Neo-Nazi imagery has made its way onto an MMA company's t-shirt again. Silver Star, the company who sponsors Anderson Silva, Clay Guida, Jon Jones and boxer Manny Pacquaio, produced a shirt with the totenkopf, a skull associated with Nazis and the neo-Nazi movement. Guida wore the shirt in a recent interview, but said that the company was not inspired by Nazis.
Silver Star has quickly apologized and said the shirt was discontinued a year ago. They said they didn't realize the association between the design and the Nazis. I'll buy that, simply because the swastika is the symbol most often associated with the Nazi party. After that, unless you're addicted to the History Channel, it's not always easy to associate every symbol. I am addicted to the History Channel, and still didn't catch the symbol on Guida's shirt when watching that interview.
This isn't the first time that Nazi imagery has made its way onto MMA clothing, as Hoelzer Reich sold several shirts with Nazi symbols before being banned from the WEC and UFC. The difference between this issue and the Hoelzer Reich situation is that this is one shirt, and Silver Star didn't try to defend the use of the imagery, as HR did.
There is a simple solution to making sure that Nazi imagery doesn't pop up again on MMA clothes. MMA apparel companies need to come up with fresh designs. Here at Cagewriter, we've railed against the skull-angel-gargoyle combo that seems to show up on every third MMA shirt.
There are plenty of companies that do it right. The reason why people went so crazy about Tri-Coasta's Korean Zombie shirt it because it was a new and different look. Thugh it's banned in the UFC, Clinch Gear is popular because their designs are classic. Do you think we'll ever hear about a Totenkopf accidentally making it onto a Clinch or Tri-Coasta shirt?
Update: Cagewriter spoke to Clay Guida's manager, and he said that Guida was not aware of the fact the shirt he wore had any Nazi-related imagery. He pointed out that Silver Star's founder Luke Burritt is a Jewish American and denounces Nazism, as does Clay. The shirt is discontinued and has been pulled from retailers. Clay is adamant about not supporting any negative imagery.