ONE Championship’s Bi Nguyen says Curtis Blaydes made “huge mistake” targeting women in Facebook rant.
Three weeks ago, UFC fighter Curtis Blaydes took to Facebook to complain about how women in combat sports are using their bodies to get better opportunities, bigger fights and higher paychecks. Rightly so, many female fighters stepped in to defend themselves and ONE Championship’s Bi Nguyen is no different.
“I’ve spoken and hung out with Curtis and I think he’s a good guy,” Nguyen told FanSided when asked about how she felt about those remarks. “I think that sometimes people need to recognize their power and be responsible for it. He has a platform. And there are people that exploit everything, every sport, every business, for their own gain in certain ways, whether it’s sexually for women or for men they’re attacking each other’s religions, they’re pulling each other down, looking at each other’s criminal records. I mean, there’s different ways for people to exploit others and themselves for fame. I think that his mistake was pointing out women in the sport, especially in our sport because with the platform that he has, you see how it’s blown up. I don’t know if that was his intent but I think it was a huge mistake. We as females fight for respect in a lot of sports and also still in this sport so, I was upset that he spoke up in that manner on such a big platform. I don’t know if he feels that way towards everybody. I don’t know what context he really meant, but yeah, men or women, there’s people that exploit their own sports and their own business everywhere I just think it was bad to point out just women in that way.”
Being a woman in a male-dominated sport has its day to day challenges without the interference of additional pressure, such as Blaydes’ comments. Someone like Nguyen who trains in the US but fights throughout Asia can see how the sport has grown in some regions but can experience the struggle in other areas.
“I was actually talking to my friend the other day,” she said. “I think we’re very fortunate in America for the groundbreakers like Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate for introducing, not just introducing, but being the first big names in the sport. I think that MMA, more than other team sports, have treated and respected females in the sport and they’ve been treating them well in America. And it’s just new in Vietnam. There’s a lot of growth to be made and a lot of ceilings to breakthrough. MMA right now is non-existent in Vietnam. It’s just starting to grow and, and there’s very-very little female athletes and even less platforms for female athletes to stand on. So I’m hoping to change that. And you know in Thailand there’s still certain parts in Thailand where women don’t compete like women still don’t can’t compete in Lumpinee Stadium, which is a well-respected stadium in Thailand. So the growth in America has gone well it’s been really great to see but there’s still a lot of work to do for females in combat of sports.”
Nguyen was all set to fight in Vietnam, her home country, but the coronavirus shut down the event. Now, as the world is slowly starting to re-open, her focus is on the next challenge, whatever that may be.
“The only reason I do Super Series Muay Thai for ONE [Championship] is because MMA is not yet sanctioned in Vietnam and that is my home country. So when I get rebooked if it’s for MMA it will be with another opponent, a higher-ranked opponent, but if we do rebook for Vietnam for Muay Thai it will be the same opponent that I was matched with before.”
She was originally slated to face Rudzma Abubakar in Vietnam on March 30. There is no word at press time when ONE Championship will begin resuming their events.