with the MMA Hour, Chris Weidman expressed his opinions on the state of American MMA fans’ loyalty and support to their American athletes.
“I feel like smaller countries, other countries, they cheer, they support their people no matter what,” Weidman said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “We need to get a little bit more supportive of our people.”
In a display that can only confirms why so many fans are disillusioned, Weidman presented a simple argument that consisted of, (paraphrasing) “Because I’m American, Americans should support me.” It’s certainly a nice thought, and certainly something that many patriots can identify with, but the fact is America is more than just “Americans”. America has an immensely diverse population. Beyond that, the sport of MMA has international appeal now. And certainly it’s only to be expected that those countries who’ve only recently begun to see exposure will be ever more so excited to see one of their own making it in the big leagues of MMA.
But Weidman doesn’t buy it. He went on to complain about the amount of support that Conor McGregor got from his Irish fans during his recent performance versus that of his American opponent, Dustin Poirier.
“For him to have so many more fans than Poirier, over here in America, I mean, Americans are cheering for him and then you have all these Irish guys coming over cheering for him too,” Weidman said. “So America is the one country that, they don’t cheer for their own. They won’t just stick with Americans. I feel like Americans need to get better with that.”
Improving upon an already confounded argument. Weidman goes on to explain how America has so much going for it compared to these “other” countries. By all means, we are all for patriotism, but it may not be in the best interest of a World Middleweight champion to make every other country seem ‘inferior’ to their own. Regardless, he told the MMA Hour:
“I feel like, we’ve got so much going on, we’ve got so many people to support that, sometimes, we really are good at a lot of different things,” Weidman said. “We have a lot of great stars and so many different things, some of the other countries don’t have that. So when they get somebody, they support them to the death. America, I kind of think we take it for granted sometimes.”
Finally, popping the cork on the bottle of “whine” made from the finest ‘sour grapes’, Weidman expresses his feelings regarding the level of support he got versus that of Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida during their bouts.
“I’ve fought all these top Brazilians,” Weidman said. “They’re all supporting their people, Anderson Silva, they’re supporting him. Lyoto Machida, they’re all supporting him. I didn’t have the full support of America. Not everyone American was rooting for me because I’m from America. If they were rooting for me, it’s because they were a fan of me. There was a lot of fans from America who were cheering for Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida.”
So what exactly is Weidman complaining about? Are the PPV buys not enough to satisfy the ego? Rather than acting like a champ, his demeanor appeared more like a disenfranchised underdog. Bitter about the idea of not getting “enough” resounding support from the American audience. Insinuating that his victory over Silva to be enough to sway 8 years of fans who followed and watched Silva dominate the middleweight division in the UFC. Or that the country from which a fighter originates should dictate their fan base.
Fans may be fickle but they aren’t completely brain dead. It takes time to win them over and this obvious sense of entitlement and desire for adulation is likely the very reason that American athletes may not garner the immense support that athletes like Weidman ‘expect’.
Besides that, if anything, what this shows is that Americans are not prejudice. They are open to supporting whomever is best. We aren’t bound by narrow nationalistic ideologies, but rather we have an open forum for talent. Regardless the country, color, ethnicity of the athlete, they are welcome to come and compete and they will get a fair opportunity to succeed.
A word of advice. Spend a little more time at the top, do something outside of the octagon to help your fellow American. Then see how the fan base treats you. You just might be surprised at the effects.
What are your thoughts? Does Weidman make a valid point or is he just creating political controversy where it doesn’t belong?