On this edition of Parallax Views, investigative journalist Karim Zidan, whose work has been featured in Foreign Policy, The Guardian, and the MMA-news website Bloody Elbow, joins us to discuss the intersection between politics and Mixed Martial Arts from Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov’s Akmat Fight Club to Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White’s appearances on Fox News. We’ll discuss how figures from Ted Cruz to Vladimir Putin are interested in MMA and how they attempt to use it politically. We also delve into such topics as sportswashing and propaganda, Abuzayed Vismuradov (the powerful Chechnya associated with Ramzan Kadyrov and the Akmat Fight Club who is known simply as “Patriot” and is considered one of Chechnya’s most dangerous men), “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (and the shady history of his brother), self-described anarcho-communist fighter “The Snowman” Jeff Monson and his relationship with Russia and Vladimir Putin, Conor MacGregor, Saudi Arabia and the WWE, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and much, access journalism in MMA reporting, unionization efforts and the UFC, and much, much more!
In the second segment of the show, progressive sports journalist David Zirin joins the show to discuss the intersection of sports and politics more broadly and his latest book The Kaepernick Effect: Taking a Knee, Changing the World. We discuss how David began his now almost 20-year run of writing about politics and sports before delving into such issues as leftist aversion to sports, sports and nationalism (and militarism), cheerleaders who supported Black Lives Matter, the Kaepernick Effect as about the Effect even more so than Colin Kaepernick himself, the film National Champions and efforts of NCAA college football to receive fair compensation, exploitation of athletes by owners, and more!