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May 30, 2023

After Molina’s statement, UFC has another opportunity to address bigotry

With the focus of the MMA world turning from UFC 286, now would be a good time for the UFC to address the image they want to portray and the bigoted portion of its fan base.

UFC fighter Jeff Molina publicly came out as bi last week after he was outed online. Molina received an outpouring of support on his social media post addressing the circumstances of his coming out. Unfortunately, the flyweight fighter, who is on a 10-fight winning streak — three with the UFC — also received a deluge of hateful comments.

With Molina being a UFC fighter, the promotion has the opportunity to address a long-standing issue that raises its head too often among MMA fans, and that is the harassment and abuse that a far too large number of those fans are comfortable spewing.

The UFC has taken steps to align itself with the LGBTQIA+ community through its “We Are All Fighters” tee shirts and fight kits. However, the promotion has often let its fighters slide without repercussions for their free use of anti-queer slurs outside of UFC president Dana White calling the language “a problem” and “something we need to focus on.”

Nearly six years have passed since White said those words. If he and the UFC want to address the issue, why not now? Especially since White threw his support behind the idea of a male UFC fighter coming out as far back as 2011.

If the UFC is looking for a blueprint to follow, the U.S. Soccer team addressed the issue (along with racism, which the UFC could also stand to speak up on) in 2021, telling fans who made “racist, homophobic, vulgar or disrespectful comments while hiding behind the anonymity of social media, you are not a true fan and you are not welcome. Ever.”

There is no room for racist, homophobic, vulgar or disrespectful comments while hiding behind the anonymity of a social media. You are not a true fan and you are not welcome. EVER.

We stand with our players. pic.twitter.com/HxRiXeZjaO

— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) June 9, 2021

Another example for the UFC would be to look at what the San Jose Sharks organization did during a recent game, using its social media feed to “offer information and facts about LGBTQIA+ topics” instead of its normal in-game content.

The UFC has an opportunity here to take advantage of the moment and turn the negativity of Molina being outed against his will into a positive. However, this isn’t the first time they’ve had this opportunity (and whiffed at it)…

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