On February 4, fake-fight promoter Damon Feldman announced that he’d brokered a boxing match that was even more splashy and controversial than the pairings he’s brokered in the past. The plan was to have the rapper DMX fight George Zimmerman, the former Florida neighborhood watch captain who last year was acquitted in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin under the state’s so-called Stand Your Ground law. The stunt was met with widespread horror. And today, Feldman announced that he was calling it off.
The George Zimmerman fight is canceled I'm sorry for anyone I hurt with this but this was a very big opportunity thank you
— Damon Feldman (@hollywoodbox11) February 8, 2014
It’s a statement as telling as the original plan for the fight, which likely would have been staged because of the small probability that Feldman could have found a state or tribal jurisdiction to approve it.
Feldman, who’d initially suggested that the possibility of visiting violence on George Zimmerman would have been some sort of twisted justice, didn’t acknowledge that he’d come to understand just how wrong that idea was. Instead, he said he was sorry if he hurt anybody, “but this was a very big opportunity,” one he felt he apparently had no choice but to take.
It’s remarkable that Feldman’s capable of appealing to capitalism to suggest that he was justified in exploiting a grotesque national tragedy, as if the prospect of certain levels of profit exert a moral pull we’re somehow obliged to answer. But Feldman’s business has always been about pain, one way or the other, and particularly about the spectacle of seeing pain inflicted on unpopular celebrities, like former baseball player Jose Canseco or television personality Danny Bonaduce. This time, though, he was meting out pain outside the ring, and to people who hadn’t consented to lace up their gloves and risk a hit. I’m glad he had at least the small measure of good sense to understand just how ugly that sort of fight might have been.
Feldman deleted his tweets canceling the fight, and now says he’ll make a final decision Tuesday.