The Cultural Diplomacy of Ramsey Nijem
By: Dan Shapiro, FIGHTLAND
"UFC lightweight Ramsey Nijem may have been born in California, but when he walks through the arena tunnel, out into the crowd, and towards the Octagon, it’s quite apparent that he’s fighting for some place else.
"Draped in the black, white, green, and red flag of Palestine, Nijem has become a cultural and athletic ambassador for his father’s homeland. And now set to take part in Saturday’s UFC 177 main card, Nijem bears the torch and carries the message of 2.7-million Palestinians caught in the midst of a horrific international conflict, 66 years in the making.
"But it’s not political or military hard power that Nijem wields inside the Octagon as he’s paid to brutalize opponents. Instead, he has transformed MMA into a soft power platform, using the sport of mixed martial arts to communicate with foreign publics."