Bellator middleweight contender Austin Vanderford explained why he and his wife Paige VanZant leave politics out of their MMA careers.
Vanderford picked up his 10th pro victory on Thursday night at Bellator 251 when he won a unanimous decision over short-notice opponent Vinicius De Jesus. The 30-year-old American signed with Bellator in 2019 following a stint on Dana White’s Contender Series that saw the UFC pass on signing him. Since joining Bellator, Vanderford is 4-0 and looking every bit like a future title contender in the promotion’s middleweight division.
While Vanderford and his wife VanZant are always present on social media, both of them have mostly kept their opinions to themselves regarding the 2020 United States Presidential Election. Considering both of their presences on social media, you’d expect them to post about it like most other celebrities are. But according to Vanderford, while he has his opinions, he doesn’t feel like he has the expertise to discuss them publicly.
Speaking to the media following Bellator 251, Vanderford explained why he and VanZant decided to leave the politics out of their MMA careers and focus on the fighting instead.
“We’re both not really political people. I’ve got my own opinions on things and whatnot, but it’s for us. I’m going to be honest — I’m a fighter, man. I’m intelligent, but I’m not like the most intelligent guy. I do have a college degree and whatnot,” Vanderford said.
“For me, I don’t think it’s right to really voice much because I don’t have a lot of education on it. Some people might say that’s silly and that I should care more, but I’m a fighter and I care about fighting. Of course, I care about the U.S. and the world. My father was in the military, my grandfathers. I have so much respect for the military and what they do and whatnot, you know, and that’s kinda where I’m at.”
There are many MMA fighters who are extremely engaged with politics on social media, but Vanderford and VanZant are not among them. As Vanderford said, he has his reasons to keep politics out of his fighting career. Some might agree with that and some might not, but you have to respect his reasoning. And by keeping the politics out of it, Vanderford and VanZant provide a little less ammunition for their critics, as well.
Do you prefer fighters voice their opinions over politics or like Austin Vanderford keep them to themselves?