Bellator 281’s Simon Biyong on Immigration Controversy: “Nobody Wants to Leave Their Home”

Light heavyweight Simon Biyong has had to overcome a lot of adversity in his fighting career.

In his Bellator MMA debut, he lost to Christian Edwards, then suffered an injury that kept him out of action for nearly a year. That injury, to his meniscus and ACL, is now behind him, and after becoming the first man to beat Luke Trainer at Bellator 281 on Friday, Biyong (18-2) finally feels like he’s back.

“I’m back, back also in the win column. Last time I win, it was 2019,” Biyong told media outlets online and in person following his victory at the SSE Arena in London, England. “So now, I’m definitely back.”

Biyong had plenty of good things to say about London, outside of the weather at least— and who hasn’t complained about the weather in England? But Biyong also had a message for both the city, and nations around the globe that have turned immigration into a political flashpoint. Britain in particular has seen something of an immigration crisis break out during the coronavirus pandemic.

“London is a beautiful city. My first time here. I love the food,” said Biyong. “I don’t love the weather, because I’m a black guy, I need sun. And London doesn’t have sun. Outside of this, the trip was good, Bellator treated me good, I met a lot of good people here in London, and I hope to get back here just for tourism, just to enjoy [it] and not for a business trip.”

The Cameroonian fighter added that fighting in London “means a lot for me, because here in London, I have my Cameroonian friend, he’s a rapper.” Biyong walked out to his pal’s music on Friday, and added “for me, it’s a big honor to represent black people in London, because — I don’t walk to talk politics, but there is something going on now in London with immigrants. And I want to say, every one of us has something to show. It doesn’t matter where we are, it doesn’t matter the skin color, we are all human beings to be valued. We can bring something of value to a country who gives us a home.”

“We all know the situation in Africa, the situation in Africa is because of the multi-national, of the European and American and other sh*t, who put people in that situation. And then they’re forced to leave,” continued Biyong, who himself is an immigrant living and training in Italy. “Nobody wants to leave their home. I leave my country not because I hate my country. I didn’t have any opportunity and now look, I’m here fighting for one of the biggest organizations in the world. Because Italy gave me a home. Italy gave me another opportunity. So guys, we can think about a better solution.”

Biyong later explained that he chose to go to Italy because “I’m a painter, I’m an artist, so I go to Italy, and I did university.” It wasn’t an easy transition. “I came in Italy will all documents, passport, visa, but in Italy, they treated me like an [illegal] immigrant because of my skin. They don’t give a f*ck if I have papers — sorry excuse my language — they don’t care if I have documents. They just look at my skin color, and then they say ‘you come here to steal our jobs.’ No, I pay for everything. I pay for everything.”

Watch the full Bellator 281 post-fight media scrum with Simon Biyong above.