I became violently ill yesterday and still feel like dirt. Then I woke up this morning to find an article on the Southern Poverty Law Center website that reports that “White Nationalist” Melvin Costa competed for the King of the Cage promotion as recently as December:
Last Oct. 18, shortly after Costa’s comments and pictures of his tattoos were republished widely on MMA fan websites, Gary Shaw, the live events president of the parent company that owns King of the Cage, issued this statement: “I try not to allow anyone to fight in the cage or the ring that has anything inappropriate either on their gear or tattooed permanently on their body. And that means either ethnic, or racial, or anything offensive to the general public. I was unaware of the situation but I’m in the process of handling it now. Hopefully, it will never happen again.”
But it did, less than two months later. Costa fought in a King of the Cage event held last Dec. 18. For the first time, though, he lost. Davis, for his part, did not return two E-mails seeking clarification on his league’s regulation of fighters with “inappropriate” tattoos.
In light of what EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw told me back then, I can honestly say I feel even more sick than I already did.
Here’s what Shaw told me on the record when I interviewed him about the Costa situation last October:
“I was unaware of the situation (but) I’m in the process of handling it now,” he said. “Hopefully, it will never happen again.”
Yet even after being made aware of the situation ProElite chose to allow Costa to fight again for King of the Cage. In addition to the Southern Poverty Law Center report, a simple search of Sherdog.com’s Fight Finder shows that Costa competed on December 2 for King of the Cage, losing to Jason Jones when he submitted to an armbar at 4:18 of round 1.
Let me make it clear; I hold no ill will towards Costa (CLICK HERE to read my October interview with him). He’s entitled to his beliefs and is entitled to a right to fight so long as he’s licensed. However, I question ProElite’s judgment of allowing someone with a Swatiska on their chest to represent the company.
From a moral aspect, I think it’s wrong and it disgusts me. But I don’t want to make this about me because people are going to refer to my last name and somehow claim that I am biased (I can’t wait for the lovely Zionist references!). So let’s look at this from an aspect of corporate accountability. ProElite has major business relationships with both CBS and SHOWTIME. If King of the Cage was still an independent organization, I’d have no beef with the decision to allow Costa to fight, so long as he’s good enough. But KOTC is no longer an independent organization and falls under the corporate umbrella of ProElite.
Anytime you allow someone with a tattoo of a Swastika to represent your company, it comes with some major risks. Is allowing Costa to continue to compete for the promotion worth the potential backlash? Is Costa worth the possibility of losing deals with SHOWTIME and CBS? And don’t tell me I’m being melodramatic, if civil rights groups get a hold of the Costa situation you better believe SHOWTIME and CBS are going to hear about the situation and they could be pressured into doing something. If this story gains any traction whatsoever with the mainstream media, you better believe it’s going to cause damage to the company. ProElite had a chance to nip the situation in the bud, and they didn’t.
If you look at the decision to use Costa again after all of the original controversy ensued from a pure business perspective, it’s unacceptable. When you have a major corporate partner such as CBS, situations like this CAN’T HAPPEN.
I’ve asked the question before and I will ask it again, why would you allow someone with a Swastika tattooed to their chest to represent your company? Maybe I’ll get some answers during the course of the day.