A lot of people like to complain about Dana White for being so brash all of the time. These people like to point to the fact that Dana tends to run the UFC more like a dictator than a friendly, voice of the common MMA fan. There may be something to some of these complaints, as things such as Sonnen-Jones and Diaz-GSP prove that White has occasionally been willing to put making money ahead of the “integrity of the sport” or some similar nebulous concept.
That all being said, no one can argue with the awesomeness of Dana finally caving and allowing bantamweight Erik Perez to wear a traditional luchador wrestling mask on his walk to the octagon at tomorrow night’s UFC 155. As he told MMA Junkie:
“Those masks, Mexican wrestlers used to wear them, but it’s a warrior thing, and they explained it to me. I can live with that. If it makes sense to me – and you’re just not acting like an idiot trying to come up with a different spiel every time you walk, and that’s your thing – I’m cool with that.”
So there, take that Dana-haters. Consider this an example where White is putting aside his personal feelings to allow a fighter to do something that has personal meaning and, quite frankly, is pretty darn cool. I’m not ashamed to admit how much I used to enjoy Rey Mysterio and the other luchadors on WCW Monday Nitro, and I remember Mike Tenay babbling about how important the mask was to the Mexican competitors. It is considered a symbol of pride, so much so that losing one’s mask is considered one of the most shameful things that could happen to a Mexican wrestler. Therefore, you can see why the Mexican-born Perez would want to wear a mask to pay homage to this tradition and spirit.
Then again, a White-cynic may be quick to point out that Dana is only allowing Perez to wear the luchador mask tomorrow to appease potential Mexican fans. Such a a poo-pooer would probably point out the fact that Cain Velasquez is on the card, and we all know how the UFC hype train has tried to latch itself to Cain in an effort to appeal to fans south of the border. You would have to think that a native-born Mexican would be able to make a similar, if not greater impact in Mexico than the American-born Velasquez.
But I am not such a cynical person. And, frankly, I don’t really care why Dana has given in and allowed Perez to wear the mask to the octagon. All I care about is the fact that it should be an awesome sight that I hope we get to see on FX.
Viva la raza!