Racism in MMA isn’t exactly a new concept but this example is pretty dramatic.
On Saturday, the same day Francis Ngannou defended his UFC heavyweight title, Marquel Martin, his manager, shared a text message he received from an unknown sender with a Las Vegas area code.
The message read, “Lets see who gets the last word after tonight you dumb black bitch. The fact that Francis would ever listen to you lets you know how much of a dumb piece of s**t he is to. After this you will go back to selling suits at Nordstrol you f**king moron.” It also included three middle finger emojis.
Martin didn’t reveal who sent the text or how they got his number, instead shared it as a way to “uplift” others.
“Just a small piece of what has been going on recently,” he wrote. “All for trying to do my job to the best of my ability. All supporting my brother Francis. All for trying to do what’s right and fair. All for believing in respect. I don’t share this for pity, I know I’m not perfect, but I share this to help show support and uplift Anyone who is or has experienced ANY type of racism, hatred, self-doubt, etc. I feel it trust me. Especially this week haha. It will be hard, it will be scary but stand strong and keep the faith.”
He continued, “Also sharing because I am thankful for these experiences (trials). I have grown SO much. So thank you to my enemies, God bless you. I have grown in wisdom, I have grown in patience, I have grown in spirit and I have grown in knowing who I KNOW I am as a man…And I’m proud of myself.”
Ngannou and the UFC have been having a public war over his contract and UFC president Dana White was noticeably missing from the post-fight press conference and did not put the belt around Ngannou’s waist after he defeated Ciryl Gane.