Hatebreed isn’t banned from the octagon, but it may be on the outs while the UFC fights to legalize MMA in New York.
Fans who watched Chris Camozzi’s fight with Nick Ring at UFC 158 may have noticed black tape covering a logo on his shirt, which turned out to be the metal band’s.
Today on MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com), Hatebreed lead singer Jamey Jasta called in to relay a recent conversation with UFC officials, who explained the reason for the blackout.
Jasta was on tour in Russia when he heard that the promotion had denied Camozzi’s request to use a Hatebreed song to walk out to the octagon, as well as ordered the covering of the band’s logo. (Camozzi’s manager, Jason Genet, later stated that three Hatebreed songs were turned down on the basis of their tempo. The fighter eventually used the song “Sail” by Awolnation.)
“I reached out to people at the UFC and I finally spoke to someone, who said maybe once all this stuff with New York…passes, they might be a little more lenient about allowing some heavier music and different types of sponsors,” Jasta said.
It was disappointing news for the musician, whose band was featured on a 2004 album commissioned by the UFC called “UFC Presents Ultimate Beatdowns Vol. 1.” Hatebreed had also crafted the walkout music for ex-champ Andrei Arlovski. Camozzi had previously used Jasta’s solo compositions for his walkout music, and Jasta once sponsored UFC heavyweight Shane Carwin.
Ultimately, though, it appears the UFC made a political move to avoid controversy as it continues its march into the Empire State. The promotion faces fierce opposition from a Nevada-based culinary union that has marshaled the support of several organizations in pushing an anti-UFC message.
In an article posted this past summer on CNN.com, Hatebreed was labeled as a white-power band, which might have provided easy fodder for the union if Camozzi, who ultimately won a split decision over Ring, had used the music.
But any attack would have been based on false information, according to Jasta, who denied any ties to racist groups and succeeded in getting a retraction from the cable news network.
“We’ve NEVER been down w/ racism,” he tweeted after the story.
It wasn’t the first time Jasta was forced to defend his band. In 2008, he railed at misinformation spread on peer-to-peer music networks, which in one case changed the name a Hatebreed song titled “Smash Your Enemies” to “Kill the N—ers.”
“This is why illegal music downloading is f—ed up,” Jasta then said. “Any true Hatebreed fans know the real deal and know we would never have a song called that, but there are a lot of young kids that don’t buy music legally that went online to steal our music and saw this f—ed up song title and were offended and wrote us messages and hate mail. This is so lame. Hatebreed is a band with positive messages of respect for all… It offends us that people would even think for one second that we would have any racist, homophobic or sexist type agenda.”
Jasta said today that fallout from such information continues to shadow the band. He said despite the group’s success, radio stations are reluctant to have him on as a guest because they worry he might say something offensive.
“I think because the word hate is in the name,” he said. “The band has never had any sort of racist agenda or ties with anybody like that.”
Since learning of the situation at UFC 158, Jasta repeatedly has reached out to UFC President Dana White on Twitter in an effort to clear up the situation. He has yet to hear back.
“Moving forward, hopefully he will be able to walk out to our song and have our logos appear,” Jasta said.
For complete coverage of UFC 158, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.
(Pictured: Chris Camozzi)