Fourteen 14 UFC stars have lent their presence to a video in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Released by UFC welterweight Randy Brown on Wednesday via social media, the video features current middleweight champ Israel Adesanya, ex-middleweight champ Michael Bisping and ex-strawweight champ Rose Namajunas, among others, and voices solidarity with those protesting police brutality.
“We want you to know that we stand with our brothers and sisters around the world seeking equality,” said UFC welterweight Belal Muhammad, whose father’s cell phone store was vandalized during protests in his native Chicago.
“We the athletes of the UFC want it to be known that we stand together in condemning racism and police brutality,” the fighters said.
At this past Saturday’s UFC 250, several UFC fighters voiced support for the protests. UFC light heavyweight Devin Clark took a knee and raised his fist during his introduction on the preliminary card. Featherweight Alex Caceres said he wants to play a bigger part in helping his community overcome its struggles. Bantamweight Aljamain Sterling said he plans to participate in the movement back in his native New York and made an impassioned defense of Black Lives Matter in relation to “all lives matter” critics.
On the ground, several fighters have participated in marches in solidarity with the movement sparked by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, including Adesanya, Chuck Liddell and Leslie Smith. UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones even stepped in to intervene against possible looters, prompting an investigation by police into his role in protests.
UFC fighters’ responses have been encouraged by their promoter, though UFC President Dana White has stopped short of explicitly endorsing the Black Lives Matter movement and protests against racism and police brutality. At the UFC 250 press conference, he appeared confused at a question over whether the promotion would make an official statement on the issue, as the head of several sporting leagues have done over the past two weeks.
“I don’t know if you’re asking me about social media and stuff like that,” White said. “Everybody is dealing with all of this madness going on in the world right now in different ways. Everybody’s gonna handle it differently. I would never try to tell somebody how to express themselves, whether it’s fear, anger, whatever it might be. The beautiful thing about America is everybody can and however they want to, so I would never do that.”