MMA & Freedom of Speech: America to Nurmagomedov: “You Don’t Get to Dictate to Us”
The most tremendous and long-awaited fight in UFC history, McGregor vs Nurmagomedov, ended with a dominant win for the Dagestan fighter, which was, however, overshadowed by the post-fight chaos caused by some of the winner’s comments about speech in the U.S.. The U.S. hasn’t given an official response to Nurmagomedov yet, and as usual, public opinion is divided. Meanwhile, he’s awaiting sanctions from the UFC and American sports journalists have started to speculate about Khabib Nurmagomedov’s sports future and… freedom of speech in the U.S.
A veteran sports reporter from Los Angeles, Dave Doyle, who took the liberty of speaking on behalf of the whole nation, started his article by calling Khabib a “virtuous villain.” From the very first sentence, he alleged that “Nurmagomedov was wrong about a couple things in his statement at the UFC 229 post-fight press conference late Saturday night.”
Nurmagomedov said, “It’s a respect sport; this is not trash-talking sport. This is respectful. <…> I don’t want people to talk (expletive) about opponent, talk (expletive) about father, like religion. You cannot talk about religion, you cannot think about nation. For me, this is very important.”
Dave Doyle responded: “Despite what Nurmagomedov expressed, you do, in fact, get to talk about subjects like religion and country here in the United States. The freedoms to do so are enshrined in our nation’s founding principles, and even now, in 2018, when it seems like our most basic tenets are under constant assault, you’re free to discuss these subjects.”
What about the founding principles of the International Olympic Committee though, Dave?
“The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,” the Olympic Charter of 2015 says.
An American former competitive swimmer Donna de Varona also spoke about “the unifying power of sport,” saying “the field of play offers a powerful platform for social change—for dismantling barriers and building bridges, and for bringing people together regardless of race, nationality or gender.”
Well, maybe De Varona’s opinion “doesn’t count” as she has nothing to do with combat sports.
Luckily, Twitter was able to catch some of the reactions from around the MMA community.
Here is some feedback on Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor:
Hey guys, two wrongs don’t make it right. Conor didn’t deserve that. No one did. But some things aren’t for fight promotion. Religion, family, country. Throwing stuff in Brooklyn. For Khabib it wasn’t fight promotion, it was really personal. Diff culture man. Sucks— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) October 7, 2018
Conor had zero punishment by the UFC when he personally attacked a bus and actually injured innocent bystanders.— Nathan Quarry (@NateRockQuarry) October 7, 2018
We’ll see if the UFC maintains their standard.
That is if Khabib is enough of a “needle moved”
You can't talk about people's families in a world where everyone is raised with different morals and ideologies. It's not a game to everyone and cannot be forgiven after the fight.— Josh Thomson (@THEREALPUNK) October 7, 2018
Khabib had a flawless performance, congratulations but he lost him mind on the end. He kept composed during the week but after the fight he explode which is understandable, you can’t cross the family and religion line when it comes to promote a fight.— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) October 7, 2018
And once again, “the freedoms to do so are enshrined in our nation’s founding principles.” Yes, they are. Those founding principles belong to the oft-mentioned First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, though neither Khabib nor McGregor are Americans.
There’s no mention that even Dana White, the current UFC President, said in 2015 that “America doesn’t want to hear your thoughts on Jesus” asking to “keep that stuff at home; religion, politics, all that stuff.”
“That these topics are fair game is especially true when your home country, Russia, is one suspected of meddling in our elections, and when that country has a worldwide reputation for squashing dissent,” Dave continued.
Meddling in the U.S. elections? Well, Dave, are you sure you are a sports journalist and not a political analyst?
Moreover, he must have not read the article by the New York Times about America meddling in foreign elections for decades.
“We’ve been doing this kind of thing since the C.I.A. was created in 1947,” said Loch K. Johnson, the dean of American intelligence scholars, who began his career in the 1970s investigating the C.I.A. as a staff member of the Senate’s Church Committee, now at the University of Georgia. “We’ve used posters, pamphlets, mailers, banners—you name it. We’ve planted false information in foreign newspapers.”
“So yeah, when you’re a guest here in this country like Nurmagomedov, you don’t get to dictate to us about which conversational subjects are and are not off-limits.”
Dear Dave, unfortunately, even if guests were dictating to you what topics you are to bring up, the American government would not allow that anyway… because the role of dictator has already been taken by U.S. social networks and government-funded media. This state, with no freedom of the press and a dying freedom of speech does perfectly well without any outside help from the outside.