MANILA, Philippines – After a mild controversy ensued following Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Yoel Romero’s lost-in-translation post-fight proclamation of faith, UFC boss Dana White is saying the cage isn’t the appropriate venue to discuss God.
The Cuban-born fighter Romero had just beaten Lyoto Machida at UFC Fight Night 70 on Sunday, June 28 Manila time when he addressed the fans at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. in his second language of English.
“What happened to you, USA? Wake up, USA! Go! Go back for you, go! Go for Jesus. No forget Jesus, people,” Romero said.
Some thought initially that he had said “No for gay Jesus” instead just days after the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
White, speaking with MMA Fighting, thinks fighters shouldn’t talk about God.
“You just won the biggest fight of your career, America doesn’t want to hear your thoughts on Jesus. Keep that stuff at home; religion, politics, all that stuff. When you’re out there fighting and you’re being interviewed, they want to hear about the fight,” White said.
“It’s awesome you love Jesus; love Jesus all you want. You just don’t have to do it publicly.”
It’s a common practice for fighters to thank God after a fight, given the danger that accompanies all forms of combat sports. Boxers like Manny Pacquiao and Evander Holyfield routinely discussed their Christianity at length after fights, while Christian Post points out that UFC fighters Benson Henderson, Diego Sanchez and Chris Weidman have thanked God after fights.
Dana White revealed that he was an Atheist in a 2008 interview with Playboy, saying “I don’t believe in God, the devil, ghosts or any of that s—. But I’m still fascinated by religion — how violent and crazy it is. That stuff sticks with you.”
It’s unclear if White’s ‘keep that stuff at home’ policy is his own opinion or if it will be made into a company rule.
“Talk about your fight,” said White. “People don’t want to be preached to.”