Legendary actress Meryl Streep reserved a brief moment in a Golden Globes speech critical of President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday night to infuriate MMA fans.
As Streep accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award, she railed against the exclusionary rhetoric of Trump and others on the right. That led to an unexpected shot at sports fans.
“Who are we, and what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places,” Streep said. “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out, we’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”
The reaction was swift on social media. Fans and fighters alike lashed out at the perceived slight, almost immediately pointing out the diverse roster of the UFC and other MMA promotions and defending the artistic side of the sport.
Within a couple of hours, Streep even had an invite to the upcoming Bellator MMA card in Los Angeles via a letter published online by the organization’s president, Scott Coker.
“I’m a lifelong fan of your work but also a lifelong martial artist who happens to promote mixed martial arts around the world,” Coker wrote. “The global sport of mixed martial arts celebrates male and female athletes from all around the world who work years tirelessly honing their craft and — yes — art. The come from every country and every walk of life. We at Bellator support them and honor their skill.”
UFC president Dana White weighed in on the issue during an interview with TMZ Sports on Monday when he pointed out it shouldn’t be a surprise Streep isn’t a fan of the sport.
“It’s not going to be everybody’s thing and the last thing in the world I expect is an uppity, 80-year-old lady to be in our demographic and love mixed martial arts,” he said.
White did, however, take exception to Streep’s assertion that MMA isn’t an art.
“Of course it’s an art,” he said. “The fighters, the men and the women, are so talented. They train their whole lives to become the best in the world and the people who get into the UFC are the elite of the elite. To say something stupid like that is like saying she’s not a talented actress, which she is. She’s a very talented actress.”
In the end, White just believes Streep made her comments without a base of knowledge because the UFC boasts a diverse roster with champions from all over the globe.
“She’s not educated about the sport and it was a completely uneducated comment,” he said.
Streep is repped by Creative Artists Agency, the chief Hollywood rival of WME-IMG, which purchased the UFC in 2016.
TITLE BOUT SET FOR UFC 209
UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley will defend his belt in a rematch against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at UFC 209 on March 4 at T-Mobile Arena.
Woodley announced the matchup on a special episode of his podcast, which he posted early Monday afternoon.
Thompson and Woodley fought to a draw on the UFC 205 card at Madison Square Garden in New York on Nov. 12. Woodley had been weighing his options between several contenders and even flirted with a superfight against middleweight champion Michael Bisping, but said Thompson’s constant callouts in the media and on Twitter finally got to him.
“He got under my skin that bad that I’m just going to go ahead and fight this dude,” Woodley said. “You need to be careful what you ask for. You want it? Come get it.”
The event also includes a heavyweight contender bout between Alistair Overeem and Mark Hunt.
RIVERA OFF UFN 103 CARD
Bantamweight contender Jimmie Rivera won’t be fighting Sunday in Phoenix after all.
Rivera, who had been scheduled to fight Bryan Caraway on the UFC Fight Night 103 card, has turned down a bout against replacement opponent Marlon Vera.
After originally accepting the fight, Rivera changed his mind. He said Vera wasn’t enough of a challenge and he could look like a “bully.” Rivera also turned down John Dodson as a replacement opponent because he couldn’t get assurances from the UFC that a win would get him a bout with one of the top three contenders.
Rivera has won 19 straight fights, including a 4-0 mark since signing with the UFC.
The event, which airs on Fox Sports 1, is headlined by a featherweight bout between Yair Rodriguez and returning Hall of Famer BJ Penn.
Contact Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @adamhilllvrj on Twitter.
Invicta FC 21 (UFC Fight Pass)
Saturday, Kansas City, Missouri
UFC Fight Night 103 (FS1)
Bellator 170 (Spike TV)
Jan. 21, Los Angeles