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The Unsupportable Opinion: There’s Nothing Wrong With The ‘U-S-A!’ Chant


(The crowd can’t hear you over the rumble of their freedom. / Photo via Esther Lin of MMAFighting.)

By Matt Saccaro

The U-S-A chant.

MMA fans bitch about it on Twitter more than anything else — more than Mike Goldberg’s weird syntax, more than Joe Rogan constantly favoring one fighter over another, and even more than the dreaded Eminem Curse.

As soon as the first drunk bellows a “U” the MMA hivemind gets to work, and their complaints flood the web as soon as the “S” and “A” are vocalized.

Is the chant xenophobic? Yes.

Is the chant clichéd? Yes.

Is the chant lame? Yes.

Is the chant low-class? Yes.

But all of these things are OK.

MMA events aren’t Wimbledon. They are, as Chael Sonnen said, “borderline illegal fist-fights.” Two guys are being locked in a cage and tasked with tearing the other guy limb from limb. Sometimes legs get broken in half. Sometimes fighters are roided-up supermen that use their ill-gotten strength to explode livers. But these things are fine. The real “issue” is what the fans are chanting, apparently.

Please just think about how ridiculous of a thing this is to get upset about. To put it into perspective, more fans and pundits get upset about the U-S-A chants than got upset about a leaked memo confirming that the travelling media were Zuffa’s PR team rather than actual journalists. But no, shilling for Zuffa is OK, so long as they don’t chant “U-S-A” while doing it.

What’s even worse about the U-S-A chant backlash is that the same people who bash the chant are silent when hordes of angry Brazilians start chanting “You’re gonna die” at foreign fighters.

It’s OK — or “cultural” — when thousands of people chant for a fighter’s death, but it’s somehow a heinous crime against multiculturalism when fans utter the three simple letters, U, S, and A.

This is unacceptable. American fans, like the Brazilian fans who are supposedly doing nothing wrong, use the chant to support a countryman. It’s a gesture of unity, and it can be a very powerful one. There’s no need to be mad when you hear it, especially when there are thousands more problems in the sport to be mad about. The chant is fine, so back off.

And one more thing: Put down those foreign flags, you goddamned traitors.

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