“With that understanding is how I’ve approached a lot of situations where I could potentially get into a fight with a White kid or a bunch of White kids,” he said. “I’m gonna be the one that you look at first. I’m gonna be the troublemaker, defending myself or not. So there’s been too many times that I’ve walked away. I get angry about these things; I don’t like that feeling. And that’s a real thing.”
It’s draining, and almost hard to fathom if you’ve never lived it, but Edwards has. Thankfully, most of that negativity didn’t get into his professional life other than the usual nonsense through social media and message boards, giving him a sort of safe place in the midst of an opponent trying to punch him in the face.
“I’ve had those instances, but I’ve never had those instances within the sport except hearing inside the cage, ‘Kick his black ass’ or s**t like that, but nothing to my face, and that’s probably because I was a fighter. A lot of the time it was outside of the sport. Most of the racial things that I got were emails, DMs, messages on message boards. There was very rarely something to my face around the mixed martial arts scene. So, for me, most of those interactions came outside of the sport. And you make a choice in those moments because there’s gonna be consequences for you, him and / or both.”
These days, the retired prizefighter is a proud grandpa and a new father, and if that’s not enough (good) work, he’s also staying busy outside the home with a number of projects.
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“I’ve been training a lot, thinking about competing again – just grappling tournaments,” he said. “That seems like that’s a whole lot of fun. I am building another podcast that’s gonna be a lot of fun and I’m excited about that. And I’m doing a little bit more acting. I just filmed a short with Din Thomas, so we’re both dabbling in that acting world and we’re gonna take the same drive that we brought to MMA to getting in front of the camera.”
It’s two of the good guys of the game getting together while making a smooth transition to life after fighting. And in the process, letting a new generation know that it’s a good thing to be proud of who you are.
“I remember seeing Apartheid on the news as a kid in the Bahamas,” Edwards said. “I remember being angry about it because I could imagine what it would be like to be in a place and be threatened just because of the color of my skin, to be looked at as less than just because of the color of my skin. But I never thought somebody was in a better position than me because of the color of their skin because of where I came from. I was raised to believe in my value and go for what I wanted.”