According to Bellator fighter Michael Page, being a black fighter is less lucrative than being white.
“I genuinely feel if I was a white fighter with the same talents, I would have more support and money,” Page said in an interview with Metro.
Page says he hasn’t experienced racism from fans or fight promoters, but he believes white athletes are more valued than their black counterparts.
“As an English fighter, it’s hard for me to get any promotion,” he said. “As a black English fighter it’s even harder. Culture is part of politics and politics is part of sport.”
Page is an English fighter who has 14 wins to his name. He only has 1 loss; a brutal KO delivered by Douglas Lima in his last fight at Bellator 221. He is one of the most popular fighters on the Bellator roster so his comments may come as a surprise to fans.
“There’d be more people and companies willing to invest in me if I wasn’t black. But again, I don’t see that as racist. Money talks and backing the white guy is more lucrative than the black fighter.”
Page claims that MMA is similar to other sports such as football, where fighters like Raheem Sterling face discrimination based on their race. He believes this is not a top priority for sports organizations.
“You only need to listen to the likes of Paul Pogba, Raheem Sterling and Romelu Lukaku talk and know football isn’t doing enough to tackle racism,” he said. “For the football federation and the FA, it doesn’t affect them. None of them are black, they’ll just wait for it to blow over. It’s at the bottom of the list. We have to make it important for everybody, not just those affected.”
What do you think of these comments from Michael Page?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/13/2019.