By Dave Madden @DMaddenMMA
Chris Weidman (13-0-0), UFC’s middleweight champion, is unique as he is dominant, but some try to argue his game outside the cage isn’t top-billing entertainment, though this shouldn’t sway judgment of his pound-for-pound toughness. The performances inside the UFC’s Octagon is where Weidman’s talking is done: smearing his and/or his opponent’s blood all over the canvas, or leaving every shade of blue bruising in splotches on each others’ bodies; all done under the white, bright lights of the UFC banner. Weidman’s heritage, drama-free living, and ability to celebrate successes blend three seemingly basic colors seamlessly into a nation’s symbol of hope: red, white, and blue.
When it’s fight-time for Weidman, the lights momentarily shut down, only to regenerate with music breathing life into the champion’s entrance. All the way to the point of final preparations, Weidman wraps himself in the American dream, the symbol of the United States of America: the American flag. With a determined stare developed from his growing up in Baldwin, New York and a walkout song blaring the ideals of American fortitude, UFC onlookers have dubbed him as “All-American”, though that is still unbeknownst to Bruce Buffer.
Hit play on Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”, close your eyes, dream big, and walkout with Weidman:
The colors of the flag and Weidman’s understanding to represent himself, his family, and the UFC as a dignified champion, at least to this point, are synonymous. Red: the blood or courage that transpired; White: the purity held in remaining true to your beliefs; Blue: the vigilance and justice regarded in battle.
Refuse to lose, always push forward, never back down, keep hope alive-keep hope alive: all precepts to chasing any of life’s passions. Attaining the championship title was Weidman’s dream, and he would ascertain that you can achieve your dreams, too. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Weidman discussed an age-old saying: bite down on your mouthpiece; in other words, where there’s a will, there’s a way. There are a number of folks who are under the impression that the American way is about entitlements, occupying everything, but Weidman enlightened these individuals by admitting the ingredients to his special recipe for success,
“Everything. I think just my potential and how much hard work I put in. When you put in the work I put in, you can’t afford to believe you can lose. None of these guys are beating me.”
Weidman’s prominence as an American figurehead is invaluable in modeling what can be attained with some good-old American know-how and grit. Aside from the Olympic games, Weidman is one of few American athletes in sports, not just combat sports, who flies his patronage during competition. Other countries’ fans proudly bolster their homeland’s colors and cheer their athletes through thick and thin. During UFC 148’s post-fight press conference, Chael Sonnen expressed that more American fans should mimic such pride in country. If more American athletes represented the U.S.A like Weidman, fans may fall into the prideful fold. Sonnen said,
“The Brazilian fans have it down right. They back their guy. North America is the only country in the world that we don’t do that, and that’s fine, but I really admire the Brazilian fans, including when I’m getting booed on the way in. I should be getting booed when I’m taking on their guy.”
I’d be willing to bet a lot, if not all, the tea in Asia that the “American Gangster”, Chael Sonnen staunchly defends, cheers, and praises the “All-American” wholesomeness that oozes off of Weidman. Tried and true-red, white, and blue.
A Neutral Stance
Apparently, the actual fight, the reason we glue our eyes to the screen and hold tight, isn’t enough for fans; we like sparring words, creatively placed insults on social media, and picks and pokes that rile our senses to the looming, upcoming scrap.
Fighters like McGregor and Nurmagomedov snatch up swarms of attention because many fans also find considerable entertainment in the trash-talk-to each their own.
The buzz of chatter being as important as the locking of horns behind the lock of a cage is not just an MMA thing, or fight thing; it’s a societal thing. We prefer strife, not contentment. Even the U.S.’s two largest political parties are a division of blue Democrats and red Republicans. If Weidman ran for office he’d reside in the Legislature as an Independent, happy to not get involved in aimless debate, waving a white flag. Surrendering to unnecessary drama is disliked and undervalued than those who attack with a Real Housewives of (insert here) dramatics.
In an article published by Bleacher Report (2013), an interaction with Weidman prior to his owning of the middleweight belt suggested that his lack of vocalization and proving how loud he can bark to the world, may prevent him from moving up the ranks. At the time, Weidman agreed to an extent,
“I don’t like being too vocal. I’m in this sport to be a champion and be humble. I’m not here to just make money and to get people to know me by starting drama. I do understand it is an entertainment business so you do have to speak up a little bit.”
Sure, Weidman is no Conor McGregor or Nurmagomedov in regards to flapping his lips, but Weidman doesn’t shy away from inputting his opinion where he finds a fit for it. At the UFC 187 weigh-ins, Weidman was red-hot with anger because he was given information that led him to believe Vitor Belfort, the most recent challenger to the belt, knew he was going to leave Las Vegas blue with sadness after a loss, so Belfort attempted to cheat, testing with elevated levels of testosterone. Weidman wasn’t just blackout angry, it was a blizzard-like whiteout storm of rage. Watch Weidman’s vivid outburst at the weigh-ins for yourself.
America isn’t a hierarchy, though if it were, Weidman would be King of Middleweight, and he’d speak up for the will of the people when it was necessary, defending honor and bestowing nobility. Until then, Weidman is as cool as a sundae topped with strawberries, blueberries, and fluffy whipped cream.
Leading up to camp, Wediman lives a clean lifestyle, focused with no extracurriculars. After he wins, the guy sure knows how to let his hair down. After knocking out Anderson Silva, the greatest pound-for-pound fighter at the time, at UFC 162 and claiming the belt, he celebrated with championship pedigree. Hollywood Life reported,
“Chris brought his pals, which included NBA stars Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem. TMZ is reporting that he also brought along his championship belt, and we don’t blame him! There was a lot of alcohol, dancing and pretty girls everywhere.”
The pictures and captions clarify that Weidman is partying the night away with Vodka, a clear drink, which could lead to coloring outside the lines. The next after-party following a title defense should include a bartender who can keep the drinks flowing in colors that are most suitable to Weidman’s glass: a Shadowboxer (red), The Obituary (white), and Gun Metal (blue).
Reaching into a box of Crayola Crayons, Chris Weidman is certainly best matched as red, white, and blue. Maybe Weidman signifies a different color to you, but being the UFC’s top middleweight makes him one you don’t want to miss when he designs a beautiful display of mixed martial arts using a rainbow of color!
Bukowski, Peter. Sports Illustrated. 2015. Source:
Martins, Damon. Bleacher Report. 2013. Source:
TMZ Staff. TMZ Sports. 2014. Source: