Why I Am Against the UFC’s Affirmative Action Program…

In the workplace we have Affirmative Action programs that ensure that minorities have opportunities for jobs.  It is required that businesses have a certain number of minority employees.  Perhaps there was a time and still is a place for that in the workplace.  On the other hand, maybe there are times when a more qualified person does not get a job because that position needs to be fulfilled by someone of a different race or ethnicity.  Ok, well my point has nothing to do with the legitimacy or affirmative action in America, but rather to talk about UFC’s Affirmative Action.  No, the technically do not have an in-house policy regarding employees of differing races or nationalities.  However, they do have in mind a certain amount of fighters from different countries.

When asked about the reasoning for not signing fighters like blue chip prospects Gleristone Santos, Thomas de Ameida or Leandro Higo, the answer is “we do not have roster space open for Brazilian bantamweights.”  Now, they might have room for Canadian, English, Japanese or some other nationality.  So, in other words, the UFC has in mind (or on paper) a select number of fighters they can have on roster from different countries.  I get it.  I understand signing fighters from different countries when they enter a new market.  Some complained about UFC signing a guy like Royston Wee for the Singapore card.  Is he UFC level?  Probably not.  However, they signed him because he made sense for that region.  I don’t have a problem with that.  What I do have a problem with is not signing a quality fighter because you already have enough of his nationality on roster.  If the guy is good enough to fight for you, he is good enough whether he is Brazilian, Filipino, Arab, or American.  Based on my understanding, before UFC would sign Almeida or Santos they would need to cut a Brazilian from their roster or have a late replacement on a Brazilian card.

There are numerous guys that are deserving of a UFC offer, but aren’t getting them because the UFC already has enough Brazilians.  Perhaps they do have a bloated roster that has become bloated in large part due to late replacement signings.  If they don’t have roster space, they don’t have roster space.  Period.  However, my understanding that the problem with signing guys like Almeida (and others) is not that UFC does not have available roster space, it is that they do not have available roster space for Brazilians.  Maybe they have reached their cap with English or German fighter too.  I wonder what their cap is for American fighters?

Should UFC look at nationality when signing guys?  Absolutely.  It makes sense to find stars from varying regions.  It makes sense to have fighters from all over the world.  the reality is a fighter from a country UFC is working hard to get into has a much better chance of getting signed than an American (or any other country) with equal talent and experience.  When I look at my prospect list, I realize that foreign fighters have to do less to get UFC offers than domestic fighters.  So, I do not think UFC has a prejudice towards any fighter whatsoever.  I am just saying that capping Brazilian, American or any other nationality on your roster is a bad move.  I am saying sign the best guys regardless of where they come from or how many you have on your roster currently.  Do they have loads of Brazilian talent already?  For sure.  However, when a good fighter is available they should be signed, regardless of where they call home.

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