(“I drink coconut water because it’s the world’s greatest natural source of electrolytes. Plus, Obama has been putting cyanide in our tap water since March 2010. Open your eyes, people.” Photo via Esther Lin/Showtime)
By George Shunick
One of the more enjoyable aspects of MMA — and the athletes who participate in it – is that even as the sport has grown exponentially in popularity over the past half-decade, the personalities that comprise it have remained extraordinarily candid in their interactions with the general public. It keeps fighters down to earth relative to athletes in other sports — Chris Kluwe excluded — and creates a sense of community between the fans and fighters that is unique to MMA. Of course, every now and then, a fighter (or promoter) will take things a step too far.
Take Ronda Rousey. Just the other day she caught heat for saying that Georges St. Pierre, the most dominant champion in welterweight history and arguably the most complete fighter in the sport, was only famous because he was attractive and Canadian. After the ensuing outcry, Ronda clearly gave the matter a lot of thought and decided to be more conscious of what she said in public forums…and proceeded to tweet an “extremely interesting must watch video” suggesting the Sandy Hook massacre of 20 children and 6 adults in December was the product of a government conspiracy to push anti-gun legislation. Amidst a storm of criticism, she eventually took down the tweet hours later.
Let’s be clear: This is probably the single largest public relations blunder any prominent professional fighter has committed since Quinton “Rampage” Jackson lived up to his nickname. Rousey originally justified it by saying “I just figure asking questions and doing research is more patriotic than blindly accepting what you’re told.” Which is an interesting thing to say, considering she just blindly accepted what a YouTube video — presumably constructed by a reactionary paranoid living in his mom’s basement — told her, despite an overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary.