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UFC vet Arroyo relieved Bolsonaro wasn’t re-elected, hopes society realized the hazards of far-right politics


Former UFC middleweight Antonio Arroyo is a straight, middle-class, Brazilian man, however he’s nonetheless a minority. Very like the primary visitor of the ‘Not All Brazilians’ collection, Virna Jandiroba, the 33-year-old differs from most of his fellow fighters when the topic is politics.

Born and raised in Para, one of many seven states of the nation’s North area, Arroyo hails from the Amazon rainforest’s edge. He began his profession preventing at native occasions earlier than touchdown within the UFC after successful two fights on Dana White’s Contender collection, incomes a contract in July 2019, following a submission victory over Stephen Regman.

Arroyo’s residence state was the one one out of the seven within the North area the place former president Jair Bolsonaro didn’t win within the 2018 and 2022 presidential elections, each instances dropping to PT (the Brazilian Employee’s Get together, similar one as present president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva’s) candidates. Antonio was amongst these voters who tried to cease the far-right politician’s want for energy on the 2 events. Nonetheless, in his line of labor for him, he is aware of opinions like his for him are finest saved to himself.

Arroyo sporting Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva cap.
From Arroyo’s official Instagram account.

A former coaching accomplice of ex-UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo, who very similar to most Brazilian blended martial artists, has no concern supporting Bolsonaro’s ultra-conservative views, Arroyo was blissful to point out a special perspective when requested to take part on this collection of interviews.

Firstly evaluating Bolsonaro to former United States president Donald Trump, of whom Jair is an enormous admirer, Antonio takes a extra psychological method to attempt to discover a cause why he thinks so in another way from most of his friends. To Arroyo’s thoughts, the entire phenomenon is predicated on a easy feeling: concern. Worry of change, extra particularly.

In a society that’s consistently turning into extra conscious of minorities, their struggles and the way a lot their voices are being heard, principally because of the web, Arroyo claims that that’s the greatest menace to the conservative minds who’re desperately making an attempt to maintain traditions and existence the identical as they have been within the twentieth century.

Nonetheless, Antonio ensures the conservatives are preventing a dropping battle, but in addition identified how a determined group is also at its most harmful, referring to the professional navy coup riots that befell in Brazil’s capital of Brasilia, on January 8.

“Bolsonaro goes hand in hand with Trump. This actually conservative mind-set how a society needs to be. The person goes to work and the girl stays residence sort of factor. It is actually close-minded. The actual fact he bought elected solely reveals us {that a} massive a part of society additionally thinks like that. Not all people is open to the adjustments of the twenty first century. Adjustments in mentality and habits. Your morals and your values. However (these adjustments) are already taking place. I feel that each in america and in Brazil, this was their final shot at making an attempt to maintain issues the way in which they’re. Society is altering actually rapidly.”

“The individuals who nonetheless have this conservative mind-set, they do not settle for these adjustments,” Antonio continued. “So I feel they’re determined. An instance of that desperation is what occurred in Brasilia. The coup try. They do not need to see society evolve. However change is sweet for everybody. Not just for girls or minorities. Folks want to know that that is one thing that may make each citizen’s life higher,”

Though Arroyo comes from one of many extra left-leaning states within the nation, Antonio says that greater than his residence state’s tradition, it was his father who turned him to politics from a younger age.

Moreover, Antonio shares his experiences about being a leftist fighter on the gymnasium, how he realized it was higher to depart the topic out of the cage and the way in which macho, preventing tradition can have an effect on relationships when somebody reveals a special stance.

“I used to be raised actually near politics due to my father. My father (an economics college professor) all the time labored with politics. He tried working (for workplace) a number of instances however by no means bought elected. Nonetheless, he was all the time serving to different politicians with their campaigns. He has additionally labored at public places of work earlier than, too. He is a petista (Employee’s Get together supporter) ever since I can keep in mind. I’ve all the time been closely influenced by him. However I will inform you this has by no means affected me on the gymnasium. As a result of I used to be by no means one to argue. Particularly on this world we reside immediately, the place there’s a lot intolerance. I’ve all the time been very vocal on social media, however I am not going exterior and beginning an argument about this. It is apparent that it’ll generate battle. Particularly at my office. I need all the things to be flowing in one of the best ways attainable there. If I have been to start out an argument about that sooner or later, I am certain it might create a clumsy state of affairs or I’d’ve been discriminated not directly,”

Nonetheless, as an alternative of blaming it on the fighter stereotype, Antonio attributes these points to ignorance, linking rampant training points in Brazil to most fighters coming from poor backgrounds.

