By Matt Saccaro
The comments on any article or message board post about Tyler Manawaroa’s racist Instagram post are an example of why MMA is where it is in terms of the sport’s public perception.
Manawaroa, a fighter on TUF Nations, posted the racist image macro on his Instagram 18 months ago. It was brought to light just recently when fellow TUF Nations member Kajan Johnson tweeted it to his coach, Patrick Cote.
Some fans are responding with apt disgust, while others are showing why society thinks MMA is a crass “sport” followed only by skinheads and low-class morons—the kinds of white, suburban idiots who believe in Reptilians, hoard bitcoins in case the shit hits the fan, worship Ron Paul, and think reverse racism is a real thing.
Here are a handful of highlights from the Bloody Elbow article about Manawaroa’s photo, as well as the post about it on r/MMA—Reddit’s MMA locale that’s replaced the UG as the web’s premier destination for MMA discussion and content—as well as the Instagram photo itself:
“So? People can’t be racist at 18?”
“Its [sic] been up for weeks and some attention whore happen [sic] to see it and wants to be noticed. Funny how its [sic] just Americans whinging [sic] and complaining.”
“Haha, sounds like you know everything about this kid based off one picture he posted.”
“It was 18 months ago. Not saying it’s right… but it was 18 months ago.”
“Yeah, lets burn him at the stake!!! Because I am positive that myself or anyone else posting in this thread have never done anything wrong or made an insensitive comment in their lives. Downvote away hypocrites!”
“Oh look an opportunity for all you perfect model citizens to get up on your high horses and act like you never did anything stupid when you were a teenager.”
And my favorite:
“BREAKING NEWS: Teenager posts something stupid on social media!
Seriously, who gives a fuck?”
A guy posts overtly racist pictures (yes, there were more than one) on his Instagram (along with correspondingly racist hashtags) and MMA fans shrug. But who gives a fuck? Fighters are awesome for BEING REAL. Racism is OK because we’re all racist. And besides, he’s JUST A TEENAGER! It’s not like growing up racist will have any impact on his opinions on other groups of people later in life, right? Anyone who gets mad is just a reverse-racist who’s a victim of the pussification of America. And anyone who disagrees with this assessment is just a high-horse, ivory tower, white knight and liar since it’s impossible for someone to not be racist.
This isn’t the first time MMA fans showed their proclivity towards the sordid. Joe Rogan used the slur “faggot” to describe MMA writer Tomas Rios in 2010, an act for which he issued a sarcastic non-apology. A year later, when Rampage Jackson infamously motorboated Karyn Bryant and Yahoo’s Maggie Hendricks called him out, Rogan labeled her “cunty” to the support of MMA fans. And let’s not forget Ronda Rousey tweeting the Sandy Hook conspiracy video and Dana White’s pathetic reaction to it.
Look, other sports have race problems as well as other issues like sexual harassment. But other sports don’t have the historical, “human cockfighting” baggage that MMA does. Football is still esteemed and respected despite players blowing their hearts out to preserve their traumatic brains. Baseball is plagued with PED problems, but it’s still America’s favorite past time.
MMA, at the best of times, is “that UFC shit with the guys rolling around on the floor.” Bad athlete conduct hurts MMA worse than other sports. We can’t tolerate it, nor should we even try to defend it when it’s as egregiously horrific as Tyler Manawaora’s—but I’m sure the UFC’s head of fighter conduct Matt Hughes will deal with the situation accordingly.
Cue people in the comments calling me a liberal pussy.
Manawaroa has since apologized, saying the following on his Facebook page:
I posted a pic on instagram that has offended people..im very sorry !! As you can imagine that was never the intention. .as a dark skinned person myself who has delt with racism all my life ,I was making fun of the stereotype that all dark people go to jail..which is obviously not true….hence the irony…but I will remove it and I apologize for offending you.