The Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey fight card certainly lived up to expectations, but it did have its share of controversy as well.
Welterweight MMA fighter Brandon Saling made his Strikeforce debut, sporting a Neo-Nazi tattoo (the number 88 coupled with lightning bolts).
To make things worse, Saling’s background is pretty repulsive. In 2004, Saling was convicted of gross sexual imposition (he was initially charged with rape of a person under 13 years), earning himself a spot on Ohio’s sex offender list.
Four years later, Saling ran into more problems with the law, serving 40 days in jail for a Domestic violence charge.
Strikeforce dropped the ball by allowing such a morally conflicted person to fight on their fight card, and it will be interesting to see how they deal with the situation. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker denied any knowledge of Saling’s past prior to Saturday’s event.
“That was something that was brought up this evening,” Coker told reporters at the post-fight conference. “We had no knowledge of that until this evening. It came to our attention during the course of the fights. The fighter was licensed not only in this state but several other states. What I can say is Bernie from the State Athletic Commission — which we talked to before we came into this room, is going to launch a full investigation on Monday. So that’s where that’s at. … As far as you guys know, the policy for Strikeforce and the UFC is that kind of body art, offensive behavior, offensive art is not going to be allowed.”
Given the fact MMA is still in its infancy, Saling isn’t the type of person hardcore fans like myself want representing the sport as it tries to go mainstream. What bothers me the most about Saling’s Neo-Nazi tattoo is the fact that it could have easily been covered, yet, he never even bothered to do so. It says a lot about who he is as a person – someone I definitely don’t want any of my hard earned money going to.