(Shad Smith, out!)
No, it’s not GSP. And it’s not James Thompson or Don Frye. The guy’s name is Shad Smith and he was outed yesterday by The New York Times. The 35-year-old KOTC vet — who is the first openly gay male fighter in MMA — recently spoke to The Times and chatted about growing up fighting in a neighborhood where he and his brothers were the minorities. Sounds like the guy had quite a chip on his shoulder, too:
“I was just mad-dogging everyone” — staring them down — “until somebody said something, and then I’d put my hands up and start fighting.” He said he had 46 counts of assault and battery as a juvenile. “And that’s 46 counts posted on me. Can you imagine how many there actually were?”
And then came the outing:
I asked Smith why he spent so much of his youth looking for trouble. I expected some sort of clichéd, though possibly true, explanation — a difficult childhood or a Napoleon complex. What I didn’t expect him to say was, “You know, bro, the sexual-preference thing.”
Smith is gay, and I know of no other professional fighter who is openly so. “I was always scared that my mom and dad would find out and wouldn’t like me, and my brothers wouldn’t like me,” he said. “I was petrified, because I didn’t want anyone to find out. And I would try to be the toughest person around. That way, no one would suspect, no one would ever say it, no one would think it.”
So there you have it. Since this is such a ridiculously-homophobic industry, I imagine it’ll be hard for Smith to get fighters to agree to matches with him now — especially if they share Brock Lesnar’s 18th Century views. Smith last fought in January, losing to Dave Rivas. He is 9-9-2 overall and is 0-3-1 in his last four.
On that note, here’s a video that is fitting for the topic of this post — and kinda’ sweet.