UFC lightweight Marc Diakiese is putting out a strong message of tolerance and acceptance, become the first fighter for the world’s largest MMA promotion to pose for Gay Times.
MMA’s relationship with the LGBTQ community has been a rocky one. Prior to the opening of women’s MMA divisions in 2013 the promotion had never had an openly gay or lesbian fighter among its ranks; 20 years of straight men fighting straight men (or at least presenting that way). Four years later and the UFC still has yet to have an openly gay male fighter.
In part, that may be chalked up to some of the hostile language that has more or less been the norm between fighters talking trash over the years (something that’s even seeped into the UFC brass in the past). But, mostly that lack of ‘out’ fighters is likely the result of the hyper-masculine landscape across most major sports. One that has for decades – and in many ways still – seen just about everything else as weakness.
That makes what UFC lightweight Marc Diakiese is doing pretty damned impressive. The 23-year-old Democratic Republic of the Congo born fighter from Doncaster, England recently made headlines with a photoshoot for Gay Times magazine. And in doing so, became the first UFC fighter to pose for a gay magazine:
.@Marc_Diakiese makes history as the first ever @ufc star to pose for a gay mag. We’re glad he’s on our side… https://t.co/iixbhgDmU6 pic.twitter.com/pd4wcZnWYJ
— Gay Times Magazine (@GayTimesMag) February 17, 2017
Rising star @Marc_Diakiese making history as the first UFC athlete in a gay publication, in @GayTimesMag’s March Issue. Out now! pic.twitter.com/1EElIM4gnZ
— Candid Publicity (@CandidPublicity) February 22, 2017
Diakiese announced his participation in the publication along with a message on Instagram:
“As people, we are all one,” Diakiese wrote. “There’s a lot of people who are single-minded. We’re all the same and as long as I get on with you and you get on with me, I’m fine. There’s no difference. We’re in a new era in 2017. You can do and be whatever you want to be. We are all people, we are all the same, and so I’m pleased to be here and be featured in the @gaytimesmag”
The undefeated (11-0) Diakiese is currently scheduled to face Finland’s Teemu Packalen at UFC London on March 18th in the O2 Arena. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Jimi Manuwa and Corey Anderson.