UFC strawweight contender Rose Namajunas isn’t backing down from her criticisms of communism, reiterating her family’s struggles against communist oppression.
Ahead of her April 24 fight against Chinese champion Zhang Weili, Namajunas, who is Lithuanian-American, said her motivation for winning the fight is partly fueled by her opposition to communism. ESPN reported Tuesday:
Namajunas’ family is from Lithuania, and she said she has drawn inspiration from the documentary, “The Other Dream Team.” The film focuses on the 1992 Lithuanian men’s national basketball team, which entered the Barcelona Olympics as an independent country after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Namajunas recently told a Lithuanian outlet that the movie is a reminder that “it’s better dead than red,” an anti-communist expression coined during the Cold War. She also said Zhang is “red” and that freedom is a “huge motivating factor” for why she fights.
“I have a lot to fight for in this fight,” Namajunas explained. “And what she (Weili) represents, you know, I was just, I was just trying to remind myself of all the — my background and everywhere that I come from and my family and everything like that.”
“And I kind of wanted to educate my training partner Chico Camus on the Lithuanian struggle and just the history of it all,” the fighter continued. “So we watched ‘The Other Dream Team’ just to get like an overall sentiment of what we fight for. And so, just after watching that it’s just a huge reminder of yeah: better dead than red, you know. And I think, I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Weili is red, you know … that’s what she represents.”
“It’s nothing personal against her,” Namajunas again emphasized, “but that’s a huge motivating factor of why I fight. And I fight for freedom, and I’ve got the Christ consciousness, I’ve got Lithuanian blood, and I’ve got the American dream — and all of those things, I’m taking with me into this fight.”
Namajunas backed her statements during a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “If you’re confused about any of my opinions,” she said, “you can watch the documentary and you could get a good idea as to what my family had to go through, the reason I’m in the United States today, the reason that I do mixed martial arts, all of that stuff. I’d probably have a really different life if it wasn’t for everything in that documentary, how Lithuanians had to struggle with communism oppression.”
“The reason that I brought it up and that I referenced it is because the reporter suggested I had animosity toward past opponents, and that’s what maybe caused some motivation in those fights, and in this one there’s no animosity so maybe there’s a lack of motivation,” she continued. “But that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Namajunas has repeatedly stressed that she doesn’t have personal animosity toward Zhang; the two women even share the same manager. But all of her opponents, to her, are “red.” “They’re just the person standing in the way of my dream,” she said.
— Borrachinha Depot (@FullContactMTWF) April 11, 2021