If you’ve been paying attention to the promotional material released for “UFC 111: St. Pierre Vs. Hardy”, you may have noticed that on some of the posters (not the one pictured here, check the UFC’s website) Dan Hardy’s stomach seems somehow less cluttered than usual. That is because “The Outlaw”‘s prominent stomach tattoo has been erased using the magic of Photoshop. The fact that his ink was artificially removed is not new news, but the real reason behind it is and it is also rather interesting.
Up until recently most everyone, including Hardy himself, was in the dark as to the reason for the airbrushing. It was originally thought to be because the tattoo was too distracting but CagePotato is reporting that UFC president Dana White had bigger things than visual overstimulation in mind when he ordered the ink wiped clean. Apparently, White revealed his motivation at a Q&A session with fans in Toronto on Tuesday.
“I’m trying to get into China. I don’t need anti-Chinese government stuff on my fighters,” said White.
Confused? Hardy’s tattoo is a phrase written in Sanskrit and derived from a Tibetan Buddhist prayer, “Om Mani Padme Hum” which CagePotato describes as meaning “Hail the jewel in the lotus.” Basically it represents Hardy’s mantra that if he keeps working hard he’ll reach his goals. The real point is that it’s a Tibetan prayer and Tibet is a sore subject for China. Basically, Tibet wants to be recognized as an independent nation and China isn’t having that and the whole thing is kind of a mess.
So there you have it. China represents a potentially gigantic and very lucrative market for the UFC and Dana White is doing his best to appeal to China so that they may open their gates (and wallets) to his traveling fight promotion.