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Chris Weidman puzzled why American fans don't root for American fighters

Esther Lin

UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman takes his "All-American" moniker seriously.

He's draped the stars and stripes over his shoulders after his greatest victories, against the likes of Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida. And he's not sure why mixed martial arts fans don't seem as loyal to their country as he is.

"I feel like smaller countries, other countries, they cheer, they support their people no matter what," Weidman said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "We need to get a little bit more supportive of our people."

Weidman was at UFC 178 in Las Vegas, where throngs of Irishmen flooded the MGM Grand Garden Arena to cheer on one of their own, Conor McGregor, against Lafayette, Louisiana's Dustin Poirier.

McGregor's fans made it sound as if he was fighting in Dublin as he finished Poirier in the first round.

"For him to have so many more fans than Poirier, over here in America, I mean, Americans are cheering for him and then you have all these Irish guys coming over cheering for him too," Weidman said. "So America is the one country that, they don't cheer for their own. They won't just stick with Americans. I feel like Americans need to get better with that."

This isn't the first time a Vegas arena has been subject to foreign invasion during a UFC event. From Canadians flocking to Georges St-Pierre fights to several Brazilian headliners, some of the most memorable UFC night have come when

"I feel like, we've got so much going on, we've got so many people to support that, sometimes, we really are good at a lot of different things," Weidman said. "We have a lot of great stars and so many different things, some of the other countries don't have that. So when they get somebody, they support them to the death. America, I kind of think we take it for granted sometimes."

If the subject seems personal for Weidman, it's for good reason. The Long Islander's biggest fights, twice against Silva and once against Machida, have taken place in Las Vegas, and in all three fights, the majority of the crowd has root for his opponent.

"I've fought all these top Brazilians," Weidman said. "They're all supporting their people, Anderson Silva, they're supporting him. Lyoto Machida, they're all supporting him. I didn't have the full support of America. Not everyone American was rooting for me because I'm from America. If they were rooting for me, it's because they were a fan of me. There was a lot of fans from America who were cheering for Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida."

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