Black History Month: Mark Weir discusses placing MMA on the map in the United Kingdom and his legacy in the sport

Black History Month
Source: Skysports

Black History Month: Mark Weir recalls the moment he placed MMA on the map in the United Kingdom, slaying Eugene Jackson with a KO strike barely 10 seconds into their UFC middleweight battle at the Brawl at the Hall.

“I remember going out there and thinking to myself, ‘I have to make a statement.’ I’ve been waiting for this for a long time, and I deserve it.’ I recall hearing the (cage) door close and thinking to myself, ‘Now is the time for me to show my skills.’

“I knew right immediately that I was going to throw the hook kick. That’s because I noticed his hands were raised. I didn’t want to use my hands since he was so strong, and I didn’t want him to hit me first, so I relied on my legs, which was the safest option.

“I expected it to knock him back and make him respect me, but I didn’t expect it to be like that.”

UFC 38 was a watershed moment for the West Country fighter. The man known as ‘The Wizard’ not only blazed a trail for Black British boxers, but he also gave young talent seeking to forge a career in the ring hope.

Weir had previously studied in judo and boxing before transitioning to taekwondo, where he earned his black belt in 1988.

It was during this time that Weir began to experience discrimination and prejudice in a sport that he excelled at more than anyone else.

He would go on to win two world titles and become the youngest boxer to ever win a world title, but memories of being neglected taint even Weir’s greatest victories.

“I’m 54 now, and I’ve had a lot of ups and downs,” Weir reflected. “Taekwondo was traditional in the sense that there was no money involved and you could choose who you wanted on your side.”

“I had to beat three elite champions in my weight class and basically prove to them that I was miles above them.” I had no issues with them, but the one time I had a problem was after I won the world title. I and Tommy Sewell were the first British athletes to win a world championship, but after we won again, they demoted me to the B-Team.

“People were stunned, and it was heartbreaking to see one of my closest friends, whose mother would show up and bring me sandwiches, get assigned to the A-Team.”

“I recall a man named Mike coming up and saying he was going to say something, but I told him ‘don’t, just leave it.'”

“It was a terrible situation to put him in, and it was a terrible situation to put me in because we had travelled the world together. I’m of the old school where you’d accept it.”

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