“I used to be by no means one to confront individuals about that. Not solely once I used to coach with Deiveson, but in addition once I used to coach at Marajo Brothers. You’ll want to know deal with it, as a result of all people within the preventing world is like this. They’re all conservative and macho. They’re like: ‘I am a person and I can type this out by drive’. I do not assume it is due to the truth that they’re fighters. I feel it is due to the truth that most fighters in Brazil had no entry to tradition, info or an training. Sadly, that is the fact of most athletes in Brazil. Generally they have not even completed highschool. I feel this an enormous cause why so many individuals assume that means. They’ve a extremely simplistic means of seeing issues,”

“My household has all the time given me all of the assist I wanted for me to pursue my profession,” he mentioned. “That is not the fact of nearly all of those that attempt to have a profession in preventing. That is an arduous journey. I’ve all the time suffered a little bit little bit of discrimination due to that. As a result of I had a bit extra, a bit greater than the others. So I used to be the ‘playboy’. This has additionally molded my mind-set and my character. So I realized to simply depart some topics alone.”

Arroyo is conscious that his origins are extra privileged than most fighters’, however refuses to let the actual fact outline him. As soon as once more citing his father, the Brazilian defined how turning into conscious of his social class performed a job in forming his political beliefs and the way the dearth of mentioned consciousness hurts society, making the less-privileged vote for a far-right candidate who just isn’t fascinated by social politics to bridge the inequality hole in Brazil.

Antonio says his father’s teachings have been what in the end made him perceive he didn’t need to comply with the obvious path, which might be to assist right-wing politicians, as most individuals in his social class do.

“It was by no means fanaticism, although. My father all the time defined issues to me. We by no means rooted for any politicians. All he did was present me the way in which he noticed issues. How issues might work higher for everyone, not only a small minority. It could be very easy for me, as part of the privileged minority on this nation, to assist Bolsonaro. I might be like ‘That is proper, we should always put money into the international corporations. Yeah, let’s scale back taxes for large corporations’. As an individual who’s in a greater state of affairs than most, it might make extra sense for me to be a Bolsonaro supporter. As a substitute, individuals have this individualistic mind-set. Each man for himself. That is how 90 to 95% of Brazilians understand life. That is deeply rooted in Brazilian individuals.”

Regardless of Bolsonaro’s disastrous administration over the previous 4 years, Arroyo ends the interview on the identical constructive observe it started, believing this was the far-right’s final effort at attaining energy (no less than in the intervening time). Antonio’s cause for such a declare is predicated on society’s horrible tendency to neglect is personal historical past.

Though Bolsonaro stood for a similar beliefs preached throughout Brazil’s darkish navy dictatorship, Antonio suggests the rationale why somebody like Jair was in a position to be elected president was as a result of a lot of his voters weren’t alive to see the nefarious instances for themselves and hopes they’ve now realized a beneficial lesson.

“I feel Bolsonaro has performed his position in society. If it weren’t for him, we by no means would’ve seen how unhealthy it might be to have an individual like him in workplace. My technology did not see the navy dictatorship. I did not see it. Most individuals must really feel issues for themselves so as to insurgent. The truth that that is the primary time within the historical past of the nation {that a} president did not get reelected (reelection was carried out in 1997 in Brazil) could be very telling. We actually dodged a bullet there.”

Arroyo’s UFC profession lasted solely two years, throughout which he suffered three straight losses, to Andre Muniz, Deron Winn and Joaquin Buckley. The 33-year-old was launched from the promotion in 2021 and has since scored victories on the Brazilian and the Russian circuits. For now, Antonio has no fights scheduled.

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