Fox Censors Nate Diaz Giving “The Finger” – Strange Societal Values?

Last night, the UFC aired another free “UFC on Fox” special, on, well yes, as the title suggests, Fox.   For those unfamiliar with the UFC – Ultimate Fighting Championship – it’s, well hand to hand combat without weapons.  I happen to enjoy watching MMA – mixed martial arts – and I have a tremendous amount of respect for these athletes, so I enjoyed the opportunity to take in the solid fight card, including the main event which was a lightweight title fight between the champion, Benson Henderson, and the challenger, Nate Diaz.

Diaz is a mean, mean dude, and part of his in-cage strategy involves talking trash to his opponents and trying to get them off their game.   If a carefully planned strategy devolves into a careless brawl, Diaz has you where he wants you and can destroy you with either his technical boxing skills or his lethal ground game.   Benson Henderson, however, had planned for Diaz’s mind games, and kept his cool while executing a game plan that saw him thoroughly dominate Diaz over 5 five minute rounds en route to retaining the title in convincing fashion.

What I found intriguing was that, while Fox was clearly willing/allowed to show hours of these men (including the other 3 fights on the main card) trying to beat the living shit out of each other, they clearly weren’t willing/allowed to show “the finger.”  Yes – at one point, mid-fight, Diaz gave Henderson the finger, in an attempt to rattle him and provoke an emotional rather than a technical response.   I was watching on Fox (the regular network), and the picture and sound quickly cut away to a stock long-view of an empty arena.   I rewound my DVR and quickly realized that Fox was attempting to censor Diaz – this was not a case of technical difficulties.   BleacherReport captured a shot of the action – I guess they were watching on Fox Sports, which edited it slightly differently, just blacking out Diaz’s finger instead of cutting away from the action?

Later in the fight, near the conclusion of the 5th and final round, Diaz – desperate and clearly having been crushed on the scorecards – again tried to get Henderson out of his game by taunting him, and again my Fox feed cut out.  This is what BleacherReport captured the second time:

Now, perhaps my readers will see where I’m going with this…  What is the deal with our strange societal values if THIS is what we decide to censor?

I can give a laundry list of examples on basic cable channels:  would you rather have your children see a man give another man the finger – or have them watch The Kardashians?   Which is worse:  Diaz giving Henderson the finger, or Honey Boo Boo?      But that’s not a fair comparison – this wasn’t cable, this was prime time broadcast network television.    We still have plenty of comparisons:  Which is worse:  seeing dead hookers in an alley on CSI – or Diaz giving Henderson the finger?   Fear Factor?  Or The Finger?

There’s an even simply question of course:  which is worse: watching grown men kick each other in the face and try to break each others’ arms off*?  Or watching them give each other the finger?

I find it bizarre and disconcerting that The Finger was the breaking point for Fox, the censors, the FCC – whomever made the big money decisions in this regard.

comments? questions? concerns?


*note: I’m by no means suggesting tha the fights themselves should be censored – but I find it intellectually incompatible for someone to say “oh yeah – the fights are fine – but The Finger – no way man: we can’t show that.”

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