UFC featherweight Ryan Hall has given the example of accepting an apology from “the ghost of Adolf Hitler” to speak out against “poisonous” cancel culture.

Hall – whose fighting moniker is ‘The Wizard’ – was appearing on the Lex Fridman podcast, where he was asked about his thoughts on social media being an area which “shouts down nuanced discussion.”  

“[Cancel culture] is the sort of thing that doesn’t incentivize proper behavior…,” replied Hall.

“Let’s take one of the great monsters from history, Adolf Hitler, obviously who’s done awful, awful things, but also for anyone who’s even a minor student of history, did some positive things as well.    

“I don’t have to embroider this person’s crimes, I don’t have to act as if there was nothing good a monster has ever done and nothing bad that a great person throughout history has ever done.

“But imagine if the ghost of Adolf Hitler were to pop up and go, ‘Oh my gosh, guys I’m so sorry, I know what I’ve done, but I would like to apologize and start to make it right’.

“You’d hope if he popped over here we would go, ‘I don’t really like what you’ve done and I don’t like you, but at the same time I’m glad to hear that you are attempting to make this right and push in a positive direction, even if you can’t make it right.’

“Because otherwise, what am I doing? I’m disincentivizing change for the better, I’m looking to wield whatever power I have in a punitive fashion, which does not encourage people to do anything other than double down on the wrongs that they’ve made, knowing that at least they are going to have some support from the people that support that.”

A post shared by Ryan Hall (@ryanhall5050) on Jun 21, 2019 at 2:32pm PDT

Jiu jitsu specialist Hall – who boasts an 8-1 pro MMA record, and who picked up a unanimous decision win against Darren Elkins in his last octagon appearance in July of 2019 – added that he wanted the internet to be used as a force for good, rather than exacerbate “tribal” differences.

“You’d hopefully look at the internet as a tool to be used to educate and learn, rather than to further solidify little tribal things that exist…

“I understand the urge to seek vengeance is strong, and anyone who says differently, I wouldn’t trust, but at the same time, we have enough experience in history, enough experience in life, and hopefully wisdom to say, ‘This is not the right answer, this is only going to replay the worst parts of our history, rather than the best.’”

A post shared by Ryan Hall (@ryanhall5050) on Sep 13, 2020 at 11:35pm PDT

The 35-year-old added: “I want to encourage positive behavior, if I lash out at people… I’m going to perpetuate the cycle that’s gone on to this point.”

The wide-ranging discussion with Hall touched on topics as diverse as Donald Trump and Genghis Khan, to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and boxing legend Mike Tyson.