Although Bellator is the number two promotion in North America behind the UFC, it still boasts its fair share of mixed martial arts stars.
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One of them is welterweight Michael “Venom” Page — a predominant kickboxer with a flashy style hailing from the United Kingdom. The 32-year-old was unbeaten until his recent knockout loss at the hands of Douglas Lima earlier this year.
However, he still remains one of the bigger names in the Santa Monica-based promotion. That said, he feels he isn’t making the amount of money he could be. In a recent column for Metro, Page expanded on how it is more lucrative to be a white fighter.
“I genuinely feel if I was a white fighter with the same talents, I would have more support and money,” Page wrote. “I’ve never come across open racism from a fight fan. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a fan shout anything racist at me. I think you’d have to be brave to do that at a London fight night.
“But, I do think black fighters are treated differently. Do I think any promoters I know are racist? It’s not that. I think it’s less financially lucrative to be a black fighter than a white All-American or Irish kid.”
One more obstacle according to Page is the lack of real support from the black community in the United Kingdom. Page is one of the few major British stars in the sport along with the likes of Darren Till, Leon Edwards, and Paul Daley. However, he feels his fanbase isn’t paying money to see him, particularly from his own community.
“As a promoter you understand a black fighter is not going to have the same amount of people willing to spend money on seeing him fight,” Page explained. “Unfortunately in the UK, the black community do not invest financially to support you, they will be 100 per cent behind you in every way, but wouldn’t buy tickets. I even feel if I was from another country I would have more support. The UK like to support you when you’ve fallen, the underdog is king here. As an English fighter, it’s hard for me to get any promotion. As a black English fighter it’s even harder. Culture is part of politics and politics is part of sport.
“There’d be more people and companies willing to invest in me if I wasn’t black. But again, I don’t see that as racist. Money talks and backing the white guy is more lucrative than the black fighter. It’s difficult, but I try not to pay attention to that. I’ll keep banging on the doors. For me, having that mentality is better than complaining about it.”
Page returns to action at Bellator 227 later this month when he takes on Richard Kiely.