South African Mixed Martial Artist Norman ‘Chef’ Wessels Fights for Animals

Posted on by Ashley Fruno

Norman Wessels

As you would expect from the former heavyweight champion of South Africa’s biggest mixed martial arts (MMA) competition, the Extreme Fighting Championship, Norman “Chef” Wessels pushes himself hard to give his very best in the ring or cage. And in a new ad for PETA, he explains why he wants people to boycott the circus, saying, “I choose to be in the ring. Animals don’t.”

Animals used in circus acts are not only pushed hard but also trained through fear and punishment to perform difficult and unnatural tricks night after night. An undercover investigation into Brian Boswell’s Circus found elephants chained by their back legs in the searing heat for up to 19 hours a day and training that included the use of bullhooks—an instrument resembling a fireplace poker—on elephants’ soft-tissue areas.

Lions, elephants, and other animals used in circuses for our “entertainment” live miserable lives and are denied the opportunity to engage in their most basic natural behaviors, including have important family relationships and roaming hundreds of kilometers as they would in their natural environment. “Chef” says, “Leave wild animals where they belong—in the wild.” And that’s a message that we should all take to heart—even if it weren’t coming from a 100-kilogram wrecking machine like Norman Wessels! So the next time you want to see heavyweights give it their all in the ring, skip the circus and watch some MMA instead!

Posted by Claire Fryer