A near-perfect embodiment of our current-day troubles has recently metastasized in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Octagon. If the following story has thus far escaped your notice, good. There is nothing inherently interesting or important about this latest discharge of middleweight trash-talk, but what this drama so neatly represents – well, that’s a different story.
Back in March, streaking middleweight contender Dricus Du Plessis, an Afrikaner, had choice words about the prospect of vying for the middleweight strap, which is currently owned by Israel Adesanya, a Nigerian black living in New Zealand. Despite the UFC at one point sporting three black “African” champions (Adesanya, welterweight Kamaru Usman, and heavyweight Francis Ngannou), Du Plessis maintains that these are not true Africans. Unlike him and UFC stablemate Cameron Saaimon, who is also white, these three no longer live on their native continent:
Did those belts ever go to Africa? As far as I know, they came to America and New Zealand. I’m going to take a belt to Africa. I’m the African fighter in the UFC. Myself and Cameron, we breathe African air. We wake up in Africa every day. We train in Africa, we’re African born, we’re African raised, we still reside in Africa, we train out of Africa — that’s an African champion, and that’s who I’ll be.
This did not go over well with Adesanya, who wasted no time firing back with the ad hominems. And where Du Plessis was merely talking about geography, Adesanya focused on what we’re all really concerned about these days: race.
“I’m going to f*cking take him to school in the octagon and on history. What he’s doing is creating divide.” Adesanya said in a video posted to his FreestyleBender YouTube channel on Wednesday. “You can’t know your history — I have never questioned him as an African because, yeah, you were born in Africa, South Africa, of course you’re an African. I’ve never questioned that. But who the f*ck is this cracker to tell me who the f*ck I am, who the f*ck Kamaru is, who the f*ck Ngannou is. I’m like, ‘Are you dumb?’ As a product of colonization, you’re trying to tell me who the f*ck I am. You could take the boy out of Africa, but you could never take the Africa out of the boy.
“I never did that to him. I never, ever discredited him as an African. OK, you are. Cool. You want to make a fight? Cool. But the fact that, as a f*cking cracker, to tell me who the f*ck I am, that pissed me off. And that’s why he’s my next fight, because I don’t want to fight anyone else. This one pisses me off.”
Earlier this month, Du Plessis knocked out former champion Robert Whittaker to earn the number one contender spot for Adesanya’s title. It was an impressive and dominant performance — from an underdog, no less. Hopefully, later this year we’ll have our All-Africa showdown (or half-Africa showdown, depending on whom you’re talking to). Before Du Plessis’ post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, however, he gave a shout out to his native South Africa, and then Adesanya entered the Octagon to spoil the party. The fighters quickly got nose-to-nose, and that’s when Adesanya started dropping N-bombs.
“This is my African brother right here!” he said. “Let’s go, nigga! Yeah, nigga! What the fuck you gonna do, nigga!” After more racial taunting, Du Plessis called Adesanya out for his hypocrisy by asking, “So what do you say to everybody in New Zealand?”
Adesanya’s response was quite telling:
I don’t need a DNA test. I don’t need a 36 and Me to know where I’m from. If I do a 26 and Me, they’ll say I’m from Nigeria. Do a 26 and Me DNA test, it’ll tell you where you’re from. I will show you where you’re from!
There are several takeaways from all this. First, if numbers aren’t his thing, Adesanya should probably ditch 23 and Me for Ancestry.com. It’ll be easier for him to remember.
Secondly, it’s unlikely that this is merely smack-talk theater intended to hype the fight. Yes, Muhammad Ali — or perhaps promoter Don King — once tried to convince his white challenger, Chuck Wepner, to call him a nigger during the buildup to their 1975 fight (Ali himself hints at this early in this talk show interview). While such a tack is not inconceivable, Adesanya has made the affair so ugly on more than one occasion that I cannot detect a promoter’s hand behind all this. The champ’s behavior seems more likely to repel than to attract. Whenever UFC heels such as Chael Sonnen or Colby Covington ran their mouths, there was always a World Wrestling Entertainment quality to their ramblings. It was obnoxiously entertaining, of course, but not too caustic, given that each studiously avoided touchy subjects such as race and religion. Not so with Adesanya, obviously.
Third, it needs to be stated why Adesanya reacted the way he did. In his own words, he’s accusing Du Plessis of telling him who he is — or really, who he isn’t. According to Du Plessis, Israel Adesanya is not African because he does not live in Africa. According to Adesanya, he is African because he is black. But why is this offensive? I’m a European by heritage and American by citizenship. People living in Europe today, white or non-white, can claim they are more European than I am, and it wouldn’t matter to me at all. Why? Because I don’t have a chip on my shoulder. Adesanya does because such continent-shaming — from a white person, no less — reminds him of the manifest inferiority of black to white. And this annoys him.
