In the often unpredictable world of mixed martial arts, UFC fighter Nathan Levy is not only known for his skills in the octagon but also for his unwavering commitment to confronting Antisemitism. In the latest episode of Israel Unfiltered, Natan joined me to discuss his journey into professional mixed martial arts (MMA) and his efforts to combat Jew-hatred. The conversation took an unexpected turn as Levy shared a unique experience involving an online troll who challenged him to a physical confrontation.
Born in Paris and raised in Israel, Levy moved to the United States at the age of 26 to pursue his professional MMA career. Trained in various martial arts disciplines, Levy’s journey led him to the UFC, where he currently competes as a professional fighter. Beyond his achievements in the octagon, Levy has taken a stand against Antisemitism, using his platform to fight against hatred and discrimination.
The conversation turned to Levy’s background, highlighting his unconventional path into the world of MMA. He emphasized the challenges of starting his training relatively late, at the age of 22, and the unique experiences he encountered along the way. From facing skepticism about pursuing a career in MMA to the financial struggles of training in the United States, Levy’s story reflects determination and resilience.
“When you want to be an MMA fighter, you have to do everything at a sufficient level just to get started,” he said. “I flew into Vegas when I was 22. All I knew was karate. I had nothing from the other disciplines. and just started working my way up.”
However, the conversation took an unexpected turn when Levy shared an encounter with an online troll who challenged him to a physical confrontation. The troll, identified as Ben from California, had posted inflammatory remarks on social media, promoting white supremacy and denigrating other races. In response to a comment about Levy’s physique, the UFC fighter engaged with the troll, leading to a surprising turn of events.
Remarkably, Ben followed through on his threat to meet Levy in person. The UFC fighter, anticipating a confrontation, brought a friend and a camera to document the encounter. The meeting took place at a gym, where Levy and Ben engaged in a spar. Despite Ben’s claims of proficiency in karate and taekwondo, Levy quickly demonstrated his superior skills, with the troll showing signs of distress during the sparring session.
The incident gained widespread attention, with the video garnering hundreds of thousands of views. Levy reflected on the encounter, emphasizing the importance of standing up against bigotry and hatred.
“From fighting guys in the ring, it kind of turned into fighting, you know, Nick Fuentes supporters and fighting online and just trying to do what I can do in the fight against Antisemitism. I’ve tried to do my part,” he said.
He noted the double standards present in the UFC regarding freedom of speech, pointing out instances where homophobic remarks faced consequences while more egregious statements went unchecked. Levy commented on the recent controversial remarks made by several pro-Palestinian fighters in the UFC who have spoken out against Israel in recent weeks.
“What can I do to fight this? Be better than them. Be stronger, win fights, and carry a better message. I can’t control the UFC. I just want to show people what I can do,” he said. “And I’ve gotta tell you, I get a lot of hate messages, but I also get a lot of love from my Jewish brothers and sisters — even people who are not Jewish or Israeli that support us and love us — and better than winning any fight, better than winning any metal, any belt, any trophy is when a Jewish kid writes to me and says thank you.”
Levy concluded the discussion by highlighting his commitment to combating Jew-hatred and empowering fellow Jews to be proud and strong. He expressed a desire to inspire the next generation of fighters and emphasized the need for resilience in the face of discrimination.
“Being apologetic about being Jewish is not going to get you anywhere… you should be proud of who you are and what you are, and everything else will fall into place,” he said. “If all the Jews were proud, strong, training martial arts… then we would have a much better world for our community.”