A recent column published by MSNBC accused physically fit men of being fascists. The article specifically focused on those involved in weightlifting and mixed martial arts training and accusing them of practicing “fascist fitness.”
MSNBC’s “fascist fitness” column was written by far-left academic Cynthia Miller-Idriss, a professor and researcher on extremism at American University. Miller-Idriss used the column to compare men who are into physical fitness and mixed martial arts to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis while expressing worry that those who are strong physically and possess a masculine self-image will reject the teachings of the left. She even claims that they may eventually be responsible for violence in the streets and that governments and other organizations need to plan on cracking down.
Miller-Idriss expressed great concern with at-home fitness routines popularized during COVID lockdowns, claiming that “the far-right has taken advantage of pandemic at-home fitness trends to expand its decade-plus radicalization of physical mixed martial arts (MMA) and combat sports spaces.”
Appearing unhappy that people remained able to communicate during COVID lockdowns, Miller-Idriss claimed that “fascist fitness” groups on Telegram took advantage of the downtime, luring young men in with promises of bulging biceps before ultimately inviting them to “closed chat groups where far-right content is shared.”
Even more alarming to Miller-Idriss than young men spending time at the gym, or with a set of dumbbells at home, is the idea of mixed martial arts training, which says she remembers reading about in Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Miller-Idriss says that those interested in MMA are training for the “coming race war” and warned that if young men join MMA gyms, they may be able to share their political thoughts with other physically strong young men, leading to more of what she claims to be right-wing radicalization.
Even worse, says Miller-Idriss, is that the practice of MMA resembles hand-to-hand combat and when combined with other forms of physical fitness and thoughts that she doesn’t approve of, it could make for “a dangerous and powerful cocktail of radicalization.”
Masculinity, specifically the masculinity of white men, has come under constant attack in recent years, and the left has become obsessed with sports like MMA and weightlifting, which fall outside of the purview of their traditional media and entertainment dominance. Unlike in the NFL, where far-left corporate sponsors have pushed the league towards the feminine left, leagues like mixed martial arts’ UFC and bodybuilding’s IFBB have remained pro-man, pro-fitness, and pro-America and several big names in the sports have taken public stances against the left.