UFC’s Ramsey Nijem A Proud Palestinian, Fights For War Torn Country In Sac-Town
“It’s frustrating watching the news here in the U.S., it really is so misrepresentative of the whole situation … I get these Israelis, they want a place to live and I’m not racist at all, I have a lot of Jewish friends that I grew up with, and one of my best friends is Jewish and he came to my fight in Abu Dhabi. I wish that was something I could get across to people — it’s not a race war.
“Zionism is a political movement that needs to stop. Hamas is a political movement that needs to stop. Both sides, no matter what, we’re going to have to deal with it. At the end of the day the Palestinians are there, they aren’t going away, no matter what you say, what you do, they’re going to be there. We’ve got to move forward. We’ve got to empower the people.”
“I have family in West Bank and Gaza that have never even been able to see each other. What else are they going to do but join a radical group like Hamas and fight back?” he says. “That’s kind of a situation where it’s like, ‘I can sit here jobless, penniless, hungry, or I can join this movement and fight back for my rights.’
“I think the important thing would be educate people and give them something to fight for and I think that’s kind of where I can step in — as a Palestinian athlete to show that we’re capable of doing more things. Doesn’t matter where you’re from, you can do great things and dream bigger and we can do great things in this world. It’s really hard when you’re in an occupation and all you can do is fight back. What else would you expect these kids to do?”
“I have been damned a little bit for having that voice. I don’t know if you’ve seen, but I’ve sent out tweets that say ‘Free Palestine’ and I’ve sent out pictures of me and my brother protesting and I’ve had a lot of negative feedback from people in the United States that have no f–king idea what they’re talking about, and it’s really kind of disgusting that people are bringing their opinion without doing any kind of research.
“An opinion is like an a–hole; everyone has one and they all stink, right? I just wish people would take more time to research and talk to people. The people in these situations on the Jewish side and the Palestinian side are human beings just like me and you. All they want to do is take care of their families, live, eat and be happy. But all you ever learn about are these extremists.
“It’s very frustrating because as Americans we’re taught at a very young age to feel sympathy for the Israeli people, from a young age that’s the American way — ‘Oh the poor Jews, poor this, poor that,’ and we’re taught to feel sorry for them, but when you look back and it’s like when Apartheid came back and people were fighting that. You know why? Because people are scared of change. People are scared of something changing and in all reality of another group of people being empowered.
“That’s why a lot of Americans side with Israel, because if they can keep those people down, it’s ‘Oh poor Israel, they’re getting two bombs thrown at them, some homemade rockets, so yeah those dirty Palestinians deserve to have their houses blown up and the children killed.'”
“This fight in August in Sacramento is important. I’m going to walk out with my Palestinian flag, I’m going to show the world. How can I lose? I have so much purpose to my fight. I have to go out and I have to put on a great performance. This is how I can affect the world and make it a better place. Most people want to fight because they want to be famous or they want to make money, or they fight because they don’t know any other way. I have a college degree; I could make a lot more money doing other things. … I don’t really care about being famous.
UFC lightweight Ramsey Nijem, explains his passion for his heritage to FOX Sports ahead of his upcoming bout in Sacramento.