At first glance, the Ultimate Fighting Championship might be a surprising choice to be honored by a gay and lesbian group.
There have been several high-profile incidents that would suggest anything but a positive relationship between the UFC and the gay community.
UFC leaders, however, have been outspoken in support of gay rights, and in February the organization promoted its first openly gay fighter, Liz Carmouche, in a title fight against Ronda Rousey.
Now the UFC will be honored by the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada as its Corporation of the Year.
“The Center is fortunate to have such a strong corporate partner in UFC. They have made important contributions of time, energy and financial resources to our new home and have been equally constructive in seeking ways to further The Center’s mission going forward,” said Tom Kovach, interim executive director of The Center.
UFC president Dana White was criticized in 2009 for a slur against homosexuals, but immediately apologized. He has since advocated for gay rights and also acted quickly to discipline a few fighters who have made homophobic comments.
On July 27, Carmouche faces Jessica Andrade in the first matchup of openly gay fighters in UFC history in a bout that will air live on Fox.
■ SILVA SPEAKS — A week of reflection since his first UFC loss resulted in a 180-degree turn in Anderson Silva’s attitude toward a rematch with Chris Weidman.
Silva first said he wasn’t interested in a rematch, but UFC president Dana White announced Saturday on “SportsCenter” that the two would meet again in Las Vegas on Dec. 28 in what he claimed would be the biggest fight in UFC history.
Silva spoke with Brazilian network Globo, and MMAFighting.com transcribed the conversation.
“Nobody likes to lose,” Silva said. “I train four months to win. But you end (up) learning with your mistakes, and I learned the worst way possible. After everything that happened, we calm down and I realized I had something to question, even question Anderson Silva. I lost to myself, and that’s the worst loss. Losing by knockout shakes you.
“Everybody has to retire, but it’s not my time yet. I’ll get a rematch. Chris gave me this opportunity and we’re fighting again. That’s another chance to overcome, reinvent myself as a person and athlete.”
Don’t expect Silva to abandon the showboating style that made him so popular and successful just because it backfired one time.
“If Muhammad Ali came up saying I wasn’t humble, then I’d think if I was humble or not,” Silva said. “There was no lack of respect. I respect everybody. All the provocation, hands down ... it should continue, it’s part of the show.”
■ PETTIS GETS TITLE SHOT — It took injuries to himself and lightweight contender TJ Grant, but Anthony Pettis will finally get a rematch with Benson Henderson and a shot at the lightweight title.
Pettis will step in for Grant to fight for the belt in the main event of UFC 164 in Milwaukee on Aug. 31. Grant suffered a concussion while training in jiujitsu.
Pettis was supposed to fight Jose Aldo for the featherweight belt Aug. 3, but had to pull out because of a knee injury. Instead, he will fight in his hometown against Henderson, whom Pettis defeated in the final World Extreme Cagefighting fight ever in 2010.
■ INVICTA RESULTS — Cris “Cyborg” Justino stopped Marloes Coenen in the fourth round of the main event of Invicta Fighting Championships 6 in Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday to become the organization’s first featherweight titlist. Cyborg had also defeated Coenen in a 2010 Strikeforce title bout.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.