It could (should) have been a perfect week for French MMA fighter Benoît Saint-Denis. Opposed to the American Matt Frevola for his 15th fight in the UFC, Benoît Saint-Denis won the confrontation in the first round by knockout, after only 1 minute and 30 seconds. A victory which allowed him to become the first Frenchman to enter the Top 15 of the lightweight category, in eleventh place to be exact. Despite this excellent news, a long-time objective of the former special forces, everything was not idyllic after his victory.
Once again entering the scene of the fight, the New York hall of Maddison Square, holding a French flag accompanied by military music, Benoît Saint-Denis has unwillingly become a nationalist symbol for certain small far-right groups. Like the “Argos” group, a descendant of the dissolved Génération Identitaire movement, which organized a competition on its social networks on the eve of the fight: “At a time when French youth are wallowing in childish comfort, Benoît perfectly embodies the values of combativeness, loyalty and strength that Argos advocates,” it was explained in the publication.
Laura, companion of Saint-Denis, wanted to respond “in person and immediately” to the requests of our colleagues at Libération. She first denounced the “fraudulent and unauthorized use of Benoît’s image”, before deploring: “They didn’t even have the courage to mention Benoît’s account in their tweet.”
This association between Benoît Saint-Denis and the far right was notably reinforced by the publication on social networks of a Loopsider video, which created a link between the two. This had the gift of provoking the anger of the fighter, who had put the broadcaster on notice to remove the video (which was done). Asked about his next deadlines, the Frenchman proclaimed his desire to fight in France, even inviting President Emmanuel Macron to attend.
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