#NJRR​ Live: Combat Sports and The Left – An Interview With Sam Yang of Southpaw

Welcome to #NJRR Live, Coming At You Live At 8PM EST On Wednesdays!

On the last Wednesday of every month, Revolution Radio is lucky enough to have Christian Perez step in as host for #NJRR Live! Christian is our resident conspiracy theory expert, a long-time comrade and supporter of Revolution Radio, and a member of the editorial board. Tonight, Christian begins the show by welcoming Revolution Radio’s writer, Leah, to the show. 

Christian asks Leah if she’s heard about what’s going on in Texas, going on to inform the audience that 58 lives have been lost so far due to terrible leadership, poor infrastructure, and a shoddy electrical grid. Certain liberals have been making fun of the situation because it is a red state but Christian condemns this divisive behavior. 

The Cowardly Right

If left-wing folk want to poke fun, there’s a glaring target. In the middle of the snowstorm last week, Ted Cruz tucked tail and ran to Cancún. Conservative talking heads are creeping through the woodwork and trying to defend his cowardly actions. Some conservatives in the state have even told the people that the local government owes them nothing and asserted that they’d rather endure days on end without power than be on a federal power grid.

Your money, most likely, has a picture of a big ol’ racist on it. Get rid of it! Give it to poor people or independent media. What are you waiting for?

Speaking of the right wing disregarding the value of human life, we take a look at the coronavirus death rates in America today. Christian laments that we did not have better leadership in the face of this crisis. Although he concedes that Democrats are not the answer, Christian believes that we would not be seeing such high rates of death if the right was not in power during the COVID-19 disaster. 

This year, CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) is themed “America UnCancelled.” When conservatives complain about being cancelled, they are really actually whining about being held accountable for their actions for once. However, ironically, CPAC has cancelled one of their speakers due to them having expressed offensive views. Meanwhile, the icing on the cake of this shitshow is that conservatives are the ones who actually started cancel culture with the McCarthy era.

#NJRR Live Welcomes Sam Yang of Southpaw

Without further adieu, we welcome Sam Yang to #NJRR Live. Sam Yang is a writer, philosopher, martial artist, and host of the Southpaw podcast! Southpaw podcast is a left-wing podcast focusing on combat sports such as boxing, MMA, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and professional wrestling. Sam even had Christian Perez on as his guest for a timeless episode of Southpaw, in which they discuss the danger and psychology of conspiracy theories.

Sam frequently does breakdowns of fights on the show. He also uses his podcast to help make the combat sports community accessible. For example, Sam notes that women and LGBT individuals are often excluded from discussions about combat sports. Sam is working to change this.

[February 24, 2021 #NJRR Live With Host Christian Perez featuring Sam Yang and Leah Giannantonio]

The Left-Wing Joe Rogan Experience

Sam likens his podcast to a left-wing “The Joe Rogan Experience” experience. On Southpaw, Sam talks about fights; he talks about politics or news; he talks about whatever he finds interesting. However, the perspectives are very different. Sam’s podcast generally attracts a slightly younger audience and he’s notably less into toxic masculinity. He enjoys anime, pro wrestling, and K-pop, which is sometimes reflected on the show. Sam created Southpaw because he knew the left needed an alternative to hearing Joe Rogan’s shitty opinions.

The Southpaw podcast is one of a kind. Podcasts about sports on the left tend to be segmented and very specific, which can be good safe spaces, but can also alienate certain communities. Southpaw is open to any respectful parties that are interested in combat sports, whether they be guests or listeners.

Combat Sports and The Right

Sam has noticed that whenever a conspiracy theory gets big in popular culture, it usually gets big within the fighting community first. For example, Sam was predicting that QAnon would blow up months ago because he saw it gaining traction in the fighting community. 

Sam believes that the reason combat sports tend to attract or be associated with the right wing is because of the aspect of (toxic) masculinity. Obviously, this cannot all be attributed to one person or cause. However, Sam connects a lot of the right-wing rhetoric he sees in combat sports culture to Hélio Gracie. 

Hélio Gracie was a Brazilian martial artist who founded and developed Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with his four brothers. Hélio was deeply bigoted and was influenced by Brazilian Integralism. The Integralists are a fascist political party that recently started getting popular again in Brazil.

Stay in Touch!

You can find ways to donate and support Southpaw on their website. Sam also has a Twitter. Southpaw podcast has a website and a store . If you shop at the store, you can spend money to get cool swag while also supporting the podcast.

The Southpaw store sells a “NO GURUS NO MASTERS” shirt. This refers to the idea that calling an instructor guru, master, or even sensei can be problematic. It can lead to a social hierarchy within the culture that enables grooming and abuse of students, effectively an oppressive pedagogy. Also, says Sam, it puts the instructors on an unnecessarily high pedestal. 

Christian’s podcast, Modernity and Absurdity, can be found on Itunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, and most other mainstream podcast apps. Christian is also on Twitter and Facebook. Once again, he encourages the audience to listen to the episode of Southpaw where Christian was the guest, which is called Conspiracy Theories, Pseudosciences, God, Empire, & Privilege. (Writer’s note: it’s really good!)

Until next week, everyone, stay safe and stay informed.

-Leah Giannantonio, for the Revolution Radio network

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