MMA fighters say Meryl Streep's anti-discrimination speech at Golden Globes was discriminatory

'Really weird to see someone talk about not discriminating then basically discriminate against an entire group of skilled, hard-working people,' says UFC host

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The Independent US

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters have accused Meryl Streep of discriminating against the sport during an awards ceremony speech

The 19-time Oscar nominee prompted widespread controversy with her comments about Donald Trump during her emotional Golden Globes speech.

But just when she may have thought the barrage of analysis was over, she became the target of criticism from a new and unexpected source.

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In the 67-year-old’s speech, accepting the lifetime achievement award, she said: “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners and if we kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and Mixed Martial Arts, which are not the arts.”

But several high-profile fighters and prominent figures linked with the sport have since taken to Twitter to take issue with The Iron Lady and Mamma Mia! actress.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) host Megan Olivi wrote: “Really weird to see someone talk about not discriminating then basically discriminate against an entire group of skilled, hard-working people.”

UFC titleholders include Brazilian Jose Aldo, Irish Conor McGregor, Brazilian Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey – who has English, Polish and Venezuelan roots.

Martial Arts promoter Scott Coker also wrote an open letter, reading: "The  global sport of mixed martial art celebrates males and female athletes from around the world who work years tirelessly honing their crafts and – yes – arts.

"They come from every country and every walk of life. We at Bellator support them and honour their skill.

“Please be my guest at the LA forum on 21 January and you will see that Mixed Martial Arts is truly artistic – which will feature fighters from all over the world competing at a world class level.”

UFC champion Josh Barnett, on his official Facebook page, also wrote: “While it may not have the civil, often upper class air to it that your art does, it is not devoid of talent, skill, training or schooling. 

“It was around long before what you may consider 'the arts' to be, and would remain even if those arts were [to] disappear.

“Stay classy.”

UFC fighter Zachary Makovsky, in a more moderate approach, wrote on Twitter: “Disagree about the arts, but otherwise a lovely speech.”

UFC President Dana White, in an interview with TMZ, said her criticism was “stupid” and “uneducated”.

“The last thing in the world I expect is an uppity 80-year-old lady to be in our demographic and love mixed martial arts,” he said.

President-elect Mr Trump branded Ms Street “overrated” after she referred to the 2015 rally speech in which he appeared to mock a disabled reporter.

Ben Affleck suggested attacking Ms Streep was like calling Ghandi a “terrible leader”.