UFC featherweight contender Bryce Mitchell doesn’t care what you think of his recent rants about political issues.
Mitchell is set to face Edson Barboza on the UFC 272 main card this weekend. He’s looking forward to a triumphant return to the Octagon after nearly two years away from MMA action.
Mitchell has been in hot water in recent weeks following his viral interview with MMA journalist Ariel Helwani. Instead of it being a routine pre-fight interview, Mitchell used his time to criticize the U.S. Government and COVID-19 vaccines, among other issues.
Athletes speaking out on political issues has become more common during the current social climate. Mitchell isn’t alone in making his views readily available to the public. For instance, NBA superstar LeBron James began speaking out on issues regarding race and social justice just a few years back.
During his recent UFC 272 pre-fight press conference, Mitchell hit back at critics of his political views and him speaking out on civic issues.
“For me to be able to talk about something greater than fighting is more purposeful than anything I can talk about related to fighting,” Mitchell said. “And so I’m grateful to be able to do that. And a lot of people say, ‘Shut up and fight.’ Well, you know what? If you don’t want to hear that shit, turn off the TV and watch the fight. You don’t have to watch my interviews. Turn them off then.
“Instead of telling me to shut up, why don’t you just stop listening? Because there’s a lot of people that agree with what I’m saying about some of my political views, and I’m happy to talk about ’em and debate about ’em.”
James, like Mitchell, has been a target of some who feel athletes shouldn’t share their political and societal views on current issues. This comes after Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham scolded James to “shut up and dribble” back in 2018.
Mitchell has emerged as a polarizing figure in MMA and is allegedly not alone in his controversial views. Regardless, he’ll look to silence the critics and earn a big win over Barboza.
What are your opinions on Bryce Mitchell as a person and a fighter?