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Diaz vs. Masvidal: The Problem with the Commodification of Latinos in MMA

Cover photos courtesy of Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal.

Who do you cheer for when they’re both called the bad guy?

A post shared by Frontproof Media (@frontproofmedia) on Sep 7, 2019 at 4:57pm PDT

The problem with having two Latinos fighting is, how does the average fan know for whom to cheer? In the red corner, we have Stockton Slapping, Marijuana Kingpin, Nate Diaz! In the blue corner, BMF Challenger, Funky Askren Killer, Cuban Jesus, Jorge Masvidal! If it’s an entertaining fight, the people will cheer… briefly before condemning those who look like these two, with similar backgrounds as these two, who don’t fit the average “American” lifestyle. They become performing circus animals for a few minutes of fun, then the chants for the wall begin, the condemnation of their kind starts anew until the next fight when they are heralded as heroes for but a few fleeting moments. 

Unfortunately, stereotypes and negative descriptors don’t provide proper background on from where these two professional fighters come. It’s exactly this type of rhetoric and wording that lumps them into the same category of deplorable Mexican cage fighters. Jorge Masvidal doesn’t even have a Mexican heritage. He’s Cuban-Peruvian, but that doesn’t stop people from labeling him as such.

MEXICAN JESUS JORGE MASVIDAL — Tanjiro™️ (@Klutcherov) July 7, 2019

@GarethADaviesDT Hey Gareth, Jorge Masvidal IS NOT Mexican-American! No research done, SAD! You should actually write a story on how his family emigrated to the US — Stockton209 (@Stockton209MF) March 16, 2019

The worst part is everyone knows Brian Ortega is Mexican Jesus, Jorge Masvidal is Cuban Jesus.

If Brian Ortega pulled Halle Berry he really is Mexican Jesus — chica (@mandanicol3) December 30, 2018

These tweets represent less of the toxic side of twitter which one must avoid saving their own sanity. What we see are the only people who make such differentiations are those who suffer similar mislabeling and want to point out the inherent duplicity of such statements. The Telegraph out of the UK is caught mislabeling Masvidal as Mexican-American, which remains unchanged despite its inaccuracy, and is a heritage that properly belongs to Nate Diaz which we previously covered on Unknown MMA. Both men are from underprivileged backgrounds, both with roots in the Latin Americas, but that’s about where the similarities end.

The three piece and a soda. The phrase took a life of its own after Jorge Masvidal referred to the backstage altercation he had with Leon Edwards. Now people are claiming it as their own as a twitter search shows it used by people of all walks of life, many of which claim it today to condemn its creator tomorrow. According to MMAJunkie, we see mouthpiece of the far right, Colby Covington, refer to Masvidal as “trash bag” and “dumb and desperate” while being unable to maintain the same headlines and spotlight as Masvidal. Once an exciting prospect, Covington now relies on being the poster boy for what’s wrong with the worst types of people in this country in an attempt to stay relevant while all Masvidal must do is be himself and continue his rise to the top.

Marijuana aficionado Nate Diaz. The man knows what he likes and despite it being legal in the State of California people still use it to condemn his character.

I don't understand the admiration and adoration for Nate Diaz. Saying fuck you, giving the middle finger, smoking weed, throwing bottles, fighting with fans and trash talk is an accomplishment this century? — Marcus 🎨☯️🎶♑ (@MG_Koch) August 4, 2018

Aside from the benefits it offers according to, it still has a poor history in the United States in particular because of the war on drugs which have made an industry out of trying to stamp it out. Science can only go so far in changing public opinion as proven by current politics, it’s often not the majority who know best during mob rule when propaganda is easily used to one’s own advantage. So how can Masvidal and Diaz deal with the onslaught of vitriol and prejudice? By cashing in.

Site is live. Buy the shirt from the only legal place — Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) April 22, 2019

Jorge Masvidal is now selling his official Three Piece with the Soda shirt on his official website, Nate Diaz has his Game Up Nutrition site at where he sells CBD related health products that he has personally used on stage to create headlines from both sides varying from cheer to further condemnation. Only in a world where these two are systemically oppressed can we see the entrepreneurial spirit free them of said oppression. Until we have systemic change, these small victories will need to be enough but making money isn’t the only goal.


Much the same way Fightland on Vice shows how Nate Diaz helps with the youth of his community, Jorge Masvidal does the same while speaking to about 50 children at Bair Middle School in Sunrise according to The Miami Herald. After-School All-Stars South Florida invited Masvidal to the school to speak on his own experiences while offering advice and sharing his own stories.

The Latino stereotype doesn’t seem to hold true in either person’s case. Have they both had difficult childhoods? Yes. Have they both had issues to overcome? Yes. Despite these few similarities, both men are now at the pinnacle of their sport and fine examples of what a great people Latinos can be when they aren’t immediately categorized as deplorable. In a world where Latinos are the villain, they can only be seen as cage fighters engaged in a human version of cock fights. When the majority of people who label these men can overcome whatever deficiencies or hurdles within themselves, we can see a new era in Mixed Martial Arts where one expert in their style fights against another in pure competition to bring the world together, one strike at a time.■ 

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