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Melvin Costa speaks out in interivew

If you’re a regular reader of this site you know that I’ve been critical of King of the Cage’s decision to allow Melvin Costa to represent its organization in spite of the fact that he has a tattoo of a swastika on his chest.

I wanted to offer equal time to all those involved and I’ve received comment from ProElite, Inc. CEO Doug DeLuca as well as EliteXC live events president Gary Shaw. ProElite, Inc. is the parent company of both EliteXC and King of the Cage while EliteXC works with King of the Cage on a regular basis.

I’ve also been able to receive comment from the fighter I was critical of, Melvin Costa himself. I conducted an interview with him last night and the transcript of that conversation is now available at

CLICK HERE to read the Melvin Costa interview in its entirety.

  • Ben Fowlkes says:

    Good interview, Sam. That seemed very straight-forward and very fair, and while I don’t agree with any of his views, I agree that he has a right to express them on his own body.

    I kind of wish you would have asked about the other tattoo, just for the hell of it.

    And I grew up not far from San Bernardino, where Costa said he’s from. It has a reputation as a fairly rough area no matter what race you are. That’s not a justification or anything, just a side note.

  • Dave says:

    That was a remarkably even-keeled interview, from both sides. And though I don’t agree with Costa’s beliefs, I do appreciate the opportunity to hear his story out as opposed to just reading a bunch of ignorant blather on the sherdog forums.

  • atom says:

    He defended his views much more inteligentlly than what I was expecting. Guess you can’t even stereotype the swastika-clad anymore.

    I also agree with Ben about the other tatoo. Didn’t want to bring it up? (no, not the spider web)

  • dizzle says:

    should have asked him about the small penis tattoo….see if it’s really true. HAHA j/k! The guy seemed to be on the right track about backing up his tattoo. I just think that he’s been in and out of jail…but he says he against hate crimes. I don’t see how that is true if he’s been in and out of jail since he has 15.

    the guy has problems no just glad to see he’s fighting in a ring and not in a bar or the streets.

  • Sarah says:

    nicely handled, sam.

    i hear prison is pretty much the best place to go to get all screwed up about race and equality. maybe he’ll change once he’s been out longer and has other things to focus on.

    as for the tattoo on his stomach, i’m going to guess that it’s not that *he has a small penis* it’s just that *he SUPPORTS small penises and what they stand for*. he’s PROUD of small penises everywhere.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    I know most of you guys are kidding but just for the record, I didn’t feel like asking the man about his anatomy was relevant. It was a serious interview and I didn’t want to cloud the issue.

  • jaydog says:

    It’s interesting that he says he’s spent most of his life in prison since he was 15 years old. Clearly, his point of view is unworldly to say the least as a result. And I would add that his racial analysis reflects an immature mind, not quite fit life on the outside. In other words, he’s got some adjusting to do. He seems fairly thoughtful, although misguided. I predict that he won’t stick with the white pride stuff after he sees the many holes in his theories and the injustice that is inherit in his campaign. Plus, it’s just not sustainable if he wants to fight for a living.

    Malcolm X is often brought up as a defense of white racism. Ironically, he began his political evolution in prison as well. The black power ideology was never more potent and persuasive than when it came from the mouth of Malcolm X. Costa seems to forget the fact that Malcolm was responding to the systematic oppression of people of color at nearly every level of government and center of power in our country. It was not only self-defense, but survival, and a pursuit of justice for a significant percentage of our country that was being treated as less than human. Costa’s trauma of having been bullied cannot compare and his experience in prison should not inform the course of his life as a free person. But I digress…

    Nonetheless, Malcolm changed his point of view (as Costa will), abandoning the narrow focus of the Nation of Islam, and espousing a newfound ideology of collective liberation that necessitates cooperation and understanding between the races. Unfortunately, he was murdered by a confuence of factions (black and white) that perceived this new Malcolm as exponentially dangerous to the status quo. Costa’s convenient manipulation of Malcolm X as an example reflects his underdeveloped consciousness about race and justice.

