To the people that know him best, Dakota Cochrane's secret wasn't a secret at all. It's not something he kept from prospective business relationships, either. As his mixed martial arts career took off, his friend Kirk Schuster, who was looking after his career, would often receive phone calls from other management companies about representing Cochrane. They would try to woo Schuster with promises of a UFC contract for Cochrane.
Do me one favor, Schuster would tell them, Google his name and call me back if you're still interested. A return call never came. Not once.
Everyone has a past. But in the testosterone-filled sports world, Cochrane's past proved impossible to outrun. What he describes as a temporary lapse in judgment from his college days continues to revisit him. It did again this week, shortly after FX announced that he had been chosen as one of the 32 finalists that will compete for a chance to be on that network's first season of The Ultimate Fighter. Within 24 hours, the news was all over the MMA blogosphere: while in college, he had participated in gay pornography.
Cochrane says he was gay for pay; he's engaged to be married now and has two children. It remains to be seen what broadcasting network F/X will make of it, or if he'll be chosen to be on the actual show. They have to be nervous about fan reaction, and the attitudes of sponsors and other fighters (former champ Brock Lesnar made some famously nasty anti-gay remarks and stayed top dog until he was revealed to be just a bully who never really learned to take a punch), but comments on the article are surprisingly supportive, and UFC President Dana White has expressed his hope that gay athletes in the organization will come out of the closet. So we'll see what happens.
ETA: via hjcallipygian, my resident MMA guru, some more links on the subject, with commentary from Dana White:
"I'm not out here trying to make something like, 'We're going to make friends with the gay community. We're going to do this and that,'" White said. "It is what it is. The guy was in a gay porn. Whether he's gay or not gay, I don't give a [expletive] one way or the other. I don't give a [expletive]. It doesn't matter. He's a good fighter. He made it into the house on his fighting skills and what he's accomplished."
"Of course I knew. Listen, the kid’s a fighter. He did what he did. He didn’t break any laws, he didn’t do anything illegal. When we do background checks on guys, we look for stuff that’s illegal, we look for criminal stuff, we look for stuff we just don’t like. " (Video)
Finding that stuff doesn't automatically *exclude* anybody, mind. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson lived up to his nickname with a stint that saw him nearly get shot by cops after a mad chase in which he caused a car accident that led a woman to suffer a miscarriage, and he had continuing success in the UFC and a big-budget movie role. But it's interesting to note that being in gay porn doesn't fall under stuff that the UFC "just doesn't like." At least, they don't dislike it *enough.* Interestingly, I just realized that they've canned a number of ring girls when it turned out said ring girls had done porn or naked shoots, though there may have been issues of disclosure there. (A non-UFC promotion, on discovering that its ring girl did porn under another name, essentially responded, "Hey, more power to her! What name was she using again?")
Originally posted on my DW. | people have commented there. | Do so yourself, if you like.