UFC heavyweight Ben Rothwell (38-12) has said that he was “ripped to shreds” for throwing support behind the Black Lives Matter movement recently.
Rothwell, a native of Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Jacob Blake was shot by police officers in August, had previously shared the following comments on his personal Instagram page.
“For my ‘all lives matter’ friends: When the Boston marathon was bombed, and everybody’s profile picture changed to ‘Boston Strong’ nobody said ‘all cities are strong’. When the Las Vegas shooting happened, people changed their profiles to ‘Stand with Vegas,’ nobody said ‘Stand with Everywhere’ Have you ever seen someone counter a breast cancer post with ‘wait, what about colon cancer?’ But for some reason if someone say ‘black lives matter’ it turns into an all inclusive ‘all lives matter’. This is not an either/or proclamation. When there is a crisis we have always rallied around that particular group/city/cause. It does not diminish any other group/city/cause, it just brings awareness and support to where it is needed. Nobody is saying all lives don’t matter, but right now our black friends, families, colleagues, neighbors, and strangers need our support.”
Rothwell continued, adding:
“I do not support organizations, violence, or destruction,” Rothwell wrote. “I support the movement for change. I’m just trying to support my friends and have a better understanding of what people are going through and why they feel what they do. I’m looking for unity and instead I see nothing but division. I had many great conversations that brought me here, all I ask is everyone bashing me should go and speak with others to understand what they are going through and why they feel what they are. Listen, be compassionate and see if you feel differently after.”
Ben Rothwell is currently in Abu Dhabi prepping for his fight against Marcin Tybura this weekend. When speaking to reporters ‘Big Ben’ was asked about Kenosha.
“I had the fight booked when the nonsense went down in Kenosha, so it’s been on my mind. It’s on my mind now,” said Rothwell (via BloodyElbow). “It’s been asked a couple of times before I got here. And don’t expect any great interview today because [it’s a] bad time.”
“My city got terrorized and the city got shattered,” continued Ben Rothwell. “I put myself right in the middle. I love people on both sides. And I got ripped to shreds by some, but I held my ground because I believe in my community.”
“People don’t understand this bubble that I created for myself ten years ago in my gym and it’s the closest thing I’ve got to world peace. I’ve got so many cultures, so many colours, come to my gym, we don’t care what their jobs are. They come to my gym, we work together, we do mixed martial arts together, it’s a beautiful thing. And I guess that’s what it’s taught me about life and if I can do it in that gym why can’t we all do it?”
What do you make of the backlash Ben Rothwell received for his Black Lives Matter support?