Of late, Mixed Martial Artists have found themselves under extreme scrutiny for some of their public statements. The UFC has grown leaps in bounds in the past twenty years, becoming a household name with a television deal on Fox Sports. To say that the UFC came up hard would be an understatement. Over the years they have faced opposition from the government, from local sanctioning bodies and anyone and everyone who likes to talk about “decency.” Over the past few months, though, problems have been coming from within, in a bit of an odd form. Rape jokes.
For some reason rape jokes have become the gold standard for distasteful jokes made by UFC fighters. Forrest Griffin began the trend on his twitter account through a series of rape jokes that span months, only one of which really raised the ire of the media enough to report on it and make a big deal about it. Forrest Griffin, the winner of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter has a rather good relationship with UFC head Dana White and the issue was quickly swept under a rung in a coordinated PR move of Forrest doing a photo-op at a rape clinic, discussing how terrible rape is.
Forrest made a mistake, and a pretty weighty one that irked a lot of people. There was no punishment handed down, though, as Dana White was quick to defend the fighter’s actions by saying that he meant nothing by it and quickly made amends for his distasteful joke. The irony, of course, is that Forrest won a “Twitter Bonus” from the UFC for his “creative use” of Twitter.
This week things heated up again, as Rashad Evans at a UFC on Fox press conference made a joke about rape and PSU. If you have been out of the loop, a sex scandal has rocked Penn State recently after a few key players were found to be involved with or had knowledge of child molestation and rape. Rashad, another former winner of The Ultimate Fighter, has apparently been reprimanded by UFC boss Dana White, but not in any official or public manner. White has only gone as far as to call it “stupid.”