(Now you see some incoherent scrawling, now you don’t.)
Whether you’re putting together a fight poster or the cover of Teen Vogue, airbrushing is just something you do. I mean, you didn’t think Georges St. Pierre‘s cheekbones were really that breathtaking, did you? But UFC 111 is the first time in recent memory that a fighter’s tattoos have been airbrushed out. Above you see one version of the UFC 111 poster featuring Dan Hardy‘s Sanskrit tattoo of a Tibetan Buddhist prayer, and another version with his stomach looking as clean as the belly of a starless Sneetch. So what gives?
According to what Dana White told fans at a Q&A session in Toronto today, it’s because he doesn’t want any trouble with the Chinese government, which, if you hadn’t heard, is kind of sensitive to anything having to do with Tibet. As White explained:
"I’m trying to get into China. I don’t need anti-Chinese government stuff on my fighters."
In the March issue of Fight Magazine, Hardy explains that the tattoo — which reads "Om mani padme hum," and supposedly means, "Hail the jewel in the lotus" — serves two purposes.
"Basically, the jewel is the enlightenment within the lotus, the lotus being the mind. It’s a Tibetan Buddhist prayer for ‘Stay focused, keep walking the path you’re supposed to be walking on, and eventually you’ll achieve the enlightenment within your mind.’ It was kind of that and kind of the fact that I’ve never had abs, so I thought I could just cover that area with ink."
I think now we see why, when faced with the choice between letting Hardy express some crap about the lotus and doing whatever is necessary not to make his struggle to break into a country with over a billion potential UFC fans any harder than it needs to be, DW opted to give Hardy the gift of abs via the magical powers of airbrushing.