Former UFC heavyweight contender Brendan Schaub, known for his podcasting, stand-up comedy, and social media presence, stirred up controversy with his comments about former heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.
Ngannou is celebrated for his impressive knockout victories and intimidating physical stature. He also earned a reputation as one of the scariest athletes in the UFC. However, Schaub offered a different perspective on why Ngannou is perceived as “scary.”
During an episode of his podcast, Schaub made a comment that many found racially insensitive. He suggested that Ngannou’s “scary” image is solely due to his race, implying that all white people are naturally afraid of black individuals.
“Hey man, listen, Francis is a scary black guy. I get it; we’re all scared of black people. That’s why he’s so much hype. I get that,” Schaub remarked.
He went further, making a crass remark about Ngannou’s physique and prowess. “Hey, I’m gonna go and toss up another stereotype, but he has a huge French hog. And he’s a big scary black guy. He knocks people out,” Schaub added.
Ironically, Schaub himself once faced a case of mistaken identity based on race. He recounted an incident with his friend Kimbo Slice during their time on TUF in 2009. Slice, an MMA veteran, assumed that Schaub was black and woke him up early in the morning for a confrontation with a racist individual.
Schaub humorously shared the exchange, saying, “For whatever reason, my ethnicity never got brought up. He assumed I was black, I guess.”
He continued, “I told him: ‘Hey Kimbo, you know I’m not black, right?’ He went ‘Really?!? Damn! That’s crazy! Alright dog, you got a big day tomorrow, get some rest.’ And he leaves, and I hear him tell the guys, ‘That’s why I love Schaub, man, you can never tell what the fuck he is.’ I’ll never forget that.”
Schaub’s comments about Ngannou have sparked outrage and accusations of racism from many in the MMA community and beyond. His attempt at humor, using racial stereotypes, has generated significant backlash and raises concerns about the responsible use of language and stereotypes in sports commentary.