  • Brent says:

    “Unfortunately, he was murdered by a confuence of factions (black and white) that perceived this new Malcolm as exponentially dangerous to the status quo.”

    Nice try – he was murdered by members of his own group in a power grab:

    On February 21 in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom, Malcolm had just begun delivering a speech when a disturbance broke out in the crowd of 400. A man yelled, “Get your hand outta my pocket! Don’t be messin’ with my pockets!” As Malcolm and his bodyguards moved to quiet the disturbance,[21] a man rushed forward and shot Malcolm in the chest with a sawed-off shotgun. Two other men charged the stage and fired handguns at Malcolm, who was shot 16 times. Angry onlookers in the crowd caught and beat the assassins as they attempted to flee the ballroom. Malcolm was pronounced dead on arrival at New York’s Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

    Two suspects were named by witnesses — Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson, both members of the Nation of Islam.

    Three men were eventually charged in the case. Talmadge Hayer, also a Black Muslim, confessed to having fired shots into Malcolm’s body, but he testified that Butler and Johnson were not present and were not involved in the shooting. All three were convicted.

  • garth says:

    I honestly don’t understand why anyone who wanted to ‘advance their culture’ or ‘maintain their purity’ would want to do it under the nazi banner. that tat is NOT just a swastika. it’s a whole design built to represent nazi ideology. for him to say it’s not about racism is just bullshit, plain and simple. sam, you did a good job interviewing the guy, but he’s either ignorant or lying.

  • garth says:

    Within days of Malcolm’s assassination, questions were raised about who was responsible for his death. On February 23, James Farmer, the leader of the Congress of Racial Equality, announced at a news conference that local drug dealers, and not the Black Muslims, were to blame.[27] Others blamed the police, the FBI, or the CIA, citing the lack of police protection and the ease with which the assassins had entered the Audubon Ballroom.[28]
    In the 1970s, the public learned about COINTELPRO and other secret government programs to infiltrate and disrupt civil rights organizations during the 1950s and 1960s. John Ali, national secretary of the Nation of Islam, has been identified as an FBI agent.[29] Malcolm had confided in a reporter that Ali had exacerbated tensions between him and Elijah Muhammad, and he considered Ali his “archenemy” within the Nation of Islam leadership.[29] On February 20, the night before the assassination, Ali met with Hayer, one of the men convicted of killing Malcolm.[30]

  • Captain says:

    Good interview, Sam. Thanks for keeping it serious and not asking about the small penis tattoo.

    Two points about some of the other comments here:

    – Whenever someone make statements about someone else along the lines of “immature mind” or “underdeveloped consciousness” they scream to the rest of the world I am a fresh out of college pseudo intellectual.

    – Never cite wikipedia as a source.

  • Brent says:

    “Never cite wikipedia as a source.”

    LOL – please site the official source that doesn’t say he was killed by members of the Nation of Islam.

  • It’s interesting that Malcom X is always brought up in this because it’s always a particular “era” of his life that people use to support/disavow white or black nationalism. At the end of his life Malcom had undertaken the Hajj to Mecca, changed his name to El-Hajj Malik Shabazz, and renounced the Nation of Islam as a racist, corrupt organization. That’s when he became a real threat to the NoI and the US government. On the other side of the coin, people hold up MLK as a big friendly teddy bear but at the end of his life he was criticizing the US governments role in Vietnam, etc.

    Read about COINTELPRO, it’ll give you pause when you listen to the current administration talk about the so-called war on terror.

    Now where is the link to re-direct me to the MMA blog? 😉

  • And good interview, Sam. It’s always delicate discussing WP politics with people because that community in general is 1) not intelligent and 2) extremely violent.

  • ekc says:

    thank you sam for helping to create an open dialog and get all sides of the story.

