Getting Better In Pro Sports, Ctd


While the NFL struggles with homophobia among players and coaches, the UFC is making surprising strides:

[Ultimate Fighting Championship] President Dana White, trumpeted as a kind of mad-genius sports executive for his mix of social-media savvy, marketing, and unapologetic quest for world sports domination … [has] been making very public strides to fight an image of homophobia, transforming a negative conversation about attitudes toward gay people in general into something of an open dialogue about gay fighters in the cage. In late 2011, White urged any gay fighter in the UFC to come out of the closet: “I’ll tell you right now, if there was a gay fighter in UFC, I wish he would come out,” White said a press conference. “I could care less if there’s a gay fighter in the UFC. There probably is and there’s probably more than one.”

And the league just put its first open lesbian in the cage:

At the end of 2012, the organization started its first women’s division at 135 pounds. The very first women’s title fight was between inaugural champion Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche, a former Marine who also happens to be openly gay. The fight happened on February 23, and while Carmouche ended up losing, it remained a significant moment for her and for the sport, which has grown at an even faster clip since its national TV deal with Fox began last year. It was the first time a women [sic] fought in the UFC, and the first time an openly gay fighter of either gender has fought in the UFC — not that White thinks she’ll be the last. Asked after the Rousey-Carmouche fight whether he could see a straight male fighter potentially refusing to fight a gay male fighter, White shot down the idea and promised retribution if a fighter were to ever utter outwardly homophobic biases again. “Most of the guys that are in this sport are really good people,” he replied. “I honestly don’t see a situation where that would happen, but if it did, I’d fix it.”

Earlier Dish on the progress in pro sports here and here.