There it is, in big bold lettering splashed across Cain Velasquez' burly chest like a disheartening beacon of how far the world's social evolution has to go, "BROWN PRIDE" The tattoo has been the subject of controversy, and a thorn in the organizations side since the fighter came to the UFC, but is there really any reason to make a fuss about it? Let's explore the subject a little more.
Karen Bryant is an mma reporter who's focus on colored fighters could hint at a racially motivated bias, so it came at no surprise when she was the one to bait Dana into whitewashing(no pun intended) the issue of Cain's tattoo. When asked about it Dana replied.
"People that have a problem with the ‘Brown Pride' tattoo are morons," he said. "It says ‘Brown Pride.' Big deal; the guy is proud to be Mexican."
By what I can tell Dana is a pretty cool guy, and I would hate for him to consider me a moronic redneck(not that there aren't some pretty great people who are red necks and just weren't blessed with the highest IQ) but I have to disagree with his assessment of this situation. Also, it's hard not to be a little offended and lose some respect for the man when he starts throwing insults and judgment at people who don't share his stance instead of making respectful intelligent points about the subject. Dana continued
"I lived in Boston, every Italian was running around with something Italian on their body. Every guy who was Irish had some Irish tattoo on him, and the list goes on and on. It's ridiculous."
Does Dana expect us to believe there isn't a difference between wearing an Irish flag and bearing the worlds white pride across your chest. Irish is a nationality, and white is a skin color. A flag is a national symbol and pride is a word that has been long associated with hate groups. So although most of Ireland is white and I'm sure they are proud, it is deplorable to express this with the words white pride. Personally, I'm not buying that in all the years Cain lived in America that he was somehow unaware of the racial implications of putting the word pride after a skin color? That, for me, is a very hard pill to swallow.
He could have just as easily decided to get a Mexican flag tattoo, but opted for the infamous "brown pride" knowing full well what he was doing. I don't think saying that someone would have to be naive to think he didn't know is as baseless as Dana's moron comment either.
You may remember the incident involving Dan Hardy's "Om Mani padme hum" tattoo. Apparently it was too controversial to appear on promotions for the UFC 111 event. When asked why the tattoo was to be airbrushed out of posters displaying the fighter Dana White answered,
"I'm trying to get into China, I don't need anti-Chinese government stuff on my fighters."
A laughable statement considering the Sanskrit prayer which could be loosely translated as
practice and wisdom leads to purity has an altruistic message that neither alienates any groups of humanity nor had anything to do with Tibetan/Chinese relations. So why the double standard for tattoos?
Unfortunately to date most of the explanations have come from Cain or Dana themselves, and those hold about as much weight as relying on a suspected murderer saying they didn't commit the crime as proof despite the evidence suggesting otherwise. It goes without saying that someone being accused of something will give a b.s. story to avoid being held accountable for what they did. So what Dana and Cain have to say about the issue is irrelevant.
One thing is for sure is there are a lot of questions left surrounding the issue that have left to be answered.
Why is an obviously racially charged tattoo of one fighter rationalized and allowed to be displayed on promotional material when another completely inoffensive tattoo of another is airbrushed off with out question? Does Dana white not care at the number of people offended by this regardless of any explanations given? Is it just a headache that he doesnt want to deal with? If it is a matter of gaining a foot hold in the Mexican market, is there not a better way that it could be gone about in that doesn't alienate and offend some loyal UFC fans? Should Cain be asked to have the tattoo removed? Should it be airbrushed away on promotional posters and television ads as similar situations were handled in the past? Should he not be allowed to fight on Fox cards and public television events? Let me know what you think in the comments below.