Open Letter to the Muslim MMA Fighter in Montana
I got a chance to watch the MMA fights in Billings, Montana this past Saturday night. It was the Fusion Fight league's "Season's Beatings" mixed martial arts event at the Metra. It was a great time as always.
They always start the fights with the pledge, a prayer for fighter safety, and the national anthem. The young lady who sang the national anthem, Maya Rodriguez I think her name was, sang the most beautiful national anthem I've heard in a while.
There were some good fighters that entered the ring as always. It's always great to see the local fighters from the Grindhouse gym and elsewhere perform. It was great to see Shane Fichter back in action also.
As someone who works in radio, I like seeing which songs the various fighters enter the arena to. One of the coolest entrances of the night was Dean Spotted Eagle. He came out with a Northern Cheyenne tribal flag to the song "A Tribe Called Red- Electric Pow Wow Drum." Wow.
Just before the main event, a fighter from Scottsdale, Arizona named Loai Abushaar entered the octagon. He had a cool entrance song as well. I thought maybe the music was from India or Pakistan.
Abushaar definitely impressed the crowd inside the octagon. As he took the microphone following his victorious fight, he lightheartedly mentioned how he is Muslim, and said Montanans had probably never seen a Muslim before. Other than what they saw on Fox News, of course. He then said, "Boo!" To the crowd. The crowd laughed, and I think he meant it- and we all took it- in a lighthearted fashion.
I didn't get a chance to, but I wanted to say hello to Abushaar and congratulate him on the fight after the event. I also wanted to joke with him about Montanans never seeing a Muslim before. You do realize that Montana has one of the highest numbers of veterans per capita in the country, right?
Thousands of Montanans have fought, sweat, and bled alongside their Iraq and Afghan brothers. I remember one moment in Afghanistan when our Afghan soldiers lost some of their men in an IED attack. There on the LZ on our tiny combat outpost were a group of American soldiers hugging and crying with their Afghan counterparts.
I'd imagine Abushaar saw it Saturday night. Here's the deal about Montana and the West: Most of us see each other, and everyone, as equals. No matter what your background is- it's all about what you bring to the fight, and what you prove inside the ring.
By the way, if you missed the Fusion Fights in Billings, Montana this past Saturday- check out the Fusion Fights coming up in Great Falls, Montana this Saturday December 10th.