Shots After The Bell: Francis Ngannou fights for the people of Africa

UFC 218 went down on Saturday Night from the Little Ceasers Arena in Detroit Michigan and it was everyone an MMA fan could hope for. There was tons of action, several amazing back and forth wars, a knockout of the year candidate, and champion Max Holloway cementing his hold on the featherweight division.

I could certainly gush over all the great fights we witnessed, but I feel like that job has been covered by all the other bloggers on the Internet. Let’s get to a few of the other less visible stories.

Ngannou Calls Out Slavery

Out of all the depressing news stories to come out over the past few weeks (and there’s been a lot), none was worse than the news that slavery was making a big comeback across Libya with human beings getting auctioned off for around $400 a person.

Following his massive win over Alistair Overeem that has made him next in line for a shot at the heavyweight title, Francis Ngannou took the time to decry the situation.

“I want to dedicate this victory to all my brothers in Libya who are treated as slaves on this day,” he said. “This is not very fair. I feel really bad for that. That is criminal, yo. Excuse me for my words, but I just want to say f**k slavery, f**k racists, f**k racism. Claim the freedom, claim the liberty.”

Ngannou has good reason to be care, beyond the basic human concern we should all feel at horrors like this. He came from a tiny town in Cameroon best known for exporting sand and worked in mines and quarries from the age of 12. He left Africa for Europe and spent time homeless in France. He very well could have ended up one of the men on the auction block in Libya.

Ngannou is undoubtedly one of the most exciting heavyweight prospects we’ve seen in years, but he’s also an important spokesperson in a time where the plight of Africa and its people don’t have a voice. Here’s hoping his words and stories inspire a little more empathy in a world that seems increasingly uncaring.

The Eh-gony Of Defeat

As “Happy Warrior” Roxanne Modafferi regularly says, mixed martial arts is a sport where you have to step on other people’s dreams to achieve your own. Every fight has a winner and a loser, but fortunately UFC has evolved into a place where we don’t discard fighters just because they’ve lost like you see sometimes in boxing.

That’s led to a much healthier attitude to losing, which was on full display after UFC 218. There were no real losers after all the wars we witnessed in the cage on Saturday night, and I’m glad the fighters seem to realize that.

Even Alistair Overeem, who got blasted into orbit with a knockout of the year candidate, took his defeat in stride.

Another Wardrobe Malfunction

UFC 218: Cooper v Magana

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

An early prelim fight between Amanda Cooper and Angela Magana got a pretty big surge in Twitter reactions following a moment in the first round where Magana’s top got twisted to the side, revealing her breast. The mandatory Reebok uniforms continue to fail in the most basic task of keeping the women’s private parts covered.

We imagine if, say, David Teymur’s shorts had ripped when Drakkar Klose grabbed them during their fight, something would be done about the design. But as it stands, the design for the women’s UFC tops continues to ensure that we get a couple of these incidents a year.

The Real VIP

Okay, let’s wrap this thing up with some shots of the true star of the night: Max Holloway’s son.

For complete UFC 218: “Holloway vs. Aldo 2” results, including play-by-play updates, click here.

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