Joel Bauman, MMA light heavyweight champion, disclosed on live television, that he had two herpes outbreaks the week before his anticipated match against Reese Forest. While some think his intentions behind the confession were brave, others see it as a play to market his new NFT line, Fight For You. Either way - we got the inside scoop.
Along with our amazing advocates representing the herpes community, we were able to host a live conversation in a safe and accepting environment to find answers to Joel’s casual disclosure. You can watch the video recording of our live discussion here:
Many of our panelists were skeptical coming into the conversation. Suz Elzbieta, HSV2+ Herpes Advocate, found relief in an athlete like Bauman speaking publicly about his diagnosis, but quickly changed direction after seeing his tweet, “At least it’s not on my D*”, which was later deleted.
“My initial reaction is one of celebration - to see someone in a public setting, such as a professional athlete stating that they have herpes like it’s an everyday thing. This helps to eradicate the stigma! A phrase like that [tweet] would have added devastation when I was first diagnosed.” - Suz
Every single day, we are fighting the stigma surrounding herpes. Our panelists, Amber Spratt Jones, cofounder of Herpes Could Never, Christopher Pickering, Suz Elzbieta, and our very own CEO and Co-Founder, Caroline Goodner, wholeheartedly exemplified the herpes community with love and grace. We were honored to hold such a vulnerable discussion.
Takeaways from HSV Positive, Stigma Negative:
- “We are at war with the herpes stigma. Specifically speaking to the Black community, here is a guy in a celebrity position, filled with masculinity, declaring he had an outbreak...obviously educated about his diagnosis. We were excited...to see a Black person that is already born into so many stigmas, but he stigmatized [the herpes] community.” - Amber Spratt Jones
- “I am not my diagnosis.” - Joel Bauman
- “We have two kinds of herpes in society; one is called herpes and one isn’t even called herpes, it’s cold sores.” - Christopher Pickering
- “One way I actually gained a lot of confidence around [the diagnosis] was proclaiming it publicly.” - Suz Elzbieta
- “I take full responsibility for what I said, the reason I say things is to trigger people to get attention, I have people despising me and real close people calling me a genius...” - Joel Bauman
Here is the link to the Facebook Live where you can view the lively comment thread and leave one of your own!