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Morning Report: UFC champion Tyron Woodley discusses racist backlash to his UFC 201 title win

UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley discussed some of the racist backlash he was met with after winning the title at UFC 201.

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Tyron Woodley is no stranger to the current discourse of race in America. He's from Ferguson, Missouri which was the site of massive protests and extreme political discussion for months after the shooting of the unarmed teenager Michael Brown. He also attended the University of Missouri which found itself amidst national headlines when students began protesting the systemic racism at the institution. In both instances, Woodley was asked to comment on the situations since he has personal ties with each. Now, he finds himself commenting on another national topic of in the same vein. One which he is perhaps less directly tied to but not less deeply connected with: Colin Kaepernick and racial oppression in the United States.

Recenly Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL, made headlines by refusing to stand for the national anthem before a preseason football game. Afterwards, he declared, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," which has since sparked heated, often hateful, discussion about a whole number of things. This week, on his podcast The Morning Wood Show w/ Deez Nuts, Woodley took some time to address the Colin Kaepernick situation and talk about the racist backlash he received after becoming UFC champion.

"I didn't see it. I just read about it afterwards. And I personally wouldn't do that - I'm probably gonna stand up and remove my hat and put my hand across my chest and be quiet until it's over with - but I do think that people that don't want to be honest, they want to sweep it under the rug as if these injustices are not taking place, I have an issue with that. Because they are taking place and I really think that as a society we can't just act like they're not. That's a part of the problem.

"It's just crazy that we have people - political figures and athletes and people that are owners of NBA basketball teams - they can do things that are complete, blatant, racist as all get out, racist as H-E-double hockey sticks, and there's no crazy uproar. And I'm just like, ‘Wow.' ... People gave a little bit of a stink about it, but they're acting like he came out at halftime with an Uzi and sprayed the other team up."

Woodley is no stranger to criticism, having faced more than his share of it already. It started before he even won the belt when scores of fans were unhappy with the announcement that Woodley would be challenging Robbie Lawler for the welterweight strap, with many saying he didn't deserve the title shot. Some of these instances (perhaps many) seemed to be tinted by racial overtones but, according to Woodley, what may have been implied beforehand only got worse after he knocked out Lawler at UFC 201.

"Just as a champion, I can tell you from experience that being the champion, the last three weeks of my life have been the complete opposite of what you think it would be... I've had so many people say, ‘You P-U-S-S-Y. You're scared of this person!' And I'm like, I just fought an hour ago. I just got the belt. I haven't even had - ‘you should be stripped of the belt' - and it hasn't even been a month. Actually it's a month today that I won the belt...

"Then I've had people call me ‘n***er' and monkey and all this racist stuff. And I delete the people so they'll create another page and just go back out. People are willing to take so many hours of their day to be so negative... Some people, I look at their page and all they do all day is go against African-American athletes and try to racially slur them."

Woodley is one of three current African-American champions (four if you count Jon Jones' interim title which he may or may not still have) alongside Demetrious Johnson and Daniel Cormier. He is the ninth African-American champion in the promotion's history. And while perhaps it's not entirely surprising that these things continue to happen to prominent African American athletes, it's no less unsettling that it does.

Here is the entire show. I highly recommend listening to it.




Code. The UFC released a statement on the racial remarks made by Alex Nicholson while cornering Mike Perry.

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This sport.

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Chris Gutierrez (9-1-1) vs. Timur Valiev (10-2-0); WSOF 33, October 7.

Jesse Brock (22-8-0) vs. Bekbulat Magomedov (16-1-0); WSOF 33, October 7.

Abu Azaitar (12-1-1) vs. Michael Arrant (15-11-0); WSOF 33, October 7.

Islam Mamedov (13-1-0) vs. Alonzo Martinez (40-19-1); WSOF 33, October 7.

Magomed Magomedkerimov (17-5-0) vs. Bobby Cooper (12-6-0); WSOF 33, October 7.

Bryce Mitchell (6-0-0) vs. Brandon Phillips (12-6-0); WSOF 33, October 7.

Bruno Santos (14-2-0) vs. Clinton Williams (7-4-0); WSOF 33, October 7.

Jon Tuck (9-3-0) vs. Mehdi Baghdad (11-5-0); UFC Fight Night 97, October 15.

Gerald Meerschaert (23-8-0) vs. Chase Waldon (10-1-0); RFA 45, October 28.

Raoni Barcelos (10-1-0) vs. Dan Moret (11-2-0); RFA 45, October 28.

Dong Hyun Kim (21-3-1) vs. Gunnar Nelson (15-2-1); UFC Fight Night 99, November 19.




2001: Alexandre Franca Noguiera retained his Shooto featherweight championship for the second time, submitting Tetsuo Katsuta with a guillotine choke at Shooto: To The Top 8.

2010: Joe Warren became the Bellator featherweight champion when he stopped Joe Soto with knees and punches at Bellator 27.




And that's it for this week folks. We've disable comments on this one because the internet is full of people that might see this as an opportunity to spew some virulently hateful garbage, and we aren't about that life. Oh, and no MR on Monday because of Labor Day. So enjoy the fights tomorrow, have a great weekend, and we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming on Tuesday.


If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.

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