While Julia Budd has been prepping for her Bellator 244 matchup against Jessy Miele, the former featherweight champion has been battling a bigger fight outside the cage.
“I think that us as Canadians, sometimes we look across the border, and we think (racism) is an American problem, and we’re not aware of what goes on here in our hometowns,” Budd told MMANews. “A couple of things that happened to my family like (my teammate) Lance (Gibson) Jr’s black, my husband’s (Lance Gibson’s) black. Things that happened leading up to that George Floyd murder … got me really enraged.”
Budd (13-3) wanted to use her platform in a positive way and organized a march in her hometown advocating for equal rights. “The Jewel” was encouraged with the response.
“I put out a post to my community and we ended up having a march of like 2500-3000 people show up in Sechelt (British Columbia, Canada) and it was really powerful,” Budd continued. “It was an amazing day but it’s important that we shed light on the racism here. When I saw what happened (to George Floyd) it got me thinking to stuff that I’d seen growing up and Sechelt.”
“Just seeing with my own family. Like when we go down and we fight in certain states … we do play by different rules. Because things are not safe for my family necessarily to go walking or running outside. We don’t do that. Like when I when we were fighting down in Oklahoma, We can’t go for a jog outside with Lance Jr. (but) I could do that. We just thought it was kind of normal. Like it’s weird, I can’t believe that I’ve accepted that for the last five years.”
Julia Budd explained the importance of fighting for equality and people sharing their experience in hopes of inspiring others.
“I think that it’s important that people realize that using our voice, that’s what makes change happen. Because sometimes it can feel like we’re helpless and we stay silent on things that matter. And I think it’s just important that we talk and we share the stories that we’re experiencing. And I had so many people reach out after and before the event on June 7 that we had on the Sunshine Coast about times they’d experienced racism. And it brought people together and it shed light on our community, especially the youth. This is important to stand up when you see somebody getting treated wrong because of the color their skin. It was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever done in my life for sure.”
Bellator 244 takes place Friday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader defends his title against Vadim Nemkov in the main event.