Blacks leave Africa because black people en masse cannot run their own nations very well. This goes back to race realism — IQ and temperament, mostly — and how such phenotypic deficiencies lead to the breakdown of democracy, as researcher Tatu Vanhanen demonstrated. Black African nations tend to be violent and corrupt because a critical mass of the people living in them are violent and corrupt. Poverty and chaos then ensue.
Israel Adesanya’s parents had good reason to settle in New Zealand when he was a boy. Africa, especially the sub-Saharan part of it, is a bad place compared to most of the rest of the world. Blacks with any kind of aptitude would be wise to escape it. But to do so would in effect be to renounce one’s own racial identity. Immigrants of all stripes struggle with this dilemma, but blacks suffer the most, since the difference between their start and end points is the starkest.
An honest take from Adesanya would go something like this: “Yeah, Dricus Du Plessis is more African than I am. If he loves Africa so much, he can have it. We left that place because it sucks compared to where we ended up. Mad love and respect to New Zealand. I’m a Kiwi.” This may be the truth, but how could Adesanya say it and maintain his self-respect — which is, naturally, tied up with his tribal self-respect?
He can’t. No one can.
Fourth, the glaring pro-black double standard should be intolerable for any self-respecting white. It’s one thing to ironically call Du Plessis a nigger, as Adesanya did. Such a non-insult is tasteless and hypocritical, but hardly offensive. It’s something else entirely to call him a cracker. This racial slur cuts deep. It’s something you can’t easily walk back. In a just world, the UFC would have stripped Adesanya of his title, forced him to apologize, and fined him a hefty sum for his deliberate racial insensitivity. This is what would have happened had a white UFC fighter started dropping N-bombs. So why does the black Adesanya get a pass?
At the UFC 290 post-fight press conference, UFC President Dana White told us why:
He’s black. Who gives a shit? . . . . I could care less. This is the fight business. Israel Adesanya can say whatever he wants to say.
Well, I guess that settles it, then. Israel Adesanya can be as racist as he wants to be. In the UFC, white fighters clearly belong in a lower class than black fighters. We apparently have a caste system. Of course, Dana White is a fight promoter, not a white advocate or free-speech culture warrior. He would be remiss in his job if he were to get his panties in a bunch over this, regardless of how he personally feels about it. When you occupy a high-profile position of influence as White does, you act on behalf of an organization much greater than yourself. The UFC is currently worth around $9 billion. Any false move from him could result in a significant reduction in the company’s value, lost revenue, reduced fighter purses, and layoffs of staff, which would then give a leg up to competing organizations such as One and Bellator. Why stir up a hornet’s nest if you don’t have to?
Be that as it may, I call for all white mixed martial arts fans to boycott the UFC over this — or at least any events involving Israel Adesanya. Why not? Adesanya once gave an eloquent and believable apology for insensitive comments he made about the 9/11 attacks. Why can’t he be made to do so again? And if he doesn’t, then white people will have just as much right to dump racial abuse on him as he did on Dricus Du Plessis. Fair’s fair, right?
My last take on this zooms out to the great paradox of our age. What follows is not a perfect analogy, but it will do. Despite not being anti-white, the mainstream Right these days renounces race realism and professes patriotism to a pluralistic, racially colorblind society. This is Dricus Du Plessis. Today’s mainstream Left, however, seethes with racial identity, is openly anti-white, and professes allegiance to Third World nations in which they don’t have to live. This is Israel Adesanya.
What frustrates me about this beef also frustrates me about today’s politics. People on the Right are not enemies, but they are wrong to deny racial identity. People on the Left are enemies, but they are right to affirm racial identity. Part of me wants to take Du Plessis’ side in this row. But what is he doing by giving shout-outs to a country that oppresses whites? What is he doing bragging about living in the poorest, most violent continent in the world? There are three murders every hour in South Africa, with many whites living in constant fear. South Africa is rife with stories of anti-white farm murders and tortures, and yet the black-led government refuses to classify farm attacks as a priority crime. One year ago, South Africa underwent a three-month period in which 7,000 people were murdered. For 2022, the Corruption Perception Index gave South Africa a dismal score of 43 out of 100, which makes it tied for the 72nd-least corrupt country in the world (New Zealand received an 87 and is currently tied for second place). South Africa is constantly suffering from water and power shortages while its black government is plotting ways it can seize white-owned land without compensation.
This is the country Dricus Du Plessis wants to praise? Yes, I am sympathetic to Du Plessis during this beef. But when Adesanya asks if he is dumb, he may not be coming completely out of left field. Furthermore, I have to give Adesanya credit for drilling down so quickly to race — as he should have — when Du Plessis questioned his authenticity as an African. I wish all white people had Adesanya’s moxie when it comes to sticking up for their own. He’s an enemy, sure, but I can still admire certain things about him.
And as for Dricus Du Plessis, he’s my guy, and I will be rooting for him when he fights Adesanya for the middleweight title. But it will be about as much fun as voting for Donald Trump.
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