  • jaydog says:

    The point is not how Malcolm died. The point is that Costa invoked the name of someone who’s life has some superficial parallels to his own. However, Costa’s limited understanding of racial justice struggles shows that he is unaware of the trajectory of Malcolm’s political life (and hopefully his own journey as well).

    Nonetheless, I agree with the Wikipedia entry. In this case, I think it represents a general consensus about how things went down. The FBI was out to get Malcolm and King. That’s no secret. Only in America could we seamlessly transition from the topic of a swastica wearing felon to placing blame on blacks for the assassination of a civil rights pioneer. How ’bout if we get back to whether or not Costa should fight in KOTC? Right now, I’m on the fence. As noted earlier, he’s either ignorant or dishonest.

    Thanks for doing that interview, Sam.

  • Brent says:

    “Only in America could we seamlessly transition from the topic of a swastica [sic] wearing felon to placing blame on blacks for the assassination of a civil rights pioneer.”

    Uhh – you made the transition when you attempted to pin Malcolm X’s assassination on “a confuence of factions (black and white)” – but that isn’t what happened in reality.

    You’ve confused “placing blame” with correcting false information.

  • Accomando says:

    Well done Caplan, a measured and thought out interview.

  • jjdnb says:

    I dont have a problem with this. I’m a foreigner and I beleive that you should be proud of your heritage, so i dont see anything wrong with this guy being proud of being white.
    Black comedians make white joke all day and night and everyone laughs but a white comedian makes a black joke and he’s considered a racist.

  • Grape Knee High says:

    Great interview, Sam.

    As for Costa’s politics, I think he’s being disingenuous. The idea that he is proudly white power and bears classic neo-Nazi tattoos simply does not jibe with the opposing idea that he is not racist and believes more in “racial consonance”.

    It’s just a friggin’ cop out. He’s proud enough to bear the swastika but not enough of a man to admit what it means in public.

  • Zack says:

    I wouldn’t believe a word someone with a swastika tattoo says. Not a word.

  • BigMike says:

    I look forward to your interview with Jeff Monson. If your gonna sport the hammer and sickle you should be asked if you support the genocide that Communism has visited upon the world. Right Sam?

  • MMA Chick says:

    Grow up. ITS A TATTOO, HELLO!!!! Christ. The guy’s obviously intelligent and well spoken. Get over it!

  • naZIonist says:

    Gee how surprising to see that Sam hasn’t responded to Bigmike’s highly apt analogy and question vis a vis Jeff Monson. I think we can all conclude what is implied by his rather loud silence. I have a better idea than never trusting people with a swastika tattoo – never trust people with names like Caplan. Their motives are never, shall we say, kosher.

  • Takezo says:

    So a guy gets picked on for his race throughout his life, goes to the joint where it’s ride with your own or die, and you want him to be so enlightened as “understand the racial injustices that blacks suffered.” And as far as I Malcolm X goes, I seem to recall that he was still very much an advocate of Black Nationalism for American blacks at the end of his life. However he did drop the old boogie man white devil routine and let loose of the NOI rhetoric.

    I’m proud of Costa for taking a stand, that takes balls to do that in the modern market place. White college girls being raped and murdered by blacks doesn’t give a guy enough motivation to look out for his own? Jeez. No reason to hate entire races but when people are targeted by race their kin should step up and go to bat for them.

    You don’t have to hate anybody to love your own.

  • Tyler frost says:

    Let Costa fight. He’s a great fighter and has a right to believe whatever he choses. I’ve been in prison and let me tell all you people who have not that it’s an entirely different world. You had better stick with your racial group and be proud of it in that environment. Any person of any color that’s been there will tell you I am right. The Nazi symbolism may be offensive to people, but in the joint it’s more symbolic of white racial identity. And all you white boys that want to keep talking smack on him for marking his skin and sticking by his people to survive, I hope you get a chance to spend some time behind bars. I used to think it was all so simple too. ProElite can let anyone fight that they choose, but it’s a mistake and a crime to bar Costa for his tattoos.


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