Not even professional athletes are safe from certain public situations.
Former UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira had an unfortunate experience while browsing at a Walmart in the United States. Though ‘Poatan’ did not get directly harassed by staff at the store, the Brazilian was followed around the premises by one of its assistants, which left Pereira feeling uneasy throughout the experience.
Why was a Walmart employee following Alex Pereira?
On his social media, Pereira shared a video of a Walmart employee following him around the store as the Brazilian walked through the aisles and commented on the situation. Though annoyed, Poata even took the time to make an experiment to see whether the man was actually following him or if it was only a coincidence.
The footage below makes it clear.
“I’m here at Walmart and some guys are following me around, man. Get away from me, man,” Pereira said, as translated by Bloody Elbow. “Watch this. I’m going to make a turn here. (Pereira proceeds to make a turn and shows that the man is still behind him.) See?”
Numerous MMA fighters have dealt with bigotry
Though it is unclear whether or not the man was following Alex Pereira based on his ethnicity or the way the Brazilian looks in general, it known that shop assistants are oriented to keep an eye on and even follow customers they deem suspicious based on how their apperance. In the United States, most victims of this treatment are also minorities and in most cases black people.
MMA has seen its share of racists and xenophobic within the community, too. Cases such as former UFC interim welterweight champion Colby Covington calling ‘Black Lives Matter’ a terrorist movement former UFC featherweight Marcelo Rojo sharing a racist meme in which he compared then flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo to a monkey are just a couple of several unfortunate examples.
When it comes to xenophobic examples, then UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk was also received with much criticism when she shared a meme mocking the country of China and title challenger Weili Zhang at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Similarly, former UFC bantamweight Tony Kelley went viral for going on a xenophobic rant while cornering flyweight Andrea Lee, who fought Viviane Araujo at UFC Vegas 54, in May 2022. During the break between rounds, Lee complained about being fouled in the fight, to which Kelley replied:
“That’s what they’re going to do,” Kelley said after Lee complained of an eye poke, “they’re dirty f-cking Brazilians. They’re gonna f-cking cheat like that.”
Catch Alex Pereira at UFC 291
Now Alex Pereira (7-2) had a four-fight winning streak in the Octagon before he lost to Israel Adesanya via knockout in their fourth encounter. Prior to the loss, the 35-year-old scored victories over Andreas Michailidis, Bruno Silva, Sean Strickland and the ‘Last Stylebender’.
Pereira is currently expected to take on former champion Jan Blachowicz in his light heavyweight debut at UFC 291, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The July 29 card is scheduled to be headlined by a lightweight match for the whimsical BMF title between former interim champions Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier.
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