Update: You can see the post from MMAFighting.com here.
Unlike the LGBTQ pro wrestling rallying cry “make it gayer,” Overeem didn’t mean it as a compliment.
Overeem, who joined the broadcast to announce his upcoming Glory Kickboxing heavyweight title fight against Rico Verhoeven, uttered the defamatory language after Helwani brought up the return of former UFC and WWE champion (and someone who has made homophobic remarks and said years ago “I don’t like gays”) Brock Lesnar at Saturday’s WWE SummerSlam event.
After opining about loving Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior as a kid, he described modern pro wrestling as “lame,” “fake” and “gay” among other things.
“Just recently, I start looking again on YouTube and, oh my god, this stuff is lame. It’s just lame what all these guys are doing, It’s fake.” Overeem said. “It’s stupid. It’s gay. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Helwani responded in the moment, telling Overeem, “Uh-oh. Don’t say that, Alistair,” to which the Dutch fighter responded, “Why? Because I’m speaking the truth?”
The interview continued with no further mention of LGBTQ identities or using LGBTQ terminology as defamatory descriptors as Overeem instead focused his barbs at Lesnar’s USADA drug test failures during his UFC tenure.
Speaking to Outsports, Helwani, who was clearly shaken by the comment, apologized for Overeem’s homophobia.
“I’m really sorry that happened,” Helwani said. “I wish he didn’t say that to describe his stance on pro wrestling. I know Alistair to be a good, decent person and debated whether I should say something in the moment. You could see my wheels turning in the moment. I’ll debate that for a while. I am genuinely sorry to anyone who was offended by the comment.”
We’ll have to wait and see if the show addresses the comment further.
Overeem, who was released from his UFC contract in March, doesn’t have a history of using explicit homophobic language, but tacitly supported relationships maintained between the UFC and leaders in homophobic governments, specifically Chechnya and the United Arab Emerites, that have helped the company flourish internationally.
“I’m very proud and happy the UFC (Dana [White] and Lorenzo [Fertitta]) have built the sport to what it is today,” Overeem tweeted in response to a post pointing out the ties between UFC’s relationship with problematic nations and its global expansion earlier this month. “Wow - it actually became mainstream, and accepted sport … and home to fighters all over the world who have goals and can every day perform their passion with many fans worldwide enjoying (just another way of looking at the subject).”