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Right after his phenomenal and winning fight effort Saturday afternoon, UFC welterweight contender Colby Covington ran over to wall of the Octagon, pointed and shouted out to his fans and friends. Ecstatic Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump celebrated with him and hollered back at the fighter from near the front row at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Covington, who has visited the White House as a guest of Donald Trump, would later speak with the U.S. President on the telephone backstage. Donning his red Trump campaign cap with the racist slogan “Make America Great Again,” Covington smiled and received congratulations from the president.
Covington had previously thanked Donald Trump for his support on Twitter, repeating the president’s other clarion call, “America first,” a slogan used by the Ku Klux Klan - the terrorist white supremacist organization who endorsed Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Covington would say in his first post-fight interview that having the Trumps supporting him cageside was inspiring.
In nearby Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump Sr. — who as a candidate kicked off his campaign claiming that most Mexican immigrants are rapists and criminals, and who as president is operating concentration camps for Latino asylum seekers — enjoyed time at his golf resort. Thousands of miles away in one of America’s brownest and also safest big cities, El Paso, Texas, an alleged white supremacist who reportedly complained of the same fictitious Latino invasion that Trump routinely speaks of at rallies and in campaign ads murdered 20 people.
That figure of lost souls is just three shy of El Paso’s total murder count for the entire previous year. That night and into early Sunday morning, another massacre committed by another gunman in Dayton, Ohio, took nine lives, six of them black.
A few hours earlier, Covington would verbally spar with and insult a fellow UFC star, welterweight champ Kamaru Usman, who originates from one of those African "shithole countries" President Trump has reportedly spoken of. Later Sunday, President Trump would play more golf in New Jersey and not speak about the two mass killings until shortly before boarding his plane late Sunday afternoon to fly back to Washington D.C..
MMA media would jump on Twitter and talk about how much Covington “deserves” a title-shot against Usman, next, and lament the supposed inevitability of how the lead-up trash talk between the two would be ugly. It’s unfortunate, but this is just how it is, fight fans were told.
There is nothing in sport, no issue, no cause or cancer, that isn’t also seen in society at large. Conversely, there are no larger societal ills that we don’t see on a smaller scale represented in sport.
As you head into this week, don’t let the lazy pundits fool you. None of this is inevitable. None of the violence, nor the rhetoric, nor the racism that fuels it all is inevitable. It’s a choice we make as a society.
None of this, not the ugliness of Covington’s classless words, post-fight in New Jersey, none of the hate speech that we regularly see coming from Washington D.C., not the murders in El Paso or Dayton, is inevitable. No ugly rhetoric seen and heard in the streets or from the Oval Office, or by the President’s supporters in the UFC is inevitable.
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