NEWS & ANALYSIS

‘BETTER DEAD THAN RED’: UFC Fighter Stands Strong on Anti-Communist Viewpoint


UFC strawweight contender Rose Namajunas is standing strong on her criticism of communism, reiterating her family’s struggles against communist oppression. 

With her April 24 fight against Chinese champion Zhang Weili rounding the corner, Namajunas said her motivation for winning is catalyzed by her opposition to communism. 

Namajunas, who’s family is from Lithuania, said she is inspired by the documentary “The Other Dream Team,” which focuses on the 1992 Lithuanian men’s national basketball team after the fall of the Soviet Union. 

To her, the movie is a reminder that “it’s better dead than red.” 

“I have a lot to fight for in this fight,” she explained. “And what [Weili] represents, you know, I was just, I was just trying to remind myself of all the – my background and everywhere that I come from and my family and everything like that.” 

“And I kind of wanted to educate my training partner Chico Camus on the Lithuanian struggle and just the history of it all,” she continued. “So we watched ‘The Other Dream Team’ just to get like an overall sentiment of what we fight for. And so, just after watching that it’s just a huge reminder of yeah, better dead than red. And I think, I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Weili is red, you know…that’s what she represents,” she added. 

“It’s nothing personal against her,” she emphasized, “but that’s a huge motivating factor of why I fight. And I fight for freedom, and I’ve got the Christ consciousness, I’ve got Lithuanian blood, and I’ve got the American dream – and all of those things, I’m taking with me into this fight.” 

Namajunas reaffirmed her beliefs during a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA show. 

“If you’re confused about any of my opinions, you can watch the documentary and you could get a good idea as to what my family had to go through,” she said. 

“The reason I brought it up and that I referenced it is because the reporter suggested I had animosity toward past opponents, and that’s what maybe caused some motivation in those fights, and in this one there’s no animosity so maybe there’s a lack of motivation,” she continued. 

“But that couldn’t be further from the truth.” 

In today’s ultra-polarized times, sports have become tightly intertwined with progressive “woke” politics: the NFL and the NBA are two prime examples. 

But, the UFC and MMA are different. 

Human Events contributor and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, in a recent opinion piece, suggested the UFC is an alternative to anti-American mainstream sports.

“So we fight back. How? Not by giving things up but by buying more stuff and starting new businesses to compete with these corporate tyrants. We need to adopt a new beverage, we need to start watching UFC events, we need an entrepreneur to undertake the painful, but ultimately rewarding, process of building a new airline,” he said.

President Trump was undoubtedly extremely popular with fighters in both the UFC and MMA, many of whom helped elevate his campaign. Here are a few examples. 

“Donald Trump is a fighter. We see a fighter in him,” said Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington, the UFC’s top-ranked welterweight contender. “He’s exposed the fake news. He’s got smear campaigns against him. The Hollywood elite is teamed up against him. And in him, we see a guy that is still resilient and still fighting back for the better of America.”

Former UFC champ Henry Cejudo – one of the most well-known Hispanic sports stars in Phoenix — even spoke at a ‘Latinos for Trump’ rally. 

“My dad wasn’t the best human,” Cejudo said. “He came to this country as a foreigner, broke the law, and was deported … I’m going to tell you as an immigrant’s son, that you come to this country, and you break the law, and, rightfully so, you should pay the consequences.”

MMA artist Jorge Masvidal, the son of an illegal immigrant, was raised in a family with strong opinions against the Castro government. 

“It’s not like I’m 100 percent conservative, or my father. What you can 100 percent count on is that we’re anti-communism, anti-socialism,” Masvidal said. “And nobody, nobody, fights these guys harder than the Republicans and the conservatives. Nobody’s out there doing what they do to stop communism on a worldwide level than the conservatives.”

And, during the campaign, Masvidal went on a four-city bus tour with Donald Trump Jr. called “Fighters Against Socialism.” 

Similarly, UFC legend Tito Ortiz was drawn to Trump because of his outsider message and efforts to “drain the swamp.” 

“I’m not a politician. I’m not a career politician.  But I am a fighter. And I can say I really have learned a lot from Trump,” Ortiz said. “As fighters, we’re hard workers that want to live this American dream. So our automatic instinct is to vote for someone that had lived the American dream. Before he ran for president, all the rappers, all the actors, everyone said Trump is the American dream, is a fighter.”