Antonio McKee is just way ahead of his time. At least that’s what Antonio McKee says in the above video with your boy Marcos from FightHubTV.com. In fact, though this interview is ostensibly about McKee’s upcoming MFC lightweight title defense against Luciano Azevedo, much of it is just Antonio McKee explaining why it’s OK for Antonio McKee to do many of the things Antonio McKee does. This includes but is not limited to both his wrestling-based fighting style — which McKee assures us is the wave of the future — and his liberal use of the N-word, which he says we shouldn’t be offended by because … well … it doesn’t offend him.
“I’m just the baddest nigger on the planet, you know?” McKee says at about the :55 second mark. “For those black folks that I offend when I use the word nigger, let me explain this right now to you. Nigger is not a bad word to me. Where I come from, nigger is a term of endearment and loyalty and brotherhood … I want to let you know now, this fight here is about putting on a show. So, if you see me out there wearing my monkey suit doing my monkey dance, don’t be tripping, alright?”
OK, we’re not tripping, though McKee’s reasoning about why we shouldn’t trip seems pretty flawed here.
First the touchy political stuff: No, people probably shouldn’t be offended by McKee’s use of the N-word. His point about loyalty and respect and how the connotative meaning of that particular word has changed during the last 20 years or so is perfectly valid. Secondly, since McKee’s usage of the N-word here is just a small part of a much larger, funnier, sort of crazier rant, there’s no point in getting in up-in-arms about it. I mean, in an interview where a guy also suggests that some of his attacks are so fast that the camera can’t pick them up, you should probably take everything with a grain of salt. If not, you’re essentially just setting yourself for a lifetime of being offended. You might as well also get upset when Big DW drops the F-bomb.
(Ed. Note: Though, let’s be honest, McKee is dispensing the most emotionally and politically charged word in the culture here, so it probably shouldn’t be done lightly. The N-word is still so taboo that it’s pretty much the only word that I, as a white dude, don’t feel comfortable typing here. As a result, I have to keep calling it the “N-word,” which frankly feels a little ridiculous. But if you want to read a pretty good guide as to when it’s OK to use this word, read this blog. For those of you who are too lazy, here is the Spark Notes version: If you’re white, it’s never OK.)
Actually, if McKee hadn’t stopped to explain why he thought it was fine for him to say the N-word, we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion right now. But, frankly, the fighter nicknamed “Mandingo” – a moniker which certainly has its own various connotative cultural meanings – seems to employ logic that just isn’t that sound. As a general rule of thumb, the barometer of whether or not you are being offensive isn’t whether you are offended by what you say, but rather if others are offended. The sooner we all start to realize this, the sooner it will save us all some headaches. Right, Dana?
Course, it’d also be easier to accept McKee’s justifications of his own vocabulary if he didn’t later hand out sweeping indictments of his opponent’s culture and their inability to get their cardio together …
“I know the Brazilians are tough, but they just don’t got gas,” he says. “They take a lot of punishment, but I’m really trying to fuck this guy up. I’m really trying to hurt this dude. I haven’t felt like this in a long time. It’s been like, maybe 22 years ago when I was in the hood and we were shooting dice. I hit my point and this dude didn’t want to give me my money, so I had to resort back to niggerism. This fight here has brought me back to niggerism. It’s not going to be good, folks.”
Yeah, we’re not going near that one. Fortunately, McKee clears it all up for us at the 4:07 mark: “I’ve been called racist and bigoted and all kind of things,” he says. “By the way, I’m not racist. I love everybody, except black people.”
Now see, that’s just good comedy, right there.