With a career-defining fight coming up against Brendan Schaub at UFC 134 in Rio, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira uncharacteristically came out with some controversial comments.
Minotauro spoke with UOL Esporte in regards to training with a gay fighter, and Bloody Elbow’s Tom Mendes provided an English translation:
“I have no prejudice against the gays, but I wouldn’t train with someone who’s gay”—already a pretty loaded statement from one of the biggest stars to ever fight in Pride.
“I have no malice, I don’t take our physical contact as (something) sexual. But what is that person has that malice of having physical contact with me, of staying there grappling?”
An interesting point of view, the UFC heavyweight concluded, “I would have no problems having a gay student in my academy, but I would rather not train with him.”
The question of homophobia in MMA recently came up when Dennis Hallman wore a speedo at UFC 133.
UFC president Dana White spoke about how much he hated the choice of fight trunks, among other things, stating that “I’ve never been so embarrassed being in the UFC.”
White also strongly hinted at firing Hallman after the loss, though Hallman is still officially listed on the UFC's official website.
Also worth recalling is that White actually addressed the idea of a gay fighter in the UFC back at UFC 98 via a video blog.
MMA Fighting provided a transcript:
“I honestly think it would have no impact whatsoever, with not only our fighters, but our fan base,” White said.
"The guys in the UFC, everybody’s so cool, there’s great sportsmanship, everybody’s so respectful. It wouldn’t be a big deal to me, and most the guys I know in this sport, it wouldn’t be a big deal to them either.”
Nogueira is 4-3 in his past seven fights heading into his bout with Schaub, so while a loss may not necessarily spell the end of a storied career, it would likely mark the end of Minotauro’s time as a top 10 heavyweight in the sport.