This is just a quick note on some animal-friendliness at Saturday night’s UFC event. First, Matt Wiman, who lost a close & controversial decision to Dennis Siver, had the Meet Your Meat and Food Inc websites on his shorts. Second, I learned from the broadcast that middleweight Aaron Simpson has now gone vegan. (He went vegetarian several fights ago, after reading Eating Animals.) Simpson won every round of his fight with Brad Tavares on Saturday.
It’s not news that there are vegans and vegetarians at the top levels of mixed martial arts & other sports–and I don’t know much about Wiman’s diet–but this stands out to me as clashing with even more false stereotypes than usual. Aside from the stereotype of vegans and vegetarians as anemic, limp-wristed weaklings (which should be quite thoroughly shattered by now), it’s interesting to see Wiman and Simpson taking an ethical stand on animal agriculture. It’s one thing to fight the misconception that you need to eat meat to be strong, but it’s even better to fight the misconception that it’s somehow unmanly to care about how animals are treated, or that only the overly sentimental are concerned with cruelty.
Here we have two people who make a career out of punching other people in the face, yet who find our treatment of farmed animals unconscionable. And they’re not alone, either. Mac Danzig is probably the fighter most famous for being vegan, and he’s another ethical vegan–it was his experience on a sanctuary that persuaded him to go vegan.
(From another angle, this also contrasts with the stereotype of professional fighters as boneheaded thugs. In fact, as professional athletes go, fighters tend to be highly educated & often quite thoughtful people.)