UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley understands the professional fight game. The reason to fight at the highest levels is to make the most money. If for whatever reason you can get more money to fight the #7 ranked fighter than the #1 ranked fighter, then #7 better keep his hands up.
There is a moment immediately post fight when the entire fight world is frenzied, and hanging on ever word the new champ utters. I usually it is along the lines of “Thank you God, I worked very hard for this.”
That doesn’t make you money.
Woodley called out division G.O.A.T. Georges St-Pierre or Nick Diaz. Neither fighter is the #1 contender, but both would be big money fights.
Not all MMA fans understand how it works, and not all MMA fans are intelligent, and most unfortunately, not every MMA fan is a decent human being.
On his ‘Morning Wood w/ Deez Nuts’ podcast, Woodley discussed the worst of it.
“I can tell you from experience, as being the champion, the last three weeks of my life have been completely the opposite of what you’d think it’d be,” said Woodley, as transcribed by Tristen Critchfield for Sherdog. “I’ve had so many people say, ‘you p****y, you’re scared of this person,’ and I’m like, ‘I just fought an hour ago. I just got the belt.’ I’ve had people say ‘you should be stripped of the belt’ and actually it’s a month today that I won the belt.”
“I’ve had people call me n*****, and monkey, and all this racist stuff,” he said. “I delete these people, then they’ll create another page and just go back out. People are willing to take so many hours of their day to be so negative.
“Some people, I look at their page and all they do all day is go against African American athletes and try to racially slur them. That I just think is somebody being ridiculous.”
Woodley does not shy away from racially charged topics, and with podcast co-host and former UFC fighter Din Thomas, discussed San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem boycott.
“I didn’t see it, I just read about afterwards,” said Woodley, as transcribed by Jonathan Bradley for FOX Sports. “And I personally wouldn’t do that — I’m probably going to stand up and remove my hat and put my hand across my chest and be quiet until it’s over with. But I do think that people that don’t want to be honest, they want to sweep it under the rug, as if these injustices are not taking place — I have an issue with that. Because they are taking place. And I really think that as a society, we can’t just act like they’re not. That’s a part of the problem.
“It’s been under the rug so long, but now with the new social media, people posting videos and just so much access to see what’s going on right now, it’s bringing up things, but it’s bringing up things that have been swept under the rug so many years. “
“So I went to this restaurant today. And we’re sitting there, and they close at 2:30, which I understand. Now if we would have came in on some straight-up ninja stuff and walk in at 2:20 and they close in 10 minutes, I’d be looking crazy at myself as well. But, it was like a quarter to 2, and that’s still 45 minutes, we already knew what we wanted to eat, I didn’t think it was a big deal. So they just seemed really agitated. They didn’t come to see if we wanted coffee or more water or we needed anything else or if I needed any condiments for the food I had ordered. And then I saw other guests that were there and they were extremely friendly [to them], laughing and joking, almost falling over the damn counter for them. And I’m like, wow, that’s kind of weird, I really don’t feel like very good customer service. But then when I started looking at it, it felt like the old diners from the old days, and I just hate feeling like that.”
“Now, I’m paraphrasing, this is not his exact quote, but [Muhammad Ali] said that basically, I might lose a little bit of money, a couple people might be mad at me, but it’s worth me, being able to use my platform to impact, to inspire, to bring out blatant wrong and to be an activist for what is right. That I agree with 100 percent. Everything [Ali] did wasn’t by the book either, but I do agree with using your platform to impact change.”
“It’s those individuals that don’t realize [racism] is a problem because they haven’t been exposed to it and haven’t seen it firsthand. Some people are like, ‘Aw, that stuff doesn’t happen’ and they erase the thought that it can happen. And now it sounds like ‘Aw here they go again complaining and always the victim.’ And then it’s individuals that do know that it’s happening, and try to downplay it but they still want to have the same tone. Let’s not be 100 percent insensitive and just act like these things are not happening, they’re happening.
“And guess what, I’m going back to that damn diner because they’re waffles was the bomb, and I’m going to give them another chance to prove to me maybe they were just having a bad day.”
Co-host Thomas said that racist incidents in for example restaurants are so common that he doesn’t even think about it anymore. Having had dinner with Thomas in a West Virginia steakhouse where the caucasian waitress refused to take his order because of the color of his skin, I can only say that he doesn’t overreact to racism in the US; he simply tells the simple truth, and that upsets some unfortunate people.