Georges St-Pierre was almost flawless from the moment he stepped inside the cage at UFC 158, taking Nick Diaz to the ground at will early on and even out-striking his opponent for the most part to retain the welterweight championship.
While St-Pierre's fighting performance was hard to critique, the Canadian titleholder may have angered many Asian MMA fans with his walkout apparel. Korean featherweight Chan Sung Jung brought attention to that fact through a Facebook post on Sunday.
Hi, My name is Chan Sung Jung from South Korea. As one of many Koreans who like you as an incredible athlete, I feel like I should tell you that many Korean fans, including myself, were shocked to see you in your gi designed after the Japanese 'Rising Sun Flag'. For Asians, this flag is a symbol of war crimes, much like the German Hakenkreuzflagge. Did you know that? I hope not.
Just like Nazis, the Japanese also committed atrocities under the name of 'Militarism'. You can easily learn what they've done by googling (please do), although it's only the tiny tip of an enormous iceberg.
Furthermore, the Japanese Government never gave a sincere apology, and still to this day, so many victims are dying in pain, heartbroken, without being compensated. But many westerners like to wear clothes designed after the symbol under which so many war crimes and so much tragedy happened, which is ridiculous.
I know most of them are not militarists. I know most of them do not approve unjustified invasion, torture, massacre, etc. They're just ignorant. It's such a shame that many westerners are not aware of this tragic fact. Wearing Rising Sun outfits is as bad as wearing clothes with the Nazi mark on it, if not worse.
Since you're influenced by Japanese Martial Arts, your wearing a headband designed after Japanese flag is understandable. But again, that huge 'Rising Sun' on your Gi means something else.
Many people say GSP is the best Welterweight fighter throughout history, to which I totally agree. This means you have a great influence on every single fan of yours all around the world. And I do believe your wearing 'the symbol of War Crime' is a very bad example for them, not to mention for yourself.
So, what do you reckon? Do you want to wear the same Gi next time as well?
The Rising Sun Flag was used by the Imperial Japanese Army, which was responsible for the conquest of Eastern Asia and much violence through the late 1800s and early 1900s. So, it is understandable why Jung would take such offense to St-Pierre displaying the flag on his gi as he approached the Octagon at UFC 158.
Having worn a gi during his walkouts throughout his UFC career, this is not the first time St-Pierre has been adorned with the Rising Sun Flag—however, UFC 158 does mark the first occasion where the welterweight champion displayed a red version of the symbol.
At UFC 154, prior to his bout with Carlos Condit, St-Pierre wore a gi that was decorated with a black Rising Sun Flag. Prior to that appearance in November, St-Pierre's outfits had almost always been solid colors with sponsor logos patched on top.
This is not the first time an athlete has come under fire for utilizing the Rising Sun Flag on a uniform.
Olympic uniform designer Hiroko Koshino included the Rising Sun image on the uniforms of 2012 Japanese Olympic athletes, and he was criticized for doing so. South Korea, Jung's home country, has even begun to push for laws banning the display of the Rising Sun Flag during Olympic sporting competitions.
Obviously, there's a good chance St-Pierre was unaware that his gi would offend any groups of people. The long-reigning titleholder has said he doesn't run his own Twitter account, so it's equally possible he's not involved in the design of his walkout clothing.
That being said, it's clear that the display of the Rising Sun Flag during walkouts brings unneeded negative attention to MMA and should probably be eliminated in the future.