Like a lot of other people, Britain Hart saw the post-fight celebration from Tai Emery following her knockout win at BKFC Thailand this past Saturday.
After stopping Rung-Arun Khunchai in the first round, Emery stood on the ropes, lifted her top, and flashed the audience in attendance. The now viral clip has spread like wildfire, and Hart, an eight-fight BKFC veteran, was asked to give her reaction to the moment ahead of her inaugural strawweight title fight with Fani Peloumpi this Saturday in the main event of BKFC 29.
“At the end of the day, it’s an uphill battle for me. I have my deep points on it, and I feel very strongly about it,” Hart told MMA Fighting. “The only thing I have to say is good for her, you know, freedom, super happy, I don’t know if those were her real breasts or not, who knows? But it’s all good: You’re happy and people like that stuff.
“But here are my two takeaways: One, it can be interpreted as a slap in the face to real, hard-working fighters who are in the gym slaving away every day and they go out there after a good performance and act like an athlete and a fighter. Now, you have this girl, and it’s going to be, ‘Who is going to be booked for fights? Who is going to sell more tickets?’ Now she’s going to sell more tickets. Her following went up, everyone’s like, ‘I’ll pay to watch that girl fight any day.’ Of course, the fact that she got — what people say was — a clean knockout, it is what it is, but it’s her first fight. I think you should have to work up and earn a little more cred for someone to always want to watch them fight based on their skill.
“It just leads to a pattern. Now her following jumped up and everyone’s going to want to watch her to see that side of her. Other fighters might not do that and they don’t get appreciated for her skills as much, but I can kind of let that one go because she did get a knockout, or whatever.”
Hart has spent her entire BKFC run in the flyweight division and makes the move to her more natural weight class with a title on the line.
Throughout her career, Hart has strived for two things: To win a BKFC title, and to get respect from her fellow fighters, and the combat sports community. While Emery has created quite the stir — and told MMA Fighting earlier this week that things were only “going to get worse” moving forward — Hart feels like Emery might be walking a very slippery slope in the future.
“[The second thing], I grew up very differently, and I have to say that so people can understand my background,” Hart said. “My childhood was not in the U.S.A., I was raised very differently, and I was also raised that this was a man’s world. I was always aware of that. First of all, I’m as straight as can be, I’m super, super straight, but you have to act like a man for them to respect you, and that’s why I think some people don’t like me because I say what a man would say where they would get, ‘Yay, they’re the best,’ while females get, ‘No, no, no, don’t say that.’
“But I act like that so I can be respected in this man’s business, sport, world, and to do that, you can’t wear mini skirts, or flash your boobs, or have an OnlyFans, because guess what? Guys are in the gym that you’re boxing at, and they’re not thinking, ‘That girl works hard, she’s a f****** beast, she’s skilled, her jab is good,’ they’re thinking, ‘Did you see her latest post? Oh yeah, let me get that. I’m going to go spar with her so when we hold, I’m going to feel up in-between her legs, I’m going to rub up on her t******.’ And I’ve heard it because, again, I live in a man’s world, and I hear how guys talk. So best believe, ladies, that’s what they’re saying.
“You think they respect you? You think they think you’re a great fighter? They don’t. They’re talking about you, they have your ass pulled up [on social media] in the gym like, ‘Look at my DM’s,’ and they compare each other’s DM’s about the same girl who’s DMing multiple guys. To me, that’s a no-no because when I was in high school, you got your ass beat for s*** like that, but now in today’s generation, it’s kind of cool. Women are rocking that man role where they’re basically pimping themselves out.”
Hart is all about promoting a positive body image, but there comes a point, in her eyes, where it can become too much.
“That’s cool if that’s what they want to do, and that’s their lifestyle, whatever,” Hart explained. “But I would just preach to other women and females, trust me, I’ve seen it behind the scenes, and I’ve seen it both ways. If you don’t want someone to respect you, than yeah, go flash your t******, go have an OnlyFans, go do whatever you want. Make that money. Some people don’t care would go shoot their mom for $5 million, so who the hell cares? That’s just the world we live in.
“But if you want to do things and have people look at you, and really respect you, you have to be mindful of the images you post out. When little kids look at you and they see you wearing a thong all the time — now some time [is OK], I do support body appreciation whether you’re small, chunky, big, curvy, we should love all bodies, and that’s totally a good thing to do once in a while. Like, ‘Hey, look at this hard work,’ being in a bikini, but I’m talking [those who post those things] all the time. People misconstrue my thought process on it, but when that’s all you see is lingerie — not bathing suits — but lingerie, lingerie, and the caption, because it’s all about the caption. If it’s like, ‘Look at me on the beach, yay,” that’s one thing, but if it’s like, ‘I wonder what sea shell is going to fit up in here,’ I don’t know, but it’s basically the crazy stuff we’re seeing online. C’mon guys, you know the implications.”
In the end, Hart believes that people should do whatever makes them happy. When it comes to how fighters are viewed by their fellow athletes, along with the fans, the 32-year-old advises that hard work and patience — in all aspects of life — will pay off in the end.
“I wouldn’t want my daughter, or the people who look up to me, to post pictures of themselves in lingerie, I wouldn’t want them to have an OnlyFans, I wouldn’t want them to sleep with 20 people in a month, I would want them to respect themselves,” Hart said. “I want them to go find a great man that treats them really [well] and loves them, and cherishes them, and respects them.
“That’s why you guys see me and Joey so happy. That man respects the s*** out of me, and for a very good reason. I’m super happy, we have a bomb ass relationship for that reason. So you guys, fairy tale relationships are out there, but if you’re being a whore you’re not going to find your dream husband, or he’s going to be a whore, too.”