Instead, there’s a particular interest around George’s opponent Shad Smith.
Sure, Smith has fought some of the top names in MMA throughout his career. He’s faced UFC veterans like Nam Phan and even holds a win over current UFC fighter Jared Papazian.
But it’s also known that Shad Smith was the first openly gay male fighter in MMA.
The questions about homosexuality in MMA have come up on several occasions, most recently when Dakota Cochrane looked to make his way into The Ultimate Fighter Live house after it was revealed he had done several gay pornographic films while in college.
Smith first revealed to the world his sexual preference in a 2008 interview with the New York Times, but has continued to be an active fighter ever since.
His opponent this Friday at BAMMA in Commerce, Calif., honestly couldn’t care less what Smith’s sexual preferences happen to be. He’s going to walk into the cage and try to knock his head off. That’s what Chad George is worried about.
“At the end of the day, when you take a deeper look, it really doesn’t matter,” George told MMAWeekly Radio. “He’s a good fighter, he’s well experienced, he’s been in the game a long time. But at the end of the day, we’re going to stand in the middle of that cage and we’re going to fight, regardless of what sex he’s into. He’s a tough son of a bitch, any way you count it. He’s a tough dude and he’s going to come out there and try to knock my head off.”
George believes the taboo nature that exists when talking about homosexuality in MMA is something that’s happened in other sports as well. It’s nothing new, but he hopes education can change all of that.
Much like how MMA for years was called a bloodsport by so many people.
“I think it just comes down to lack of education. That’s really what it is. I truly believe that. MMA in general, we’re getting better, but we’re still an undereducated sport where the average person still really doesn’t know the truth about who we are or what we are as people outside of their thoughts of us being barbarians beating the hell out of each other,” said George.
“So as soon as education grows more, I think it’s going to help out with all the other sides of it as well.”
If George is successful in beating Smith this Friday night, like many past opponents, he might get a call from him a few days later asking if he can train with the former WEC fighter to see where he went wrong.
It’s not uncommon at all for opponents to become training partners after a fight. So would George welcome Smith to his gym?
“I would treat that exactly the way I treat all the other guys that I’ve fought with that have brought it up. I’m very picky with the people that I train with, so it would be very difficult for me to just be willing to teach what I know to somebody that I’ve fought because they’re part of different camps and different gyms,” George said.
But would his inclusion or exclusion have anything to do with Smith’s sexual preference?
“No, not at all. There’s plenty of other guys out there that are gay fighters and gay individuals from many other sports that are good at what they do and it just happens to be a topic that’s very touchy,” said George.
UFC president Dana White has said in the past that he welcomes the idea of a gay fighter in the promotion, and he hopes it happens one day soon.
“I’ll tell you right now, if there was a gay fighter in UFC, I wish he would come out. I could care less if there’s a gay fighter in the UFC. There probably is and there’s probably more than one,” White said following UFC 137 last year.
George agrees with that statement and hopes that one day the fight world can look at a gay fighter the same way they would look at anybody else. With no prejudice.
“I think as soon as it does become a little more recognized we’re going to see a lot of these named fighters that are out there are going to start coming out with it as well,” said George. “There’s a lot of speculation on guys that are already out there, it’s just that nobody’s actually coming out.”