Two young men were gunned down on the Mexican side of the U.S. border yesterday morning – sadly, an all-too-common occurrence in the violent and near-lawless country as of late. But what makes this news relevant to the MMA world is that one of the victims, Sergio Salcido, was a cage fighter. NBCSanDiego and Mike Chiappetta over at MMA Fighting have the facts, which are: the two victims, close friends who lived in Tijuana, were in their pickup truck on their way to work; the assailant fired into the victims’ heads, arms and bodies before fleeing on foot; the 25-year-old Salcido was a veteran of Gladiator Challenge and Tachi Palace Fights and had nine bouts on his record; he and his friend were described by their boss as good, clean-cut guys; and finally, the authorities have yet to determine a motive.
Tragic? Of course it is. It is a senseless murder. But MMA Junkie tracked down one of Salcido’s friends in the MMA world, fighter and mentor Dominique Robinson, and the additional color to the story paints the picture that the sport somehow let Salcido down. Salcido, it seems, was unable to find success as an MMA competitor, and was forced to move to Tijuana – where the cost of living is lower – to save money. Said Robinson, “The reason he was moving everywhere is because of promises, and they were empty promises. Everyone lives in their bubble, and they ignore what’s going on.” He went on to add, “These sponsors only help the people who made it. These promotions, they show favoritism and put in who they want to and [expletive] over people. Trainers don’t train people if they’re not big names. It’s all the stuff I went through. Sergio left Bakersfield for San Diego for the promise of a team and coaches and fighting more, the prospect of these things that people were telling him.”
Despite what Robinson may believe, the only one at fault for Salcido’s murder is the mystery assailant who fired his 9mm weapon at Salcido and his friend. No one else. The sport owed no more of a duty to provide Salcido with gainful employment than it does you or I. Which isn’t say that there is no charity or altruism in the MMA world – there is. Just ask that little girl whose liver transplant Dana White paid for last year, or the scores of gravely ill fans who are visited by fighters or treated to a VIP experience at a UFC event. The sport has always given back to the community that’s helped make it. But at the end of the day, no one is truly “owed” anything. Not the girl who White helped, not the other sick fans, and not Sergio Salcido.
“He wouldn’t have been there if MMA didn’t fail him,” said Robinson, but that’s wrong. Blaming MMA for Salcido being forced to live in a dangerous part of the world is akin to blaming MMA when a lunatic carves up his friend. It just doesn’t make sense.
It’s a tragedy that MMA has lost one of its own. Attempting to make the sport culpable, though, only makes the senselessness of the tragedy worse.
Image via Dave Mandel for Sherdog